The largest multiple-sport event in the world officially kicked off in Auckland with an unforgettable light show during the World Masters Games 2017 Opening Ceremony at Eden Park. Auckland pulled out all the stops to welcome the more than 28,000 participants from around New Zealand and across the globe, who are here to compete in 28 sports at 48 WMG2017 venues for the next 10 days.
A spectacular laser light – the largest ever seen in New Zealand – dazzled the crowd as part of a ceremony which celebrated the unique culture of New Zealand and the spirit of the WMG2017.
WMG2017 Chief Executive Jennah Wootten says the event has been four years in the planning with the aim of delivering the best World Masters Games in history.
“One of the unique attractions of World Masters Games is the social side of the event, and there is a great history of lifelong friendships being formed at previous Games,” she says.
“As the host city in 2017, Auckland is embracing that tradition and laying on a feast of culture, performance, music and food on our waterfront.”
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) bid to host WMG2017 in partnership with the New Zealand Government, and is delivering the event through a separate subsidiary company.
ATEED Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says WMG2017 will be the largest participation sports event New Zealand will host in the next decade.
“Hosting major events helps showcase Auckland to the world, giving people a reason to visit, to stay longer and to experience more of what we have to offer. Its long-term legacy is a significant boost to our sporting organisations, local businesses and regional amenities,” he says.
The economic growth agency is using the Games to present business and investment opportunities to interested international visitors, with a series of business events running alongside the tournament.
ATEED’s general manager Business, Innovation and Skills, Patrick McVeigh says the business events will provide insights into Auckland’s culture of innovation and high-value growth industries.
“The city and its economy is transforming – and there are plenty of investment and work opportunities. In particular, Auckland is well placed to be a gateway to the Asia-Pacific trade markets. Leading overseas companies are choosing Auckland as a base for these markets because of its business-friendly environment and time zone,’’ McVeigh says.
“We also have skills shortages in some key industry sectors such as tech and construction and engineering, and Auckland provides an enviable lifestyle for talented people.’’
World Masters Games 2017 participants can earn about Auckland’s work, investment and study opportunities at a breakfast seminar; take business and innovation highlights tours; take part in business networking events, including a showcase of Maori entrepreneurship and capability; attend sport performance and innovation forum; or access business and innovation advisors throughout the Games.