The history of the Wellington Sevens  

New Zealand Sevens World Series event is moving to Hamilton in 2018. Hamilton, claimed from Wellington the hosting rights for the NZ HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Hamilton was announced earlier this year as the new host of the event after Wellington's 18-year hosting of the rugby sevens event. So yes Wellington Sevens to become the Hamilton Sevens. Hamilton City is set to host the New Zealand leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series from 3rd – 4th February 2018. With a rich rugby heritage, Hamilton and the wider Waikato region will no doubt come alive with sevens rugby action. Public ticket sales allocation has sold out for the 2018 NZ Sevens.

But here's some of the background history about Wellington Sevens. One of the world's most fun, frantic and downright enjoyable sports tournaments used to take place every year in New Zealand's capital of cool, Wellington. Though it might not be as famous as the World Cup, the Olympics or the Superbowl, there are few tournaments anywhere in the world that can match the Sevens for good vibes, great ambience and a really party atmosphere.

2017 Wellington Sevens was on the 7th February and lasted two days. It should come as no surprise to see the host nation in the familiar position of firm favourites. Since the tournament was founded in 2000, the All Blacks have taken home the top prize on a record six occasions, while taking the runner up spot twice.
They do not, however, come in as champions. That honour belongs to England, who vanquished Sevens-loving Kenya in last year's final and are being tipped by many to meet New Zealand in the ultimate game of this year's contest.
The Wellington Sevens is the fifth event in the IRB Sevens World Series Circuit. The Circuit, which begins in Gold Coast, Australia each October and ends in London England, the following May. In between, it takes in Dubai, Port Elizabeth, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Glasgow and, of course, Wellington.
Of all these stop overs, Wellington is one of the most famous and fun, with players on the circuit regularly citing it as their favourite place to play. The crowd are there to enjoy themselves, often arriving at the venue in fancy dress. Popular costumes over the years have ranged from Fred Flinstone to George W. Bush to Austin Powers to the Care Bears.
In recent years, kissing has also begun to be a big part of the event. Beginning in 2009 with a ‘Beads for Kisses' campaign, which involved spectators exchanging beads with each other for kisses, and now taking the form of kissing booths around the venue.
The 2017 tournament brought together 16 teams in total: Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Wales, Figi, France, Kenya, Portugal, Samoa, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Tonga, USA and, of course, New Zealand. It kicked off in the 35,000 capacity Westpac Stadium in the city centre.

 

Hit the town in Christchurch  
Though the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes did damage to the city centre that remains to this day, it remains a lively night spot and a great place to go on the tiles. Here are our favourite places to go for a beer in the Garden City.
South of Lichfield
Also known as SOL, this is one of the hippest and swingingest area of the city. The streets here are packed with places to eat and drink, with pedestrian walkways linking bar to bar and club to club. If you're planning to bar hop around Christchurch, this is definitely the place to begin your night. Whether you fancy a quiet pint and a chat, rocking out to live music or a heavy night out, you will find what you are after on the streets of SOL.
Minx Dining Room and Bar
One of the most famous restaurants in the city is the Minx. An award winning diner where you can enjoy fresh European fare and a host of sophisticated cocktails, it's well known across Christchurch as a place for those looking for an upmarket night out to go. The Head Chef Nicola McDermott has a hell of a resume, having previously worked in the London Marriott and the Pearl Restaurant.
Micky Finn's Irish Pub
Right by the tranquil banks of the Avon river, you will find one of the city's most consistently popular little watering holes. A proper little Irish pub, where the Guinness, beer and whiskey flows late into the night, it's one of the nicest atmospheres you'll find in this area.
The Fox and Ferret
For some pub grub, you can't go wrong at the Fox and Ferret. While lots of places claim to be ‘gastro-pubs', this spot really lives up to the title, with a tasty menu of traditional drinking food, a bunch of British ales, lots of atmosphere and very friendly staff.
The Holy Grail
It's no secret that Kiwis love their sport and, of all the country's many, many sports bars, the Holy Grail in Christchurch is the biggest. Across 17,000 square foot, you will find a huge 10 metre projector screen, four bars, a big menu of tasty bar food and a 70 seater grandstand. For the big Rugby games, it's almost as good as being in the stadium.
Jim Beam Homegrown festival   

