It’s Sevens weekend in Wellington. If you don’t know what Sevens is, it’s actually Rugby Sevens, a version of rugby union with 7 players and short games. That’s enough about the sports, now for why it matters in Wellington. For reasons no-one can remember, the Wellington Rugby Sevens fans started dressing up to go to the matches, and I don’t mean dressing up in the Ascot sort of way, more like a pantomime sort of way.
People travel, and dress up, in packs to go to the games, and it is now such a strong tradition that if you don’t wear a costume, you’ll stand out like…like…someone wearing a costume. Only you’re not. Moving on to the pack mentality, the dressing up is often done in groups, which results in 17 gingerbread men, 15 Care Bears, 12 monks, 6 french maids, 9 surgeons etc. I’m sure there have been 8 maids a-milking, 7 swans a-swimming as well.
Some of the costumes have current affairs themes, like this year’s group of men dressed as Nadzeya Ostapchuk – she of the infamy of temporarily robbing Our Val of her Olympic Gold medal. There were some Lance Armstrongs, or “Cheatstrongs” as these were called, and a few versions of people dressed as Marmite jars. (See my blog about Marmite to understand the significance of this one).
The Dominion Post has good coverage of the costume groups, but I was in search of some more candid shots , so I went roaming around the Wellington Railway Station, which is a main access point to the stadium where the games were held. There was a lot of blokes shouting in packs, and clearly the day had started quite early for some, and was only going to get messier as the night wore on.
The Police were very present, however as the shots with the giant carrot show, they were also being very tolerant. So tolerant, that when asked to pose with a giant carrot, they not only did so, but tidied up the carrot’s leaves before they struck a pose. A true public service, as no-one likes an untidy carrot-top.
The Mickey and Minnie mouse couple was surprisingly senior, as I had previously thought the dressing up was the domain of the young folk, but then again, if you feel like dressing up at any age, why not? I was sitting on a bench at the station when I spotted Mr & Mrs Mouse, and also on the bench was another pair of elderly people, British, and complaining about the behaviour of the crowd – they actually said that they “nearly reported” someone for swearing. Let me see…British, complaining – they were kind of keeping that particular stereotype going, I’m afraid. FFS, it’s the Sevens; deal with it.
Some people were trying not to feel silly while waiting alone for their friends…
Others were a tad on the small side and had trouble with their inflatable bits in crowded bars…
And the occasional reveller had a bit of explaining to do…(what is it with men in tights with tatts?)
The Rugby Sevens have recently been recognised as an Olympic Sport, so hopefully the dressing up in packs will be part of it…I can see a medal ceremony followed by a costume parade; that would liven up the staid old Olympics rather nicely.
Bizarre though the weekend undoubtedly is, I love it that my town of Wellington can go this crazy, en masse, and I applaud the creativity, the commitment and the downright goofiness that makes the Sevens weekend unique to Welly.