Ready for the Masters

By Paul Brooks

NEARLY READY: Getting in among the thousands of 2017 Games Packs are Genevieve Allan, Lidy Schouw, Scott Bowater, Steph Thomas, Kathy Cunningham, Sally Jane Smith and Fiona Pickering. PICTURE / PAUL BROOKS
NEARLY READY: Getting in among the thousands of 2017 Games Packs are Genevieve Allan, Lidy Schouw, Scott Bowater, Steph Thomas, Kathy Cunningham, Sally Jane Smith and Fiona Pickering. PICTURE / PAUL BROOKS

There is no measuring the excitement at Events Trust HQ at Cooks Gardens, with this year's Masters Games ready to start.
First up, before any of the 50-plus sports begin, is the opening ceremony at Cooks Gardens this Friday evening, starting at 6 o'clock.
"First, participants enter from Maria Pl [extension]," says Events Trust chief executive, Kathy Cunningham. Ned Tapa will perform the wero (taiaha challenge) which will be accepted by Trust chairman Mark Stoneman.
"John Maihi will say a karakia and the 'aunties' will call the participants on." There will then be a kapa haka performance and the participants will march to their places.
There will be a small stage near the bell tower end of the Cooks Gardens oval, but there will be things happening out at the other end of the oval.
"Craig Hanford is our MC and he'll be saying a few sentences on each sport."
Meanwhile, there will be activity at the other end of the field, with dog handling, blokarting, archery, football ... "Little demonstrations of the sports to capture your attention.
"Once everybody is seated we'll start the speeches."
There will be three official speakers - Mayor Hamish McDouall, Mark Stoneman and Kathy Cunningham - keeping formalities to a minimum.
The National Anthem will follow, led by sopranos Marie Brooks and Rosie Rendell, after which there will be a flypast by four T-6C Texan aircraft from RNZAF Base Ohakea.
"They will be going low and loud, blowing smoke," says Kathy. "We had four letters go to Ohakea, asking really nicely, and describing the relationship, the partnership, the reasons why we're asking." One of those reasons, says Kathy, is that a lot of military personnel participate in Masters Games.

Chester Borrows and Hamish McDouall wrote two of the letters.
A lone piper, Ross Duncan, will play to call the crowds from Cooks Gardens to the War Memorial Centre to the sound of Brass Wanganui.
"And then we'll party.
"We have road closures on Maria Place, so we will march from Cooks Gardens to the War Memorial Centre."
Evening entertainment at the centre will be provided by a number of events - quizzes, a fashion show, disco etc - and 14 bands from Whanganui and around the country.
"It's a really nice mix of local and others," says Kathy.
On opening night the music starts with local 11-piece outfit, Clazzmatic Boogie Orchestra and continues with The Magnificent 7, comprising Jordan Luck, Peter Urlich and Eddie Rayner. Other bands throughout the games are Freddie and the Firebirds, Shenanigans, Damn Raucous Brass, Hipnotics, The Conrays, Wellington City Shake-Em-On-Downers, Strangely Arousing, Warratahs, CVE, Gramophone Band, Union, and the closing features The Burgundy Brothers.
"It will be a party like Whanganui hasn't seen before, with world-class entertainment," she says. "In true Masters Games form, the social side of competition is celebrated and encouraged."

- Wanganui Midweek

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