World Masters Games gets underway
By Tony Farmer
The build up to the ceremony to be held in Eden Park began late afternoon following an afternoon spent with many other sportspeople registering for their events in The Cloud on Auckland’s waterfront.
I even had a game of table tennis there hoping that one of my heroes. Sir Peter Snell, would show up – but unfortunately he didn’t, at least not when I was there!
The Opening Ceremony was a spectacle my wife and I will never forget. The use of light and sound was amazing and the laser and light show was simply the biggest ever to be seen in New Zealand.
The Maori performing Arts Group Te Waka Hurai, performed with a band which contained some of New Zealand’s finest musicians. Their tunes contained familiar songs for locals, but also songs for overseas participants. What a privilege also to see The Modern Maori Quartet and other brilliant performers.
We were both mesmerised by the spectacular movement and dancing which took place in the centre of the arena and choirs from the stage and one favourite for us was the singing of Poi E made famous by Dalvanius Prime and The Patea Maori Club.
My wife Maureen, had been fortunate enough to see the documentary of Poi E followed by a short Q & A, and an added bonus of an ‘off the cuff’ performance of the song from some members of the Patea Club which will stay in her mind forever.
Part of the action
Another highlight was discovering that the watch-like wrist bands that had been taped to the backs of seats flashed and illuminated at different times of the night, filling Eden Park with 28,000 different lights and creating an amazing spectacle.
All participants were seated with their individual sporting colleagues and then, as thirty feet high symbols depicting each individual sport tracked across high and above the stadium, took their turn parade round the track.
We listened to speeches by the Mayor of Auckland and the Prime Minister among others, to open up the Games, but the real V.I.Ps on the night were the performers and the individual participants about to embark on a fantastic week of Sport.
New Zealand certainly did itself proud on the night.