"Exceptional" is how Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson is describing the outcome of the FIFA Football Women's World Cup 2023 being held in New Zealand.
"We've had more than 700,000 people attend these games ... 29 games across the country ... thousands of volunteers making it happen, and extraordinary football," he told Morning Report.
"It's been a massive celebration of the power of sport to bring people together. Extraordinary athleticism ... a real turning point for women's football and I'm so proud that New Zealand has been part of hosting that."
Robertson, who is also the finance minister, did not have specific details on the economic impact of the tournament, but said tourism and hospitality saw a boost in business.
"We've had 20,000 plus international visitors come to New Zealand at a time which isn't always that busy for our tourism sector."
He said New Zealand must continue investing in sporting infrastructure.
"We put just over $25 million into upgrading 30 training grounds and venues in the lead up to this tournament. So that legacy exists from here for everybody to use, not just football.
"I really hope that ... from this we see increases in participation by women, girls, boys as well who've been a big part of the fan base for the tournament too."
Australia has hinted at making a bid for the 2034 FIFA Men's World Cup, and Robertson said it would be an "amazing opportunity" for New Zealand to co-host.
"I'd love to see us host more."
He has previously said the government was also considering hosting the 2034 Commonwealth Games. A feasibility study was under way, Robertson said today.
'Great for business'
Kingsland's business association, The Fringe District, said a rugby clash would increase patronage of bars and pubs by 400 to 600 percent.
But as families attended the games, cafes and restaurants offering pre-match dinners had also had a big boost.
The Kingslander owner Steve Gillett said it was booked out for the semi-final match between Spain and Sweden.
"It's been incredible to have a melting pot of different cultures ... it's been amazing."
He said the world cup had exceeded his expectations.
"We only really have the women's rugby as a comparison, and it's really blitzed that. With the sellout crowds, it's been great for business."
On Dominion Road, The Bridgman owner Sean Lee had to bring in more tables and more staff "which in this labour market is a challenge but we've pulled in our contacts, people who've worked for us in the past ... to come and give us a hand".
"It's been an interesting few weeks, but really fun, really special."
Future of Football Ferns
Former Football Fern and FIFA consultant for women's football Michele Cox told Morning Report the way New Zealanders embraced the games was "incredible".
"Some of us have been working for 50 years to get to this point."
She said it was amazing to watch a game with her mother "because mum and I were the first mother and daughter in the world to play on the national team together".
Cox said the Football Ferns needed "to start right now" along with investment for the next big games.