The Whanganui (NZ) Masters Games Trust and organising team have been inspired by an outpouring of local support for the February 2021 event, says New Zealand Masters Games manager Rachel O'Connor.
"Despite the delay and uncertainty with the Covid-19 lockdown, support has poured in from a vast range of Whanganui businesses: plumbers, law firms, construction and retail to name a few," she said.
"This is a great indication that belief in our region, and the Masters Games, is alive and well.
"From the event's supporters at national brand level, such as Suzuki New Zealand Ltd - to local private businesses through our $500 Club, the Masters Games is feeling the love."
The $500 Club has received unprecedented support. In just two months, more than 30 firms have joined the $500 Club to support the games.
"Whanganui and Partners, Whanganui District Council's economic development agency, provides critical funding and expertise for the event and, when we have so many of our local private businesses back us so strongly, we are reminded that this is a resilient and community focused city – we couldn't be more proud of Whanganui," says Rachel.
Jonathan Sykes, strategic lead, brand, events and i-SITE at Whanganui & Partners, says the Masters Games is an opportunity to demonstrate pride in Whanganui to the rest of New Zealand.
"Beyond the obvious feel-good factor, there are other aspects that make the event so important to the city's event calendar," he says.
"The Masters Games in 2021 will provide us with a great chance to show off Whanganui to the rest of New Zealand giving a direct economic boost to our economy.
"Whanganui & Partners has already been working closely with the Masters Games team to ensure the promotion of the event is as visible as it can be. The summer is shaping up to be a huge one for events and we can't wait."
Key partner, Suzuki NZ, has been involved in the Masters Games for decades.
Automobile marketing general manager Gary Collins says Suzuki NZ's ties to sport in Whanganui are strong because the company has a national office based in the city thanks to Whanganui's Rod Coleman, who raced motorcycles on the world stage in the 1950s.
"In fact, we have been a sponsor of the Masters Games for so long that no one can work out exactly when we started.
"We see the games as a great asset to the Whanganui district. It brings in so many people to the region and it reflects our values perfectly. Our brand is all about allowing our customers to have fun and an active lifestyle."
For more information on the $500 Club, contact NZ Masters Games manager Rachel O'Connor on 349 2321.