North Shore City Celebrates Returning Olympians
North Shore City Celebrates Returning Olympians in Motorcade and Civic Ceremony
Thousands Line City Streets, Town Centres and District Schools to Congratulate New Zealand’s Athletic Heroes
September 5, 2008
Today North Shore City Council hosted a citywide celebration of returning New Zealand Olympians – a quarter of whom come from North Shore City – with a long and festive motorcade that lasted nearly four hours.
Large crowds turned out to welcome home the athletes, coaches and managers, all waving flags and cheering enthusiastically in support of their local heroes.
The Olympians took part in a convoy around the North Shore, regarded by many as the Sporting Capital of New Zealand, which left Devonport Primary School at 12:00 and culminated in a civic ceremony at the North Shore City Council at 3:20.
Hundreds gathered outside the Council’s head offices in Takapuna where Mayor Andrew Williams gave a speech in honour of the athletes and their achievements.
Boardsailing gold medallist Tom Ashley also spoke to the crowd and got a rousing response along with North Shore resident Mike Stanley, who spoke as a member of the New Zealand Olympic Committee. Mr Stanley was also a media commentator at the games alongside other high profile North Shore residents, Peter Montgomery and Martin Tasker.
“Our athletes trained so hard for these Olympics, and they deserve this fantastic homecoming,” says Mayor Williams.
“North Shore residents have shown great support and pride for their City’s athletes, who had such a superb showing at the Beijing Olympic Games.”
The motorcade passed by many North Shore schools and through town centres including Devonport, Forrest Hill, Mairangi Bay, Browns Bay, Albany, Glenfield, Birkenhead, Northcote and Milford, finishing in Takapuna.
It stopped briefly at Devonport Primary, Westlake Boys High School, Northcross Intermediate, Pinehill School, Albany School, Manuka Primary, Birkdale Primary and Northcote Intermediate.
At Tom Ashley’s old school, Westlake Boys High School, a haka was performed by part of the student body to honour him and the other athletes.
The New Zealand swimming team, based at North Shore’s Millennium Centre, was well represented by coach Jan Cameron and Corney Swanepoel. Other athletes represented hockey, badminton, soccer and yachting.
“We were extremely pleased with the turnout, especially in places such as Devonport and Birkenhead, says Mayor Williams.
“The haka performed by the boys at Westlake was first-rate, and the reception the athletes received at all the schools was absolutely extraordinary.”
The NZ Police and North Shore City traffic control personnel provided invaluable assistance to ensure the convoy flowed smoothly and on time.