A special thank you to our brand new organisation, ChristchurchNZ for organising this event. I’ve been singing don’t rain on my parade all week. Unfortunately the weather is one thing we can’t control.
But we are absolutely delighted to host Emirates Team NZ and the Americas Cup here in Christchurch. In 1995 the Auld Mug was paraded through our streets – and it is great to do so again today. We want to honour and pay tribute to the whole team and everyone associated with the win. We especially want to acknowledge the members of the team from Christchurch and Canterbury - welcome home.
Can I also acknowledge Grant Dalton and in so doing acknowledge all of the people that play the different roles that have supported the team to victory – technicians, engineers, coaches, builders, chefs, physios. And can I acknowledge Kevin Shoebridge for responding to my emails.
Christchurch’s special claim to fame in the win comes from Milton Bloomfield who designed the cat’s steering wheel, so Peter Burling’s hands were clasped throughout on some local ingenuity.
Can I acknowledge Emirates as well - we are the smallest city in the world into which an Emirates A380 flies daily – we value our relationship very much.
Although Auckland may be the city of sails, Canterbury is the sporting capital of New Zealand – and we have a strong sailing community too with famous names such as Egnot, Mander, de Their, Philpott and of course Lyttelton’s Peter Lester.
It’s great to have representatives from the Waimakariri Sailing & Power Boat club, along with the Akaroa, Naval Point, Pleasant Point, Charteris Bay, Mount Pleasant and Christchurch Yacht Clubs here today.
So again, I want to pay tribute to Emirates Team NZ. I want to acknowledge the respectful way that Peter Burling represented the team – I saw a true leader on the television screen after each race. We were all proud of how you handled the international spotlight and how your grit and determination shone through.
Thank you to the whole team for making the trip down to Christchurch … you made it clear all along that you were very excited about coming here and that you wanted the celebration to go ahead in spite of the weather.
Congratulations on an outstanding sporting achievement. You have made us incredibly proud.