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"Kia Ora and welcome to the world of rugby in New Zealand"
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"Kia Ora and welcome to the world of rugby in New Zealand"

Rugby is very much a part of the fabric of New Zealand culture, as was evident on the night of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony, according to Fale Lesa, 21, a Commonwealth Correspondent.

If you’re wondering why there’s a lot of commotion over rugby, then look no further: the 2011 Rugby World Cup is already in full swing. The host nation is none other then Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The game rugby union is said to have originated in England in the early 19th century. However, in New Zealand it is our national sport. It’s almost like a culture for us kiwis and it is quite normal to be tormented if your taste in rugby is rather sour.

Rugby is the stuff legends are made of and it comes as no surprise that the entire country has geared up towards the hosting of this international tournament in all its pride and glory. On Friday 9th September New Zealand set it all off with an extravagant opening ceremony to launch the occasion in true kiwi fashion.

There were indigenous cultural displays, Pasefika dancing, Chinese fireworks and a brief overview of New Zealand history to complete the mix. If you couldn’t secure tickets to the venue there was a party in most city centres and smaller festivities in regional hubs.

This was all produced behind the backdrop of a full capacity stadium – 60,000 to be exact. Over 100,000 kiwis made it into Auckland’s Party Central where mega flat screens were able to showcase the ceremony from the inside.

The atmosphere was absolutely electrifying and people from all walks of life congregated in solidarity for the successful delivery of this tournament. Rugby is very much a vibrant fabric of the greater New Zealand culture and this was made evident on the night of the opening ceremony.

Tourists came from near and far to grace our New Zealand shores. Some as close as Australia, others as far afield as America, Canada and Europe. They were all united in their passion for rugby union and in pride for their national colours. It was truly encouraging to feel the spirit of international sportsmanship on this particular evening, and even more so to see this great country at the height of unity.

Positive sportsmanship is an instrument that can be utilised as a tool to bring people closer together. Sadly it’s often ignored by conflict-resolution strategists who fail to recognise its potential in bridging gaps and rekindling broken spirits.

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About me:

“I am an international diplomat having represented the New Zealand youth sector in a host of international initiatives. The completion of my tertiary education at the University of Auckland (BA/LLB) will usher in a professional dedication to diplomacy and foreign affairs.

“My interests include community development, foreign affairs, globalisation, youth empowerment, reading (non-fiction/fiction as well as current affairs), creative/critical writing, chess, debating, history, linguistics and social interaction. My passion for writing has led me to this forum.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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