A Letter Out Of Super Rugby re: The Zoo

Where's Wally!?

Where's Wally!?

Dear Tjastik,

Hope you're well cuz and I hope you got the message from my carrier pigeon about that shipment of peptides, everything is A-okay from my end so send that pigeon back with the word. Don't use technology, they're watching us.

I have no worries in telling you all about the Zoo though, not the Brooklyn Zoo, the Dunedin Zoo.

I've got to set the scene first because us kiwis are pretty tame really. Those stories you told me about you and your mates at the rugby in Slovenia are crazy, far too crazy for us kiwis who just clap and chant our teams' name. We don't sing, we don't organise anything and we aren't very creative in how we go about supporting our team.

Around our Super Rugby teams, things are pretty tame. 

In Auckland we wave flags around.

In Hamilton they ring their cow-bells, they used to have a guy who had a chainsaw that made chainsaw noises.

In Wellington, well they don't really do anything.

In Canterbury, they are just rabid. They'll boo, they'll abuse and generally hate anyone who's not from there. Nice bunch.

In Dunedin, they just get sloppy in the Zoo.

There are a few elements that make the Zoo what it is. 

First of all, Otago is home to Otago University where a lot of 18-23 year olds go to get away from home and pretend to study. It's the closest we have to the American college vibe and they are known as Scarfies, shit gets pretty crazy down there.

The Highlanders are the biggest sports team down there and so the Scarfies love them as you'd expect. Students live to get wild and they combine their love of getting wasted with their love for sport and attending a Highlanders game has long been a 'main event' whenever the Highlanders are playing at home.

Then you've got the stadium, Forsyth Barr Stadium which is our countries' only enclosed stadium. Us kiwis aren't very good with stadiums and I'm from Auckland where we absolutely suck at stadiums, so to have an enclosed stadium is pretty cool. 

Even what I see as a downside, is hugely beneficial. Instead of a stand at either end, there's only one stand at one end with the other end of the field sitting in front of a vacant space where concerts and stuff happen. This means that all the students are filtered down one end of the field, where they can be amongst their peers and bring the ruckus.

Instead of having to worry about parents, kids and older folk around them, the students can just let rip and go nuts in support of their Highlanders. From all accounts things get pretty moist in that enclosed stadium, especially at this time of the year, that mixed in with the students appreciation for a fine brew like Speights also means that shit can get weird.

Weird, crazy and perhaps embarrassing. However this gives the Highlanders a playing environment that no other kiwi team has. 

While everyone else is trying to be Sensible Scuba Steve or Politcally Correct Harriett, down in Otago they throw caution to the wind and enjoy the benefits of it. They have an advantage unseen around other Super Rugby teams, something that is unique to them and makes life rather miserable for their opponents.

Put it on your bucket list Tjas. I'll show you round South Auckland and then we'll head down to Dunedin, see the students and visit the Zoo where you'll find monkeys and lions, or at least fun people who think they are monkeys and lions.


Don't forget about that pigeon, I need them peptides and I quite like that pigeon.