Entering the land of the long white cloud

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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The Moodie Report’s Antipodean adventure continues as I arrive in New Zealand – or in Maori, Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud.

Fresh from my visit to Sydney Airport’s breathtakingly revamped International Terminal, I’ve just arrived in Auckland to view the new departures stores for both DFS and JR Duty Free. I met Garry Stock, Chairman of James Richardson’s Duty Free division, in Sydney Airport last week, and he said the company was delighted with the quality of its entry into the New Zealand market. It promises to be very interesting.

But first there was a time for a whistle-stop visit to Christchurch, my home town, after a beautiful flight from Sydney over the West Coast of New Zealand and down onto the Canterbury plains.

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The province of Canterbury is the spiritual stamping ground of those sporting immortals, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and ace number ten Dan Carter. 2011 is Rugby World Cup year and virtually every one of New Zealand’s 4.3 million men, women and children – plus most of the 45 million sheep – are pining for an end to 24 years of heartbreak, and that the Cup will not only come home but stay home.

Already the travel retail stores (such as Ballantynes in Christchurch Airport’s domestic area, below) are selling Rugby World Cup items. Expect the activity to become ever more frenetic over the next 16 months as a nation expects and the eyes of the rugby world turn to this jewel of the South Pacific.

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An early prediction? Well, for once we will have to let our bias show through and predict much dancing in the streets and paddocks of New Zealand as the mighty All Blacks finally get it right on the big occasion.

There are plenty of alternative scenarios that don’t bear thinking about of course – in the event of an Australian victory, for example, The Moodie Report.com will be placed in enforced hibernation mode for four years and the country will likely declare itself Southern Samoa to hide its blushes. Even thinking about the unthinkable is unthinkable…

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