So long and thanks for all the Sevens, Hamilton

Hamilton Sevens 'tournament mum' and volunteer Glynis King will enjoy her last Hamilton Sevens on Saturday.

MARK TAYLOR

Hamilton Sevens ‘tournament mum’ and volunteer Glynis King will enjoy her last Hamilton Sevens on Saturday.

Dallas Fisher has a plan.

The businessman was instrumental in getting the New Zealand leg of the World Seven series to Hamilton from Wellington in 2018– which saw the return of sold out crowds.

This weekend Hamilton will host the HSBC New Zealand HSBC Sevens for the final time with World Rugby taking the event off the series calendar.

It also means the city is missing out on millions of dollars the event generates.

New Zealand has held sevens tournaments on the world circuit since 2000. This weekend will be the first since 2020after the pandemic forced a two-year hiatus.

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Fisher said it piles a lot of money into the Waikato.

“The event spends about $1.5million on stuff to make it happen and then there is new cash generated, which is people from out of Hamilton spending money, which is around $3million.”

Detailed measure of economic impact in the event’s first year led Fisher to expect it to be more now.

TOM LEE FAIRFAX MEDIA

Hamilton will “bring back the party to the sevens”, says 37 South managing director Dallas Fisher, as Kirikiriroa is announced as the host for the NZ leg of the international series. Video first published May 22 2017.

The event will also see 300 volunteers working at the event as a fundraiser for their organization – the likes of Sunrise Rotary, the Kihikihi sports club, two modules of touch Waikato.

As a passionate advocate of the event Fisher says he’s got past the sadness of its ending.

“I grieved, I got a bit angry, I got a bit sad. I just want to make this event the best we can make it. It is a showcase for Hamilton and the mighty Waikato. There is a sadness there, but I’ve got a plan emerging, and I’m quite focused on that

Fisher is not at a point to discuss details but admits having talks with K’aute Pasifika Trust’s fale and the idea of ​​a possible Pacific Nations sevens event being touted.

Sarah Hirini during a New Zealand Black Ferns training session ahead of the 2023 HSBC Sevens.

Dave Rowland/Getty Images

Sarah Hirini during a New Zealand Black Ferns training session ahead of the 2023 HSBC Sevens.

“I think it’s a great idea. You add our event capabilities, the facilities including the fale, it would be a magnificent event. Because you add to it the heart of world sevens – New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji, just amazing.”

This weekend Fisher is just ensuring the NZ swansong wil be at its best.

“We are replicating, adding a few things and then on Sunday afternoon rugby takes center stage. Because these athletes are unbelievably fit and unbelievably skilled and from the quarterfinals onwards the focus of the event will go on the number one field.

“Then you add the vibrancy and singing of the fans, and it magically comes together.”

Hamilton Central Business Association general manager Vanessa Williams said the Sevens brings an added buzz with teams and supporters being out and about in the city.

“I think it will be a phenomenal sendoff. It definitely is a bonus having these types of events when traditionally the city has been quiet and, being an inland city, competing with beaches.”

Fans show their colors at the 2020 sevens – the last one before a Covid-imposed break (file photo).

Tom Lee/Stuff

Fans show their colors at the 2020 sevens – the last one before a Covid-imposed break (file photo).

However, Williams believes things are changing since Covid.

“There has been a lot more of the staycation scenario and I think Hamilton is gaining traction in the destination place in itself for people looking to do something different than going to the beach.”

One person who is definitely going to miss the Sevens is long time volunteer Glynis King.

The 72-year-old has earned herself the nickname of “tournament mum” with the volunteers.

“I’m the first one here signing everyone [volunteers] in and waving them goodbye at the end of the day.”

She helps manage the volunteers rest and meal center based at the Hamilton Old Boy’s gym, a job she’s done since its inception in the city.

King often volunteers for rugby, netball events but has enjoyed having the party atmosphere of the Sevens on her home turf.

“It’s just an awesome event you get to meet so many people, you have lots of fun watching and visiting around the venue. You can make it as fun as you like, really.”

Glory days - Captain Sarah Hirini of New Zealand holds the finals cup aloft during the 2020 HSBC Sevens at FMG Stadium Waikato on January 26, 2020.

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Glory days – Captain Sarah Hirini of New Zealand holds the finals cup aloft during the 2020 HSBC Sevens at FMG Stadium Waikato on January 26, 2020.

King has enjoyed the fun costumes which have improved year-on-year and is “gutted” it’s the last one.

“The decision has been made, so we can’t actually do anything about that, so we move on and make the most of our last event in Hamilton.”

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