If you're going to be in Wellington New Zealand next 7th April 2018, then it is well worth your while picking up a ticket for the Homegrown festival, which rocks the waterfront, it's a day out to match any other in the rock calendar, though what makes Homegrown so special is that every performance comes from a live act that is 100% Kiwi. That makes the event the biggest collection of New Zealand pop and rock artists ever.
After this year's record sell out Jim Beam Homegrown are back in 2018 on 7th April.

The line-up across all 5 stages will be HUGE + we've got a new stage to check out in Frank Kitts Park (The City Stage)!!
$79 Tickets Anyone?

This year for the first time Jim Beam Homegrown are offering Super Early-Bird Pre-Sales from $79 + booking fee.

Depending on how quick you are there will be options for limited $79, $89 and $99 pre-sales. These will be on sale from September 4th but you can't get your hands on them unless you register with Jim Beam Homegrown between 23rd August and 2nd September. So hit Jim Beam Homegrown on the 23rd for the registration link and you're good to go!

Once they're gone GA tickets will be $129 + booking fee so get in early and save up to $50.

The 1st line-up announcement will be on October 16th.

When you get to Jim Beam Homegrown you will need to swap your ticket for a wristband that will get you in and out of the different stages during the day.

Getting ready for Jim Beam Homegrown

Remember to bring the stuff you're going to need:
  • Make sure you bring photo ID for proof of age, your ticket, any (legal) medication you may need, a charged mobile phone, enough cash for the day. If you have any chronic conditions or illness (ie epilepsy, diabetes, asthma) be sure to carry information regarding your condition & emergency contact number on you at all times.
  • Allow enough time to get to & into the show. Presume around 30mins to get thru the gates & security depending on the time of day.
  • Dress for the day & weather by wearing sensible clothes & shoes.
  • You can bring into the event an unopened bottle of water (no glass) & reasonable amounts of food without problems.
  • Please note NO food or drinks are allowed to be brought into the TSB Bank Arena (Rock Stage) - their rules sorry.
  • Keep it real & keep it legal. Anyone caught holding or dealing illegal substances will be treated the same way as anywhere else.
  • Don't turn up drunk or out of it, as you may be refused entry.
  • Check the back of your ticket for restricted items such as video cameras, alcohol & umbrella's as we have no provision to check them in so you will need to get rid of it or take it back home or to your car.
  • Still cameras are allowed for personal use only.
  • For public transport around the Wellington region please go to www.metlink.org.nz

 

Outdoor fun in Auckland  

One thing that New Zealand has in spades is outdoor activities. There is simply no end to the things you can do in the great outdoors across the majestic country. In Auckland alone, there is a menu as long as your arm of fun ways to get in touch with nature. For the uninitiated, here are just a few of the possibilities.
Abseiling
Does roping up and down some of the world's most beautiful cliffs and mountains sound like a nice day out to you? Then why not do some abseiling in Auckland? The surrounding area plays host to limestone cliffs and waterfalls as high as 120 feet. If you'd prefer to stay in the city centre, you can do the Rocket Ropes: two towers on Tom Pearce Drive where you can climb, abseil and rappel.
Bungy Jumping
Auckland is a great place to overcome your fear of heights.
 
In the 1980's, a couple of young kiwis, AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch, set up New Zealand's first commercial bungy operation, with a jump from the historic Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown. Since then, New Zealand has become the home of bungy, with numerous other operators starting up.
 
All over the country you can leap from bridges, climbs, rail viaducts, specially made platforms perched on the edge of cliffs, and stadium roofs.
 
The Nevis bungy is the highest and involves an incredible 134-metre plunge. You can also take a leap off the Auckland Harbour Bridge against the backdrop of the beautiful Waitemata Harbour.
 
