Team New Zealand have taken the America’s Cup to the regions in a bid to inspire the next generation of sailors, and the celebrations started in Taipa with a little help from Ray White Northland.
Emirates Team New Zealand thanked Northlanders for their support during the recent America’s Cup campaign by taking the coveted trophy through the region. Fitting for a region which has produced so many world-class sailors. The whirlwind two-week, 23-town tour of the country started in Taipa on Friday 6 October – home to New Zealand’s northernmost sailing club, the Taipa Sailing Club. The trophy was welcomed at the Ramada Resort before being ceremonially paraded along the waterfront on the back of Gary Steed‘s Ray White four-wheel-drive, preceded by Maori warriors Ururaiaha Awarau (Ngai Takoto) and Pene Tawhara (Ngati Kahu), to the Taipa Sailing Clubrooms where a few hundred people gathered for autographs and photos.
Known as the world’s oldest sporting trophy, the America’s Cup (affectionately known as the “Auld Mug”) wasn’t the only attraction in the day – with the wheel of the Emirates Team New Zealand catamaran that won the 35th America’s Cup regatta in Bermuda, Peter Burlings’ control box and race day gear and helmet also a hit with the children – as were the Emirates Team New Zealand members who included sailor Andy Maloney from Kerikeri, cyclor Josh Junior, head of on-water support Chris Hornell from Opua, and boatbuilder Adrian White from the Karikari Peninsula whose job had been to have the boat ready for racing every day and make repairs.
Emirates Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton was hoping that the tour would attract a new generation of young Kiwi girls and boys into sailing.
“This has been something very important to myself and the team since winning it. We really felt the support from everyone all over New Zealand when we were in Bermuda and want to repay that support by getting it to as many people as possible,” said Dalton
“We want to get as many young kids interested in sailing as we can. What we are seeing now with today’s stars like Peter Burling, Blair Tuke, Andy Maloney and Josh Junior is that they are the generation of kids that were inspired by winning the cup in 1995 and 2000 and have emerged as the best in the world that have won the cup again.
“We want to encourage the next generation of Peter’s, Blair’s, Josh & Andy’s to take the sport up and continue the strong legacy of sailing in New Zealand.”
Gary Steed, Principal of Ray White’s Far North Circle Real Estate Limited offices which include Ray White Kaitaia and Ray White Mangonui, said he was honoured to be asked to chaperone the Emirates Team New Zealand team members, America’s Cup (and the Cup’s dedicated security guard). Gary and his offices are proud supporters of the local Taipa Sailing Club and were approached by regional event organisers Roger Hall and Aevril Hibbard (Taipa Sailing Club Commodore) to assist on the day.
“It’s important to nurture passion and active participation in our youngsters, in all sports. Some might call it a small region, but so many youngsters in our area have grown to reach the pinnacle of their sport. In terms of the numbers of Northlanders represented in Emirates Team New Zealand, it shows that there are great opportunities for our youth if they step up and chose to take part. For us as business owners, parents and community members it’s important that we also step up, nurture and support this talent and ambition – and at the end of the day it starts with active participation in sports.”
The tour was also used to raise funds for the local clubs throughout the regions – for them to be able to strengthen their programmes. Starting between 1952 – 1953 with dinghy sailing in the semi-sheltered waters of Doubless Bay, the club prides itself on its family focus. The club sail every Saturday all year round – with ‘learn to sail’ sessions run in the warmer months of the year for children and adults (Ray White recently funding ten new sails, proudly branded with the new Ray White logo, for this program). A typical Saturday will see 6 or more Lasers, 3 or more splashes and a few others out having fun. Ray White has a strong connection with the Taipa Sailing Club – with previous Ray White Kaitaia owners Mark and Melva Saxton’s children also going through the club’s training programs over the years.
Following the celebrations in Taipa, the trophy headed off to the Kerikeri domain, with the Northland leg of the tour ending at the Whangarei Cruising Club on Saturday evening – with the tour then working its way down the country where it ended at the Bluff Yacht Club on October 17.
As the winning team, Emirates Team New Zealand and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) becomes the next defender and trustee of the America’s Cup – with the RNZYS accepting the challenge from Luna Rossa’s Circolo della Vela Sicillia (CVS) for the 36th America’s Cup to be held in Auckland in 2021, and planning is well underway.
Grant Dalton quotes sourced from NZ Herald