More than 100 Hawke's Bay secondary school students will take part in the the Castle Trust New Zealand College Games in Hamilton today.
Students from Central Hawke's Bay College, Hastings Boys' High, Hastings Girls' High, Havelock North High, Iona College, Karamu High, Lindisfarne College, Napier Boys' High, Napier Girls' High, Sacred Heart Girls' College, Taradale High and Woodford House took part in the opening ceremony this morning.
In the best traditions of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, a baton carrying a message from Prime Minister Helen Clark arrived at the opening ceremony to signify the beginning of four days of competition.
Olympic discus thrower Beatrice Faumuina and ironman Nathan Richmond brought the torch into the arena. Carved out of totara by Hamilton man Hone Rangawhenua, the baton symbolises the values on which the New Zealand College Games, and similarly, the Olympic and Commonwealth Games are based: building friendship and understanding among youth through sport.
The games are built on the Olympic ideals of friendship, unity and fair play. The baton and stand are modelled on a Maori waka, the feathers "ruakura", which suspend from the back of the baton represent the inspiration to achieve individual goals.
Traditionally, ruakura acted as a rudder on waka and were used to attract fish. The four paua shells represent "Nga Hau e Wha" (the four winds) and symbolise the coming together of different cultures at the games. The three colours at the top of the baton represent that although we are all different we are also all equal.
Hawke's Bay's top athletes like Scott Nicol (HBHS), Amanda Gorst (HNHS) and Napier Boys' High's road-running and crosscountry trio of Stefan Smith, Daniel Wallace and Steven Smith will compete with the cream of the country's students.
Athletics (1600 competitors) dominates the games which include watersports like wakeboarding at Lake Karapiro that will also host world-class skiers as as well as bowlers back from the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo, Australia, which finishes today.
* HB teams: Page 25.