Wow! The last nine months for me have disappeared faster than concerns that Aaron Cruden couldn’t fill the shoes of Dan Carter (and Slade). I’ve recently ended my contract with Rugby New Zealand 2011, where I had the exciting role of helping manage the design and delivery of training to the volunteers that helped deliver uniquely New Zealand experiences for the 100,000+ domestic and international visitors throughout New Zealand.

After having a role in the online training, role-specific workshops, leadership training and venue tours, I had the privilege of meeting thousands of the generous paid and unpaid staff that have been wearing the uniform around the country.

It was a fantastic experience to be a part of, but rather than bouncing around a few insights, I’ve loved hearing the stories of those visitors that have enjoyed and benefited from the effort and passion that everyone in NZ (incl. those in the ‘official’ uniform) have put in, ensuring that the legacy of RWC 2011 lives on.

Here is a letter sent to the NZ Herald from Amelia Wade, a RWC 2011 visitor.


Tena koutou

Despite the IRB’s best efforts you have made a terrific job of hosting RWC2011 and from our point of view there are so many things to thank you for that it is difficult to know where to begin.

Apart from being in what is probably the most all-round beautiful country on earth, our trip was a thoroughly enjoyable experience from beginning to end and it was made so by you, the Kiwis.

All right, you stuffed up on the public transport for the opening ceremony but we can forgive you for that.

Let’s start with the unsung heroes – the volunteers. To a woman/man the volunteers we met were cheerful, knowledgeable, helpful, funny, patient and charming – although come to that, we didn’t meet a Kiwi who wasn’t.

Within hours of arriving in the country our B&B hosts had lent us, total strangers from a foreign land, not only their valuable binoculars to satisfy our obsessive bird-watching habit but also their car. That was amazing enough, but that same generosity was repeated so many times during our trip.

You welcomed and tolerated with equanimity the volatile and voluble Argentines, the slightly over-excitable Italians, the sanguine French, the brash and overconfident Aussies and South Africans, the partying Irish, Scots and Welsh, the vast hordes of Pacific Islanders, and the supporters of all the other nations that descended on your shores to support their teams. You even let the boys on Tindall’s Stag Do get on with their beer-fuelled dwarf-tossing, blonde-fondling, staff-insulting, ball-tampering, harbour-swimming self-destruction with just a wry smile…and some very funny journalism.

We shared your pain on that dreadful day when the most-reported groin-strain in history happened … More seriously, we shared your pain in Christchurch and hope that this World Cup has done more than a little to help that fine city back to its best.

Thank you for hokey-pokey icecream, Wither Hills Savvy, crayfish to die for, Speight’s Gold Medal ale, Jandals, the All Blacks, the tui, the spoof South Island sheepfarmers managing the crowds at the giant rugby ball on Queens Wharf, Kamo on the telly panel, and the Weet-Bix SBW advert.

It doesn’t matter (to us) whether Richie gets to lift the pot on the 23rd or not – in our eyes you are already world champions for what you have done and how you have done it.

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