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Street artwork series launches across New Zealand ahead of Rugby World Cup

By Lucy Lomax
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 22: Artist, Paul Walsh completes his mural which marks the countdown to the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup. Walsh's artwork in Morningside, Auckland. The 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup kicks off next month, on the 8th of October at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Greg Bowker/Getty Images for World Rugby)
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Ahead of the Rugby World Cup kicking off in New Zealand on 8th October 2022, the organising committee has unveiled plans for a series of seven bespoke, large scale street artworks that will ‘pop-up’ in locations across New Zealand in celebration of women’s rugby.

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The series, entitled Support Our Sisters: The Art of Rugby will see the stunning artworks on display in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch from mid-September through to the end of the tournament in November and beyond.

Rugby World Cup has collaborated with seven established New Zealand street artists, who have encapsulated and celebrated women’s rugby through unique artworks which include illustration, graphic street art, surrealism and realism. The works range in scale from five to 50 metres and will feature on a range of mediums from mural walls, buildings and hoardings to public institutions.

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In the tournament’s host city Auckland, the street art location on the corner of Morningside Drive and New North Road will be reimaged by Paul Walsh. Shortland Street in the CBD will see Erin Fosyth turn a commuter space into a major artwork and in Manurewa Rachel Kiddie McClure will offer her interpretation of the game inside the Manurewa Mall.

The second host city Whangarei will showcase two artworks, with a work by Earnest Bradley on Dent Street and Whangarei Council funding a bespoke 50 metre long installation, which will feature Josh Meneheere around the Whangarei Town Basin.

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In Hamilton, Zarna Torpy will put her hand to a 25m long blank wall on Victoria Street and in Christchurch, Wongi Wilson will pay a special homage to Canterbury’s own, Kendra Cocksedge, at the Christchurch Town Hall.

Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director Michelle Hooper says the nationwide exhibition will reflect New Zealand’s love for rugby and burgeoning support for the women’s game.

“Inspired by the Rugby World Cup and women’s rugby, Support Our Sisters: The Art of Rugby is a way for New Zealanders across the motu to feel a sense of ownership of the tournament and show their hometown support for the w?hine coming from across the world to compete on Aotearoa soil,” she says.

“There is no doubt this is a major moment in New Zealand sporting history and we’re excited to see the whole country get behind it,” says Hooper.

Black Fern Kendra Cocksedge says “To play a Rugby World Cup on home soil with the world watching is a dream come true. This nationwide artwork exhibition is so diverse and fun I hope that it captures peoples’ imaginations. As the anticipation builds, I’m proud to be part of a campaign to rally our nation behind the Rugby World Cup. Support for all the nations playing and our rugby sisterhood is vital to transmitting the power and opportunity of rugby to women and girls around the world.”

The Rugby World Cup 2021 has announced over 30,000 tickets have been sold for the opening match day on Saturday 8 October 2022 at Eden Park with renowned artist Rita Ora performing. Tickets for the Rugby World Cup 2021 are on sale now.

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