Queenstown's loss is Rotorua's gain as the national
sevens tournament moves to the North Island.
The New Zealand Rugby Union announced yesterday the national
sevens competition will shift to Rotorua in 2014 and 2015
after being held in Queenstown for the last decade.
It is a tough blow for Queenstown and its organisers after it
revived the event in 2003 and held it for a decade, drawing
crowds of more than 10,000 over the weekend.
It will host its final event on January 12-13 next year.
The NZRU wishes to ''upscale'' the event and, with sevens in
the Olympics in 2016, it wants to take the tournament to the
Sevens with Altitude chairman Clark Frew remained upbeat
yesterday, and said the Queenstown tournament and its
organisers had been victims of their own success.
Frew said he was proud of the ''fantastic effort'' the Sevens
with Altitude committee had given over the past 10 years.
''No-one could have ever foreseen 10 years ago that the
sevens game was going to become so large and no-one would
have ever foreseen it was going to become an Olympic sport
with two gold medals up for grabs,'' he said.
''The goalposts have moved since we started.''
Frew said Bay of Plenty had the ability to host a sevens
''festival'', with several tournaments running alongside the
It also had a purpose-built ITM Cup ground, and it would be
cheaper for the bulk of the teams to travel to Rotorua.
''At the end of the day, we've done a fantastic job. New
Zealand rugby was totally within its rights to put it up for
tender. There can't be petty politics about who stole whose
He said the decision was tough to take but it made sure the
tournament next month would go out with a bang.
''It is going to be a great tournament. We've got six
[women's] teams coming and we're having the prizegiving
dinner up the Skyline, which will be a real treat for all of
''Now we know this is the last one, we'll have to see [what
we can do]. It's going to be a special event, but it would
have been anyway.''
The NZRU called for tenders earlier this year and Bay of
Plenty won the process, with the tournament to be hosted at
its international stadium.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said the union needed greater
capacity to cater for future expansion of the tournament both
in terms of grounds and spectator facilities and Bay of
Plenty provided a compelling package in that regard.