Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

$33.6m pot to run Masters Games

Company with 50 staff and its own board to organise veterans event for 36,000 competitors and supporters

Martin Sneddon. Photo / Ross Setford.
Martin Sneddon. Photo / Ross Setford.

A company with 50 staff and its own board is being set up with a budget of $33.6 million to run the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland.

It will be among the city's largest events since the 2011 Rugby World Cup, attracting an estimated 36,000 competitors and supporters from overseas and New Zealand.

The Rugby World Cup attracted 20 teams and 133,200 overseas visitors.

Martin Snedden, who headed the Rugby World Cup and is now chief executive of the Tourism Association of New Zealand, said the games were a big event for the city and would give businesses a shot in the arm because they were likely to be held during the quieter shoulder season.

Mr Snedden, a member of an advisory group on setting up the games, said the company model was the same used for the Rugby World Cup and better than the council's tourism arm running the games in-house.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) is advertising for board members and interviewing candidates for chief executive with a view to making appointments this month.

The company will report to Ateed, which in turn reports to the Auckland Council. Each of the three bodies has its own ratepayer-funded governance structure.

An advertisement for board members said they would be "appropriately remunerated". An Ateed spokeswoman said board fees had still to be set. They are expected to be around $30,000 and more for the board chairman.

Ateed chief executive Brett O'Riley said the games, over 10 days in 2017, were expected to attract 17,000 competitors and supporters from overseas, about 7700 from outside Auckland and 11,000 from Auckland.

There would be 16 mandatory sports based on the Olympics - everything from athletics and swimming to hockey, badminton, canoeing and cycling - and 14 optional sports put together the by host city, which could include waka ama, dragon boating and touch rugby.

Mr O'Riley said the games were a big logistical exercise and different from the Rugby World Cup in that there were no admission charges to watch events. Nor would the games attract the same level of international media attention.

The games, he said, were expected to generate about 250,000 visitor nights in Auckland and be worth $45 million for the city.

The Auckland Council and the Government are each contributing $11 million. The other $11.6 million is coming from registration fees and commercial sponsorship.

World Masters Games

• 16 mandatory and 14 optional sports.

• Held every four years.

• Will be hosted by Auckland in 2017.

• 36,000 competitors and supporters expected to participate in Auckland.

- NZ Herald

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