New Zealand Winter Games kicks off this Friday, August 21 with the spectacular Opening Ceremony as athletes, celebrities and VIPs join thousands of spectators at Earnslaw Park in downtown Queenstown.
At 4pm skydivers will plunge down onto the shores of Lake Wakatipu as a specially-composed fanfare announces the arrival of flag bearers – local children representing each competing nation – via jet boat.
With everyone in position, a traditional powhiri/welcome by members of Kai Tahu will take place with one of the athletes representing the visitors accepting the challenge laid down by the wero ki nga manuhiri/warriors.
The Governor-General of New Zealand, Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, will then formally declare the Games open before a fire show leads the procession of VIPs inside for an official reception. Spectators can keep warm with plenty of food and drink as two great live bands – the G.C.s and the Lynch Mob – play into the night. Earlier in the day another local band Mutz Nutz will play from 1pm followed by a fantastic prize giveaways and more great music from The Cartel.
Winter Games NZ will take place at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Farm, Naseby and Dunedin from 22-30 August 2009.
With an action-packed programme of twenty four events, the Winter Games NZ encompasses alpine skiing, free skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, curling, ice skating and adaptive snow sports, as well as the demonstration sports of winter triathlon and natural luge.
New Zealand Winter Games is the first elite snow sports event to have able bodied and athletes with a disability compete together in the alpine skiing and cross-country skiing disciplines. "This is a new concept in high performance competition," said Winter Games NZ CEO, Arthur Klap. "We believe no distinction should be made between any athletes that perform at the highest possible level, against the best in the world. To this end, adaptive and able bodied athletes will be competing at the same time, on the same course."