9 Sep 2009

'Boring' Hamilton fights back

6:32 pm on 9 September 2009

Hamilton is fighting back over comments from the South African rugby coach, who described the city as "boring".

Peter de Villiers was explaining the decision to prepare for this weekend's Tri-Nations test against the All Blacks on Australia's Gold Coast.

Mr de Villiers says there is nothing in Hamilton, so players can start to suffer "hotel fatigue" causing them to lose interest quickly and start thinking about going home.

Hamilton identities and other proud locals are describing the Springbok coach's comments as rubbish and are backing their city to the hilt.

All Black and Waikato player Stephen Donald says he will use de Villier's comments as motivation when he lines up against the Springboks on Saturday.

He says the comments hurt him "immensely" and while the beaches on the Gold Coast are not bad, there are lots of nice spots along Hamilton's beautiful river.

Linda Topp of the Topp Twins, who grew up in Huntly, describes Hamilton as the Los Angeles of Waikato and says the South African coach couldn't be more wrong.

It seems the statistics support the locals' claims, with data from the Ministry of Tourism showing that in the year to June more than 480,000 international tourists visited the Waikato region, making it the sixth most visited area in country.

However, not everyone is offended by the Springbok coach's comments. Local identity Graham Cairns, also known as the Laird of Hamilton, has thanked Peter De Villiers for helping keep the river city free of Aucklanders.

Palmerston North 'keen' to retain title

Palmerston North, once deemed New Zealand's dullest town, is keen to retain the title, with the Manawatu Chamber of Commerce saying the label 'boring' can be a blessing.

Chairperson Paul O'Brien says interest in Palmerston North soared after British comedian John Cleese inferred that it was the most boring city in the country during a tour in 2005.

Mr Cleese referred to Palmerston North in scathing terms and said he'd had a miserable time there. In return, the city named a rubbish tip after him.

Mr O'Brien said the comments generated much tourism and there were about 27,000 hits on websites about the province and the city as a result. "That certainly helped our tourism sector and hospitality, and caused a lot of interest."

Mr O'Brien is unfazed that the district is considered by some as to be less than exciting, believing the boring tag it is a compliment to the ease and quality of life in Palmerston North.

He has extended an invitation to the Springboks to see just how boring the city can be.