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“United we stand… in black. Go All Blacks! The Pride of a Nation!”
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“United we stand… in black. Go All Blacks! The Pride of a Nation!”

New Zealand did a fantastic job to increase pride in the country at this year’s Rugby World Cup. The only downside was not uniting with the majority of business owners, writes Eva Maria, 21, a Commonwealth Correspondent from New Zealand.

Whether you’re a rugby fan or not, the Rugby World Cup gave the world something to talk about for the past couple of months while the world’s strongest rugby teams battled out for the cup.

On the night of the final last month, the streets were filled with raging fans, all celebrating the All Blacks win, and it was at that moment that all didn’t matter – the country was standing behind the boys that have brought pride to the country.

Having said this, the Rugby World Cup caused a great stir among the locals, as much as it did with the tourists. Although New Zealand spent a lot of its funds to upgrade its cities, ready for the World Cup, there were some key areas the Tourism Committee overlooked.

The Rugby World Cup was a great initiative on New Zealand’s part and, post-recession, it was a great feat for a small country to take on.

With the re-build of Christchurch after the devastating earthquake there, funding was limited to a minimum, and dare I say, the Tourism Committee members knew once August 2008 hit, that overseastourists were not going to be spending as much as anticipated. The media released a series of budget numbers to project the economy’s rise during the event, but with contradicting information coming out from all angles, it was hard for the general public to understand just how much of the tax dollar was going into the event.

As a country removed from the rest of the world, during the planning stages, New Zealand had the opportunity to revisit history and learn from mistakes of other countries to make ends meet. It is said that during Mexico’s 1968 Olympics, the country brought in a tax for all car owners to cover costs the country was going to incur. It was anticipated to prolong for the one year. As a small country hosting a largeevent, it was a great strain on the economy, and 43 years later, they are only starting to consider taking out this tax in 2012!

In the 21st century, with countries coming out of recession, New Zealand as a country needed to be more creative with how they were going to fund the event, with the added stress of extra tax for rebuilding Christchurch. Having said all of this, we did our best.

The Rugby World Cup Committee did forget one small detail. The power of small business. SMEs that make up almost 90% of New Zealand’s businesses, were banned from using any Rugby World Cup marketing to advertise their goods and services both offline and online. Some bigger brands, such as KFC had tried subtle ways to advertise their support for the All Blacks by swapping the Red and White colours to Black and White on the outer paint job of one Auckland Restaurant – many businesses had to be creative to advertise their support for the Cup, without actually coming right out and saying it.

But the closely guarded brand disadvantaged many New Zealand businesses. The front page of the Herald in weeks coming up to the final featured a disgruntled Queen Street (main street in Auckland, where the finals were being held) business owner who claimed sales were down by 50% since the World Cup started. Imagine that as a business owner! Your earnings cut down by half compared to a normal day when the country isn’t full of tourists from around the world!

I am all for sport and national pride. New Zealand did a fantastic job to increase the country’s patriotism. The only downside was not uniting with the majority of business owners and get them to spread the word about our beautiful country to all their overseas contacts too. It will definitely be interesting to see how the elections go this year – it’s been a full on year for the National Party, and if re-elected, I hope they have some great initiatives in place to make up for New Zealand’s economic state. Until then, united we stand…in black! Go All Blacks!

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About me:

“I am a family coach, international speaker, social media expert and author of the bestselling parenting book ‘You Shut Up!’ Though Russian-born, I currently live in New Zealand, and today work with various groups, businesses and families.

“I am on a full-on mission to help improve 10,000,000 adult-youth relationships around the world.”

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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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