New Zealand's Rugby World Cup Less Than One Month Away

Preparations are underway for the Rugby World Cup 2011 (RWC 2011)'s opening ceremonies in Auckland's Eden Park on the night of September 9 .

The 20-minute ceremony will be unveiled to a 60,000-strong crowd at Eden Park and a predicted television audience of millions worldwide just before the opening match between hosts New Zealand and Pacific rivals Tonga.

New Zealand musician and composer Victoria Kelly is the Music Director for the ceremony, and has written a score that will be revealed for the first time on September 9. Costume designer Jane Holland has prepared thousands of costumes with a small team including a number of design students. Robin Rawstorne is heading up the design team responsible for developing and building the set and props required for the event.

The ceremony will feature over 1,000 volunteer performers as well as hundreds of backstage crew.

Fans going to the opening match are advised to leave early and allow plenty of time to get to the stadium ready for the 7:30pm start of the ceremony. Limited tickets are still available for the Opening Ceremony and opening match.

For those not going to the match, Auckland city is putting on its own opening night celebrations on the waterfront, including performances from the Finn Brothers and Dave Dobbyn at the Queens Wharf Fanzone, a spectacular fireworks display and the match live on big screens.

Photo by Hamish McConnochie