The countdown to the 2021 New Zealand Masters Games begins this week with the official launch in Whanganui.

The socially-distanced launch on Friday night will include the announcement of a naming rights sponsor for 2021 and officially opening registrations for the event.

While not open to the public, the launch will be livestreamed on Facebook so athletes around the country can take part.

Held across Whanganui from February 5-14 next year, the event is expected to attract more than 4000 participants to the district, with athletes taking part in 56 different sports.

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Games manager Rachel O'Connor said the games were a huge event for people across the country.

"It's about competing and connecting with other like-minded people. Celebrating health and wellness is more important now than ever," O'Connor said.

With the restriction on international travel, O'Connor is hoping more people decide to take a look at the games and a trip to Whanganui as a summer activity.

"We are hoping that people not being able to travel internationally might open the door to people to experience these events that are on our doorstep."

As well as participants, the event also relies on hundreds of volunteers to make it a success. O'Connor said there were 120 sports partners who facilitated the different activities on top of another 100 general volunteers.

"Our volunteers help during the event to make sure everything runs smoothly. They're really important."

While not yet affected by Covid-19, O'Connor says the event won't be taking any risks.

"We would be negligent not to take Covid-19 into account, there'll be a proper plan in place."

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The launch of the games will be streamed live on the New Zealand Masters Games Facebook page at 6.30pm on Friday. Registrations will open immediately afterwards.