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Search begins for five Kiwi torchbearers

27 May 2005

Search begins for five Kiwi torchbearers

Twenty tonnes of snow will be dumped in Auckland’s Viaduct Basin this Saturday (28 May) to mark the launch of a nationwide search to find five kiwi torchbearers to fly to Italy and take part in the Winter Olympic Torch Relay.

The torch relay is being held in December and January as part of the build up to the Olympic Winter Games – Torino 2006.

Five New Zealanders who embody the Olympic ideals of peace, solidarity, fraternity, courage and participation will be chosen to carry torches in the relay.

The search for the kiwi torchbearers is being led by Samsung Winter Olympic ambassador Simon Wi Rutene*, Olympian and undefeated New Zealand ski champion. He is urging the public to nominate those who unite communities in sport, education and culture.

“This is our chance to recognise the unsung heroes in our communities. I’ll be looking for tenacious, hard-working individuals who prove that one person can make a difference. I also want to see nominations from those who actively seek out life's experiences, adventures and challenges large or small.

“The Olympic flame is an enduring symbol of the Olympic ideals and is the perfect way to arouse excitement and interest in the Winter Games,” he said.

Simon said he felt privileged to be involved in the activity which would put the spotlight on the best of New Zealand.

Samsung spokesperson Gemma Lemieux said Samsung was committed to creating an international celebration around the Olympic Winter Games in Torino and is giving 1500 people worldwide the opportunity to participate in the relay including 5 New Zealanders and 8 Australians.

“The Olympic Torch Relay provides an opportunity to focus on the people who build bridges in our community, those who emphasise what makes us alike, not what sets us apart,” she said.

Samsung and the New Zealand Olympic Committee will be working together over the next six weeks to promote the nomination process with the support of winter athletes

including the curling team, bobsledders and skeleton racers.

The five torchbearers will get an all expenses paid trip to Italy to participate in the relay which will cross through all provinces of Italy covering approximately 11,300kmm and involving 10,000 torchbearers. The relay begins in Rome on the 8 December 2005, arriving in Torino for the start of the Olympic Winter Games on 10 February 2006.

Samsung will bring the Olympic spirit to the Viaduct on Saturday (28 May) with a snow slide (4 metres high by 25 metres long), ice sculpting. Winter athletes will be on site to talk about their sports and encourage nominations for the torch relay.

Entertainment will be provided by Ben Lummis, the NZ Idol winner and Celebration Italia, featuring celebrated piano accordionist Silvio de Par.

To place a nomination for the Olympic Torch Relay, go to . Enter the nominees’ details and 100 words on why they should be chosen to represent New Zealand in the Olympic Torch Relay.

Nominations close on July 10.


Notes to Editor

*Simon Wi Rutene

Simon represented New Zealand in Alpine Ski Racing at four Winter Olympic Games from 1986-1995 and reigned for a decade as the undefeated New Zealand National Ski Champion. He has a wealth of experience and knowledge about competing successfully at an international level.

Simon is a National Alpine Technical Delegate certified by Ski Racing New Zealand and is sitting an exam this weekend to become an FIS International Alpine Technical Delegate, the highest official level in Alpine Skiing.

Simon is company director of his family’s education firm Hana Ltd. In addition, he works as an athlete career and education consultant for the New Zealand Academy of Sport.


Samsung Electronics is one of the world’s second largest producers of mobile phone handsets. It employs 88,000 people in 89 offices across 46 countries. Since 1997, Samsung has been The Olympic Partner (TOP) in the Wireless Communications Equipment category.

Samsung was a partner of the first ever global Olympic Torch Relay for Athens 2004 and is continuing its official sponsorship of the Relay at Torino 2006.

New Zealand Olympic Committee

The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) is an autonomous organisation, whose aim is to develop and protect the Olympic Movement in its country in accordance with the Olympic Charter. NZOC's role is to promote Olympism within the framework of sport, through education and development programmes and through the celebration of the Olympic Games with the aim of creating a better and more peaceful world.

The NZOC will select, organise and lead the team to the Olympic Winter Games in Turin next February

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