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Public invited to join in Britomart celebrations

Public invited to join in Britomart celebrations

Auckland City is inviting the people of Auckland to join in the celebrations for the opening of Britomart at a free festival day on Saturday 26 July at Queen Elizabeth Square.

The council is marking the completion of the $204 million project with a day of festivities and fun for the public, ensuring as many people as possible can join in the celebrations.

The festival will be the first chance for the public to view the restoration of the former Chief Post Office (CPO) up close and ride into the train station at a reduced fare, while celebrating the centre’s importance for passenger transport in the Auckland region.

“It is a great time for the city of Auckland,” says Councillor Greg McKeown, transport committee chair. “The opening of the Britomart Transport Centre will prove to be as significant to the region as the opening of the harbour bridge.”

Britomart will be abuzz with continuous live performances throughout the day. Activities include: Music from an Auckland Philharmonia ensemble and the Nairobi Trio will fill the former CPO The Salvation Army Band, Auckland City Brass and The Lex Pistols will be found in Queen Elizabeth Square At the eastern end of the centre, the South Pacific String Quartet and National Dixie Jazz Band will play. Street performers including jugglers, living statues and face painters will roam and amuse. Vintage vehicles, courtesy of the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT), will illustrate the great leaps made in transport since the 1950s. Britomart’s history and public transport information will be displayed inside the former CPO Thomas the Tank Engine will be there to delight young children.

Public transport operators are offering special concessions to the event: Tranz Rail is offering a reduced fare of $2 to ride all day on Auckland routes to and from Britomart. The Auckland Discovery Pass will be discounted from $12 to $9, entitling all-day travel by bus, train and ferry.

“The construction of the Britomart station and refurbishment of the former Chief Post Office has been an enormous task and I take my hat off to the many people involved. The outcome is world class, and it’s great to see such a quality outcome for Auckland,” Mr McKeown says.

“We hope that many Aucklanders will come into the city and enjoy the celebrations. It is a major civic occasion and will be a fun family day. At some point in the future many Aucklanders will favourably recall ‘I was there when Britomart opened’.”

The $35,000 cost of the festival day is coming from $100,000 budgeted to fund opening festivities planned for the Britomart Transport Centre. In addition to the festival day, the full programme included a blessing by Ngati Whatua, a function to celebrate the first train into the completed station, an official opening on Friday 25 July and the production of a commemorative booklet.

Experience Britomart: be there, be moved.

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