The America's Cup is coming to Tauranga at the end of this month.
The Sunday, August 27 visit has been confirmed by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club and Tauranga City Council - but the details of what the visit will involve are still being worked out.
Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman and local hero Peter Burling is expected to take part in the visit, with a few other members of the triumphant team.
The visit will be two months to the day since New Zealand's 7-1 match series win over Oracle Team USA in Bermuda.
Tauranga club commodore Nick Wrinch said it had been tricky to find a date that would fit into both the cup's schedule and Burling's.
He said the club was working with the council on the details of the visit. He understood council staff were meeting tomorrow to talk through a plan.
It was of some relief to him that a date had been set.
"People have been asking me about it for a long time," he said with a laugh.
He believed the Auld Mug's visit would consist of a public event around the middle of the day, and that later in the day the club may be able to put on a private event for its members.
The public event would hopefully be an opportunity for people to celebrate the win, welcome Burling home properly and see the world's oldest sporting trophy in the flesh, he said.
Council city events manager Gareth Wallis said detailed plans for the visit would be confirmed over the coming days, and the public would be told early next week.
"This is an exciting opportunity for our community to come out and celebrate our America's Cup victory."
Squadron general manager Hayden Porter said the sport of sailing was the focus of the cup's visits to New Zealand's regions.
He said Burling was confirmed, and a few other team members with Bay of Plenty links were also being lined up.
The cup would be transported in a custom-made Louis Vuitton case, and had 24-hour security when it travelled, Mr Porter said.
At public events, local police were usually asked to help with security.
"It's the world's oldest sporting trophy so yeah, we're fairly careful about taking it out."
Downtown Tauranga spokeswoman Sally Cooke said she was excited to hear the cup was coming.
"It will be fantastic to be able to give Peter a true Bay welcome home.
"I look forward to seeing Tauranga City Council's plans. A tickertape parade through the streets would be fantastic."
She hoped the plans would be released as soon as possible so retailers would have time to make the streets look festive in time for the visit.
Cup celebration timeline
- June 27: Emirates Team New Zealand's 7-1 win over Oracle Team USA seals their America's Cup victory
- July 5: The team arrive home into Auckland with the Auld Mug
- July 6: Auckland celebrates with a Queen St parade and sail-by on the harbour, which was expected to cost ratepayers about $400,000
- July 11: Team parades through Wellington
- July 12: Christchurch parade (reported cost $108,000)
- July 13: Dunedin parade (reported cost $41,400)
- August 27: Tauranga celebration - details to be announced.
Sailing interest grows after cup win
New Zealand's America's Cup win is credited with an uplift in interest in learning to sail in Tauranga.
For the first time, Tauranga Yacht & Power Boat Club's learn to sail lessons continued through winter this year, commodore Nick Wrinch said.
"Usually it's pointless at this time of year more or less because nobody is keen."
When their Canadian sailing coach Kirstin Moratz suggested she stay in New Zealand to continue lessons through winter, he thought "yeah, good luck with that", but Emirates Team New Zealand's win in late June changed all that.
The effect was "immediate".
"Literally within days, we had new enquiries about learning to sail."
"We saw it after the Olympics too, when we had three medals. The publicity is great."