NZHQ Fanzone open to public during Tokyo Olympic Games

2021-07-25 01:35:54 GMT2021-07-25 09:35:54(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WELLINGTON, July 25 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand-based fanzone, named NZHQ, was open to the public in Auckland on Saturday.

Based at Auckland's Queen's Wharf during the 17-day Tokyo Olympic Games, from Saturday July 24 to Sunday August 8, with hours determined by the New Zealand Team's competition schedule, the fanzone will provide a space for spectators from all over New Zealand to gather and support their team.

New Zealand Olympic Committee Chief Executive Kereyn Smith acknowledged the considerable support of Team partners, especially Sport New Zealand, Auckland Unlimited and major sponsor ANZ, in making NZHQ possible.

"As no international spectators are permitted in Tokyo to support their Teams, we wanted to provide a space for our Team's friends and whanau to gather, connect with each other, and follow the Team. While it's not the same as being there, it's as close as we can get to our Team in these challenging Covid times."

For those wanting to immerse themselves in the action, there is an activity zone allowing fans to try out virtual Olympic sports and plenty of photo opportunities.

There will also be live crosses to the New Zealand Team in Tokyo, while a school program will see 6,000 Auckland school students visit NZHQ to meet New Zealand Olympians and learn more about the New Zealand Team and the Olympic Games.

NZHQ has a capacity of 1500 and with a bright interactive zone for the younger fans is sure to be a hit for the duration of the Olympics.

Earlier, NZHQ opened in style at The Cloud base in Auckland on Friday night.

A large group of about 350 people, including former New Zealand Olympic representatives, sponsors and friends were in attendance and were entertained by MC, singer Jackie Clarke, along with speeches from both NZOC president Mike Stanley at the Cloud and chief executive Kereyn Smith, beamed in from Tokyo.

A group of Taiko drummers greeted guests upon arrival, providing a contrast from the New Zealand musical performances.

The Cloud fanzone is a first and is designed as a base for New Zealand team friends and Olympic family members.

Surfer Billy Stairmand - representing one of the new Olympic sports - spoke, as did New Zealand's chef de mission Rob Waddell while former sevens rugby legend, now NZOC staffer, DJ Forbes, provided a walk through the New Zealand space in Tokyo.

Former Olympic champion, rower Mahe Drysdale was among the high-profile guests, having looked on approvingly earlier at New Zealand's first day on the water of the Sea Forest Waterway.

Simon van Velthooven, bronze medal winner in the keirin at the London Olympics in 2012 before turning his sporting talents to being on the Emirates New Zealand sailing team, was another adding to the star power of the event.

There was plenty of favorable comments about the venue, and Stanley paid tribute to the vast amount of work put in by volunteers, sponsors and staff to make the opening of the fanzone a memorable occasion. Enditem