15 Nov 2018

Auckland and Whangārei expected to gain millions from Women's RWC

10:46 pm on 15 November 2018

Several million dollars will be pumped into Auckland and Whangārei after they were awarded the rights to host the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2021.

New Zealand's captain Fiao'o Faamausili holds the Laurie O'Reilly Cup at Eden Park on 25 August, 2018.

New Zealand's captain Fiao'o Faamausili holds the Laurie O'Reilly Cup at Eden Park on 25 August, 2018. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand won the rights to stage the ninth edition of the tournament, heading off Australia in a vote in Dublin this morning.

It will be the first time the women's World Cup has been in the southern hemisphere and will run for six weeks in July and August.

Twelve teams are set to take part in the tournament which is expected to generate millions and attract thousands to the two cities.

Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai said the Northland city would host three games and two quarter finals during the tournament.

The games will be played at the Northland events centre, which seats 17,500.

Ms Mai expects up to 6,000 people will to flock to Whangārei for the games.

"We'll be investing around a little more than $3 million, but as I say, a lot of that is work that's already planned. You know, things like buying a back-up generator, a big screen and a stadium sound system so they're... an investment and legacy things that will be in place for bids for future events," Ms Mai said.

Ms Mai expects the five games, held over two weeks, will bring in big money.

"We're looking at a range of a total contribution to Whangārei's GDP of around $5.9m to $6.4m."

The tournament is set to generate millions across Auckland too.

Matches will be played at QBE Stadium in Albany, which seats 25,000 and Waitakere Stadium which seats 5000.

The last women's world cup in Ireland last year boasted a record attendance of more than 45,000.

The 60,000 seat Eden Park will be available for semis and the final, but whether or not it is used is yet to be decided.

Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) expects 4500 people will visit the region, generating more than $3.5 million for the city.

ATEED's Steve Armitage said Auckland Council will spend three quarters of a million dollars on the event.

"It's about the opportunity to showcase New Zealand to the world. The participating countries, once qualification is completed, are likely to touch many of our key markets from a tourism perspective so it's a great opportunity for us to profile New Zealand through the tournament," Mr Armitage said.

Former Black Fern and Labour MP Louisa Wall said the opportunity to host the Women's Rugby World Cup is long overdue.

Ms Wall was a member of the Black Ferns when they became international champions for the first time in 1998.

They've won the World Cup four times since and are the current reigning champions.

Despite the team's succes the cost of bringing international teams to New Zealand was a likely setback, Ms Wall said.

"The quality of rugby that we're playing has now meant that there are investors, sponsors, governments who are willing to support New Zealand Rugby to grow the game," Ms Wall said.

The womens' game has skyrocketed in recent years in New Zealand - women now make up about 18 percent of rugby players.

Hamilton Girl's High School's first 15 are the reigning national secondary school rugby champions. Their principal, Marie Gordon, said the whole team aspires to be a Black Fern.

"Because some of those ones that are 17 or 18 who are coming out of school certainly see that as as a goal that they'd love to aspire to. So yeah, I think they're really excited but mainly because they get to see their team here," Ms Gordon said.

Black Ferns captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili said the team could not wait to showcase New Zealand women's rugby.

"It's very special and it's a big deal. We've got the most world champions in the world from girls who played in 1998 in the World Cup and they're all at home and how great is it to showcase them to the world and to meet so many world champions in the country. That in itself is pretty special," Ms Fa'amausili said.

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