Whenever the '100% Pure New Zealand' giant rugby ball pops up in a prominent international location, New Zealand takes centre stage.
The huge rugby ball - an innovative collapsible structure conceived and created in New Zealand - provides a unique touring venue that’s used to celebrate and promote the best of New Zealand to the world.
Since its first appearance in 2007, the oval ball has shared star billing with iconic landmarks in Paris, London, Tokyo and Sydney, and welcomed thousands of visitors.
Open to the public free-of-charge, the rugby ball uses the latest in audio-visual technology to take visitors on a virtual voyage through New Zealand that highlights the country's incredible natural history, rich cultural heritage and contemporary New Zealand culture.
When the giant ball first appeared in Paris - under the Eiffel Tower during the 2007 Rugby World Cup - it attracted more than 24,000 visitors, and enormous international media attention.
The rugby ball next popped up in Potters' Field - between London's famous Tower Bridge and City Hall - for eight days in November 2008. The ball served as the host venue for the IRB pool allocation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Visitors included the Queen, British dignitaries, famous sports people, and thousands of passing locals and tourists.
Since then, the ball has also appeared on a six-day outing in October 2009 in front of the famed Tokyo Tower in downtown Tokyo. More than 12,000 people visited the ball in Tokyo, and Japanese media coverage reached an audience of millions.
In September 2010, the ball made its final international appearance in Sydney where it was parked on Circular Quay between the city’s most famous landmarks - the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Visitor numbers topped 26,676 during the 10 day Sydney visit.
Rugby World Cup 2011
For Rugby World Cup 2011, the giant rugby ball has returned to New Zealand soil for its final appearance.
Sitting at the gates to Queens Wharf, on the Auckland waterfront, the rugby ball has is pulling in the crowds once again with 50,000 visitors through the doors in the first four weeks of the tournament.
The Giant Rugby Ball facts:
measures 25m long x 17m wide x 12m high
holds up to 220 guests
takes five days to erect
air system works by two air pumps expelling 8,000 litres per second
an estimated 600,000 conventional rugby balls would fill the giant ball
designed and constructed by New Zealand's Inside Out productions, who were also responsible for the three-storey Louis Vuitton suitcase that toured the world for LV’s 150th anniversary celebrations
Gold Award winner in the Design Institute of New Zealand's BeST Design Awards (October 2008).
Giant rugby ball scores points in London
Giant rugby ball bounces into downtown Tokyo
Sydney welcomes NZ's giant rugby ball
Video news release