9 Sep 2010

One year exactly to Rugby World Cup kickoff

3:17 pm on 9 September 2010

The Rugby World Cup begins exactly one year from today, and the event organiser says it's all looking really good.

More than $500 million of taxpayer and ratepayer money is being spent on preparations for the event, most of it on transport infrastructure, redeveloping stadiums and building a new Dunedin ground.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden says prepartions are going well and he is confident demand for tickets in the second ticketing phase, beginning on Friday, will be very strong.

No concerns about Christchurch

Mr Snedden is also confident Christchurch is still on course to play its part in the tournament.

He says the city's AMI Stadium, which will host pool games and two quarterfinals, was given the all-clear by structural engineers on Wednesday.

He says he does not believe news of the quake will deter overseas fans.

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union says it will set aside some Rugby World Cup tickets for Canterbury people as they try to cope with the aftermath of Saturday's earthquake.

Chairman Jock Hobbs made the announcement as organisers marked one year until the tournament begins.

Te Puni Kokiri is determined to make sure Maori gain some benefit from the event.

Maori involvement manager Paora Ammundsen says Maori need to be part of the substance as well as the spectacle.

Mr Ammundsen says the involvement of Maori Television as lead free-to-air broadcaster gives Maori a foot in the door, but other opportunities need to be created in the next 12 months.