Friday, September 9, 2011

The World in Union

Tonight, at 7.30pm New Zealand time, in my hometown of Auckland, Rugby World Cup 2011 begins. NZ is only a small country of just over 4 million people, but we hope to put on a wonderful World Cup. There will be 48 games of rugby union held around NZ to find the best team.

Is your country competing? Do you recognise all twenty flags below? If you click on this image to make it bigger you will see the Maori name for each country. Maori is one of our three official languages. The other two are English and NZ Sign Language.

If you watch the opening ceremony you will learn about where I live – there will be wakas (Maori canoes), volcanoes, the sea, and some of our history. You will hear our Maori language in greetings (and also at the start of our national anthem) as well as English to welcome all the countries that are competing in and watching this event. Then you will see fireworks over our Waitemata Harbour. Some of the fireworks will even form the shape of our native flowers, like the kowhai (yellow) and pohutukawa (red).

Tonight’s game is NZ versus Tonga. After the national anthem of each country, our team, the All Blacks, will perform a haka (which is a war dance). Tonga also will do their war dance and then the game between Tonga and NZ will begin. Then the competition begins, as all teams try to get to and win the final game which is on the 28th of October.

As well as the opening ceremony and first game at Eden Park tonight, there is a huge party at the Auckland waterfront that starts at 4pm, with 600 Maori arriving in wakas, lots of bars and restaurants, big screens to show the game, live music and something called “The Cloud” (as my country, Aotearoa, is known as the land of the long white cloud).

It is getting very exciting. There are flags on cars and buildings, people are dressed in their team colours and everywhere you go people are talking about rugby. The Tongans have really gotten into the spirit of things starting with a massive welcome to their team at Auckland airport earlier this week. Mum has lost count of how many red and white flags (for Tonga) she has seen on cars and houses! There are also lots of black flags (with a fern) for NZ, our NZ flag (blue with the Union Jack and four red stars) and flags for other countries flying too.

What do you think of me wearing an All Blacks jersey? I'm still waiting for the coach to call me. My humans will be dressed in black tonight  too, but have told me that I have to stay at home with Enzo.

Which team are you supporting?



sprinkles said...

I'll have to look at the tv guide and see if they're airing any of the games here.

STELLA from Down Under said...

Hi Riley, We will be barracking for the Aussies of course. It should be a wonderful competition. You look very handsome in your team colours. Good luck to everyone. No worries, and love, Stella

Angus said...

We'll think of you as Scotland takes to the pitch at Invercargill tonight . 2 am our time .

Maggie and Mitch said...

We'll have to check the TV listings and hopefully we can watch some of this too! You look most handsome, Riley!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Mrs. JP said...

I was wondering who that was, Enzo of Riley. He doesn't look uncomfortable like most dogs do when they have clothes on.
OH,,,I was telling/showing my hubby the picture that I love of Riley at the top. He said "You know whoever took that picture had Riley land on them!" I'd just never considered that funny. He's a systems analyst so he thinks things thru like that.


Hey there Riley...
At least you have a T-shirt that fits you, BOL! Maxmom tried to squeeze me into hers..didn't quite work...
But, I must say; congratulations on your first win today. You guys made mincemeat out of Tonga. You are going to be a force to reckon with!
Maxmom recorded the opening ceremony (reluctantly - because she wanted to watch it live) so that we could all watch it together this evening. She says she can't wait to see it. I am sure you have put on a magnificent spectacle.
Well, may the best team win... :) Enjoy all your international guests and enjoy the rugby.
sending lotsaluv to you...and enjoy the hype...aint it great?!