In the Central North Island, just upstream from the Huka Falls, lies the Taupo Bungy - 47m (154 feet) above the Waikato River. You can choose to be dunked in the Waikato River below at the end of your jump.
 
Every day of the week locals and tourists alike enjoy the experience of a bungy among stunning landscapes. Bungy jumping remains one of New Zealand's most popular and renowned leisure activities.

 

Quotes about New Zealand  
It's no surprise the gorgeous landscape, rich history, jaw-dropping wildlife and vibrant culture of New Zealand have inspired some pretty famous and brilliant people to say some pretty interesting things over the centuries. Here are some of our favourite quotes about New Zealand.
I had a good time shooting in New Zealand. I almost bought a home there while I was there, because I loved it so much. Josh Hartnett
I've spent half my life on planes. I have a lot of love for New Zealand, though. That is where the really arty, whimsical side of the family resided - in Hobbitland. Alice Englebert
I love working in New Zealand. It's just the most beautiful country I've ever been to. Grant Bowler
By and large, women in New Zealand are fortunate compared with some other countries, including many in our own region. But there is still progress to be made. Jenny Shipley
I'm from Canada, and New Zealand feels like you took all the best bits of Canada and squished them onto a tiny island like Hawaii. I was absolutely blown away by the beauty of the South Island. Evangeline Lilly
New Zealand is not a small country but a large village. Peter Jackson
It's fair to say that, for much of my lifetime, New Zealand certainly was a property-owning democracy and working people, ordinary people, had assets. Helen Clark
On many occasions New Zealand has spoken about the need to ensure that women's concerns are fully integrated into all aspects of the United Nations' activities and structures, not marginalised in one part of the Secretariat. Jenny Shipley
New Zealand is a pretty no-nonsense place to work, like Australia. I mean it doesn't falter to anyone. Dustin Clare
The Humpback Trail on New Zealand's South Island is really beautiful. It is a 70 km walk over about four days and is fairly arduous. You go through prehistoric forest and up to the top of Humpback Mountain, where there are amazing views down to the Tasman Sea. Toby Stephens
There's a real purity in New Zealand that doesn't exist in the states. It's actually not an easy thing to find in our world anymore. It's a unique place because it is so far away from the rest of the world. There is a sense of isolation and also being protected. Elijah Wood
Shop till you drop in Auckland  

Being New Zealand's busiest city, it's unsurprising that Auckland plays host to some of its most best shopping areas. From high quality boutiques to vintage stores, from big name labels to traditional Maori designs, you will find it all on the streets of Auckland.
With so much on offer, however, it is worth knowing a bit about the various shopping districts before you head out. Here is the low down on the main places to shop in the city.
The Britomart Precinct
The first place that will pop into most Auckland natives' heads when you say shopping is Britomart. By the gorgeous and historic waterfront, you can find lots of great, high fashion outlets. Of all the shopping precincts it's almost certainly the best one for choice, with both the quirky, the trendy, the cheap and the haute couture available. The biggest shopping gallery is the Atrium on Takutai, which plays host to Ted Baker and MAC Pro. What's even better, once you're finished shopping you can relax in one of the many bars and restaurants nearby.
Ponsonby
While Britomart might be more popular, there is nowhere hipper to do your shopping in Auckland than Ponsonby. This is where you'll find the more out there outlets and the quirky stores, stuffed with clothing from some of the country's coolest designers. If you're looking to furnish your flat and looking for something funky, you'll find some supercool kitchenware and furniture. Or, if you prefer, just sit down at one of the cafes, grab a coffee and watch the local colour as it marches up and down the street.
Newmarket
So if Britomart is the busiest and Ponsonby is the coolest, then what kind of shopping district is Newmarket? It's the swankiest, that's what. Here is where the most glamorous stores in Auckland call home and where the most fashionable and, let's face it, richest shoppers go to pick up designer wares. As well as stores from designers such as Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester, it also boasts 24 shoe stores.
Remuera
Remuera is a great place to go for stylish stores. Located in a suburb of Auckland known for its sophisticated residents, it's a great place to shop if you like to relax as you shop. The stores are always busy but never jammed and you can stroll from shop to shop down the elegant streets at your leisure.

