New Zealand's 'Adopt a Lions Fan' scheme already a success as over 1,500 supporters express interest in group

Jack de Menezes
The Independent
British and Irish Lions fans are being put up by their New Zealand counterparts: Getty
British and Irish Lions fans are being put up by their New Zealand counterparts: Getty

New Zealand fans who extended a warm welcome to British and Irish Lions supporters struggling to find accommodation for this summer have received a huge response after publicity of their campaign took off in Great Britain and Ireland, with over 1,500 people registering interest in the kind gesture.

More than 20,000 rugby fans hailing from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales are expected to descend on New Zealand for this summer’s Lions tour, but have found that huge cost increases and hotel unavailability has hindered their preparations for the trip.

That’s why Adam Gilshnan, a New Zealand rugby fan, started the “Adopt a Lion Fan 2017” Facebook page in the hope of bringing the two sets of supporters together to create a tour to remember. "I really hope friendships will develop out of this, because rugby is a great vehicle for it," Gilshnan said this week.

"We don't want money to change hands at all, we want visitors to experience the famed Kiwi hospitality, and give Kiwi rugby fans the opportunity to look after their Lions guests."

The result so far has been hugely positive, with more than 1,500 people registering interest in the scheme and more than 100 posts offering accommodation and advice in New Zealand being put on the Facebook page.

A number of All Blacks supporters have not only offered up rooms or sofas, but have also said they will help visiting fans travel to and from the stadiums, enjoying a few drinks together in the process.

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