Carnival guest draws crowds

Our city’s Midwinter Carnival is one of Dunedin’s premier events.

This year’s event offered one of the best carnival atmospheres I’ve experienced in my time as the MP for Dunedin, with more than 9500 people of all ages wowed by the bright lights across two nights in June.

Among those attending was a special visitor to the South. The Fifa Women’s World Cup trophy was a major drawcard.

A whopping 1074 photos were taken with the trophy at the Midwinter Carnival on the Saturday night, the most photos taken at a World Cup host city event in Australia or New Zealand on the trophy tour so far.

This shows there’s clearly a big interest in the World Cup arriving on our shores. Dunedin is the only South Island venue for the tournament, held across New Zealand and Australia.

There’s no denying this World Cup is going to provide major benefits for the city, with tens of thousands attending six games over 12 days at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

This is the first time the tournament’s been held in the southern hemisphere, the first co-hosted across two confederations, and the biggest women’s sporting event in the world.

It’s expected to bring 30,000 visitors to New Zealand, while showcasing the country to an international audience of 2 billion!

Locally, the Swiss national team will be based in Dunedin for three weeks during the group stages, with Tahuna Park chosen as the team’s training ground.

If you’re looking for a team to support that isn’t New Zealand, why not get behind our Swiss friends. Just not on July 30, when they square off with our Football Ferns here in Dunedin.

If you’re yet to purchase tickets to any of the six Dunedin matches, or you’re unsure how to, then there’ll be ticket support staff based in the Wall Street mall, 10am to 5.30pm every day from now until July 20.

There’s also going to be a special Fifa branded double-decker bus operating free transfers between the stadium and the Octagon on game day. It’ll run two hours before kick-off to each match, as well as a return service to the Octagon after each game finishes.

I’d encourage those who are keen to get in quickly to avoid missing out.

With 32 teams playing in the World Cup across one month, this will undoubtedly be the biggest global sporting tournament to ever hit our shores.

Whether you’re a football fan or not, I’d encourage everyone to find a way to enjoy the surrounding festivities.