 

The best of Auckland galleries  

New Zealand's biggest city is a terrific place to see famous, innovative and exciting art from the past and present. Whether you want to see sculpture, traditional carving or modern pieces, you will find what you are after in Auckland's galleries. This guide will tell you everything about our favourite ones.
Auckland Museum
Housed in one of the country's most beautiful historical buildings, the Auckland Museum is a great place to find out more about the rich history of New Zealand. With traditional art from the Pacific people and carvings, canoes and other Maori artefacts, you can truly feel the history of the country open up to you inside its atmospheric walls. If you wanted to find out how New Zealand became the multicultural land it is today, this is a very good starting point.
The Connells Bay Sculpture Park
The Connells Bay Sculpture Park is a great place to see works from some of the country's most famous sculptors, including Graham Bennett, Virginia King and Phil Price. The collection is growing all the time but, last we checked, it housed 25 pieces in every material you could name. Wear comfy shoes if you are heading there for the day. A two hour guided tour will lead you through thick bush and farmland.
The Upstairs Art Gallery
One of the city's best loved exhibition spaces, the Upstairs Gallery is a great place to find challenging work from up and coming artists and exhibitions of community art. It's free to enter and open every day, making it a cheap and interesting way to while away an hour or two.
The West Coast Gallery
Located on Seaview Road, Piha, this is one of the most exciting hubs for Auckland art. Here you can find work of all kinds of disciplines, from photography to ceramics to jewellery to books. It is well worth checking the local listings to see what's on at the West Coast Gallery – there's a great calendar of superb exhibitions and events held regularly.
Peter Raos Gallery
Peter Raos is one of Auckland's best loved artists. A glass artist, he is famous for creating elegant creations inspired by nature and plant life. Here at his gallery, you can enjoy some of his best work and speak to the man himself.

 

