Written by Alex Goff    Saturday, 17 September 2011 18:55    PDF Print Write e-mail
USA Team Plants Trees
International - Rugby World Cup
The Eagles at the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge.
Rugged coastline tamed. The beginning of New Plymouth's Coast Walkway. Alex Goff photos.

Several members of the USA Men's National Team stopped in at the Real NZ Festival to plant some native New Zealand trees.

The event is part of a long-term effort by the New Plymouth Council to remake the city into one that embraces its impressive and dynamic waterfront. 

The Eagles arrived at the Te Rewa Rewa reserve, which features several beaches, as well as the Te Rewa Rewa bridge, a uniquely-designed bridge reminiscent of a whale skeleton.

The reserve is at the northern end of New Plymouth's new Coastal Walkway, a pathway that runs the length of the town often inches from the pounding surf. In a town that once had all its buildings facing inland, away from the water, the walkway was how the New Plymouth Council brought attention back to one of the place's most impressive features.

Visitors can walk along the Tasman Sea, and stop at the Aquatic Center midway. It's also where you can get the best view of the Wind Wand, a piece of kinetic art conceived by artist Len Lye. Billed as a "Tangible Motion Scultpure" the Wind Wand is a light atop a flexible pole. It bends with the wind, and glows at night.

"There's been a shift in New Plymouth to embrace not only the Mountain [Mt. Taranaki] but its role as a waterfront town," said Paul Stancliffe-White, General Manager - Visitor Industry, Venture Taranaki. "You see the attention turned toward the water, to allow the people to be proud of the waterfront."

That also means showcasing some beautiful designs, and also bringing the Eagles to the waterfront to show how proud New Plymouth is of their new image.

The largest town in Taranaki has been an excellent home for the USA team. USA flags were everywhere in town and the locals were also avid fans at the two matches the Eagles played there. Soon the USA will move on to Wellington, but it's hard to imagine them getting a better and, despite the weather, warmer welcome than in New Plymouth.

"We're proud to have the United States team here," said former Taranaki rugby lock Ian Eliason, who played 19 times for the All Blacks in the 1970s and 222 times for his province. "We'd love to have more American teams tour here."