The highlights of NZ Fringe Festival  

One of the most fun-filled cultural events on New Zealand's calendar is the Fringe Festival that will be taking place between  10 February – 4 March 2017, all across Wellington. An open access festival of art, music, comedy, cabaret and everything in between, it serves as a reminder as to why Wellington is considered the ‘Capital of Cool' by locals and visitors alike.
The Fringe Festival itself has now been running for over two decades, and has emerged as one of the most envied and enjoyed fringe festivals anywhere in the world. What makes this event different to the numerous other such events that take place around the planet, is that the New Zealand Fringe has never lost touch with its roots. It is still a great place to find out-there art, up and coming talent and truly cutting edge performances. This makes it one of the most important factors in keeping Wellington the hive of innovation and creativity that it is today.
Amongst the famous acts and performers that have emerged from the Fringe are the Flight of the Conchords, the Lonesome Buckwhips and Strike Percussion. If you want to see this year's big performers, then make sure you are in Wellington by February 10th.
Listing all the highlights is simply not possible in such a short space. There are simply too many to name. Fringe is about grass-roots arts and culture and about emerging, developing talent, and for 25 years the New Zealand Fringe Festival has been providing a stage for cutting-edge creative endeavors, delivering on our legacy of being a catalyst for new and original homegrown arts and entertainment.
Fringe is recognised as a unique launch pad for the arts in New Zealand, and from Flight of the Conchords to Fuse Circus, Jo Randerson to Eli Kent, and Strike Percussion to Footnote Dance, the Fringe has played a significant role in helping emerging artists to achieve bigger and brighter things, both within New Zealand and on the international stage.
Artist registrations for Fringe 2017 have closed, but check the NZ Fringe facebook page back regularly as more information about Fringe Festival 2017 is COMING SOON.
The best night clubs in Auckland  
New Zealand's most populous city sure loves to party and that's why there are no end to the options for the clubber in Auckland. Here are a few of our favourites and why we love them.
Globe Bar
A backpacker hot spot, this is the bar most wide eyed travellers are sent to when they first arrive in Auckland and ask about a fun place to get drunk. As one would expect, it's raucous, wild and very, very good down-and-dirty fun, with theme nights, pool competitions and shows. Not only that, the tunes come courtesy of some of the best DJs in the city.
Lenin Bar
Do you like vodka? Then welcome to paradise: The Lenin Bar on Princes Wharf. Here you can drink from a dizzyingly varied menu of vodkas (and other drinks, if you're so inclined) and dance until dawn on the always-packed floor, all under the watchful eyes of Vladimir Lenin, whose portrait beams down from above the bar.
Code Bar
If you like to go deep underground on your nights out, then the Code Bar will be your Mecca in Auckland. Famous throughout the southern hemisphere for its pounding sound system, this is where the most committed clubbers go to get down.
Goldfinch
For the more urbane drinker, sipping cocktails in the Goldfinch will likely be more to their taste. From the comfy couches and plush armchairs to the extensive menu of multi-coloured cocktails, this is a bar very much focussed on the customer that likes the finer things in life. As the hours get late, however, it turns into a pretty hot and heavy night spot, with many of the city's best DJs laying down beats for the lively dance floor.
The Carpark
There are times you want to party hard and there are times you just want to have a chat, a beer and a few laughs with your mates. The Carpark is very much for the latter of those occasions: an ultra casual, unpretentious environment, it prides itself on making the customers feel as if they are sitting together in a friend's front lounge.
Cowboys Bar
Barmen dressed as cowboys, barmaids dressed like Dolly Parton, retro hits pounding out of the speakers and Amercana plastered all over the walls with the worst/ best bad taste money can buy. The Cowboy Bar is one of the most fun theme bars you will find anywhere in the world and a great choice for a fun-filled, no-frills night on the tiles.
The wineries of Auckland  
Surrounding the sun soaked, laid back metropolis that is Auckland, are four of the world's most famous wine producing regions. Matakana, Kumeu, Celvedon Hills and Waiheke Island are the source of much of the world's most celebrated wine. For lovers of the grape, or for those with a curious spirit, a trip to these regions is a must. Here's a few tips on the best tours around the vineyards of Auckland.
Waiheke Island Wine Tours
This tour company operates 365 days a year, transferring its guests by ferry from Auckland to three of the sparkling vineyards of Waiheke Island. As well as finding out about the wine making process and, of course, sampling a few vintages, it is also a great way to learn about the local history, with tales of both the Maori and European cultural past on the island.
The Matakana Coastal Getaway Tour
North of Auckland is the gorgeous Matakana wine region, one of the most scenic of all New Zealand's wine producing areas. This tour offers you a trip that takes you through the resort towns of Orewa and Waiwere Mineral Springs before stopping off at Puhoi to taste some of its famous blue cheese. Then, it's on to Ransom Wines for a few samples, before launching at the lovely Plume Vineyard Restaurant. Next, it's Warkworth town for some of the locally made ice cream and chocolate, before heading off for another tasting session in either Omaha Bay wines or Mahurangi River Wines. What a day out for the wine connoisseur!
Ananda Tours
This tour takes you by minibus to at least three of the most famous vineyards on Waiheke Island. Like all the best wine tours, it is about much more than just wine, with a guide filling you in on everything you need to know about the rolling scenery as you drive through. On the way, you will visit olive oil producers, some of New Zealand's most famous art galleries and the extraordinary, unspoilt beaches. Of course, there's plenty of wine and food too!
Great Taste Tours
Great Taste Tours are one of the best options for seeing the vineyards of Kumeu. On this tour, you will take in the Soljans vineyard, the Matua Valley vineyard and the West Brook Winery, all of which are famous across New Zealand. Along the way, you will also see gannet nesting sites and the view from the cliff above the Tasman sea, plus enjoy a gorgeous Mediterranean lunch in an award winning restaurant.
  
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