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Group On Target For World Netball World Champs

Organisation on target for New World Netball World Championships

One month out from the opening ceremony of the 2007 New World Netball World Championships, and the icing is about to be spread on the cake.

Organisation of the eight-day, 16-nation tournament is well on target, despite the limited time afforded the Auckland event organisers since New Zealand was confirmed as the new hosts in December last year.

With ticket sales still strong and sponsors, partners and suppliers in place, the final touches to the championships at the Trusts Stadium in Waitakere are now being applied.

Jane Patterson, the general manager of the New World Netball World Championships, says much has been achieved in an intense nine-month time frame.

"Given our timeframe, we've focused on getting the basics right. Once that has been done, we're now able to add colour around it," she says.

"Operationally, things are going really, really well. We've been so fortunate to have access to the skills and expertise in Netball New Zealand. And we've also benefited from working with a stadium that is very familiar with netball - that has made a huge difference. It feels like we're right on target."

The finals and season packages are virtually sold out through official ticketing agent Ticketek. Round robin tickets have sold solidly, and there are still seats available - a one-day pass gives access to eight games for just $25.

The opening night, November 10, will feature the opening ceremony, live entertainment from celebrated New Zealand rock band, the feelers, and the first game of the championship - New Zealand's Silver Ferns versus the Malawi Queens.

A major act is till to be added to the impressive list of New Zealand musicians who will feature during the eight-day tournament, among them Spacifix and New Zealand Idol judge and long-time netball MC, Frankie Stevens.

Netball nations from around the globe will experience New Zealand hospitality during their stay at a number of special functions.

The IFNA world congress will be held in Auckland on November 8-9, with congress delegates hosted by the Auckland City Council and Waitakere City Council at the city's glittering Viaduct Harbour.

The candle lighting ceremony - a tradition at world netball championships - takes place on the evening before the opening day, followed by a cocktail function for netball dignitaries and sponsors hosted by the New Zealand Government, and then a dinner for 500 at the Aotea Centre celebrating the start of the international tournament.

Most teams are expected to arrive in Auckland in the first week of November - many arranging to play final warm-up matches with other countries before the tournament officially begins.

With a month to go, Jane Patterson does not yet have the luxury of sitting back and watching things fall into place - there is still much to do to ensure the 2007 world championships is a world-class event. But the foundations have now been laid.

"People ask me 'what were the challenges of organising this event in nine months?'" Patterson says.

"Normally you would say operational. But we've been able to call on the skills and expertise of Netball New Zealand, so we always knew we could do that.

"But the real challenge has been finding the revenue to run the event. Without New World's commitment at a naming rights level, we would have had further challenges in meeting the financial requirements of the event.

"It has been so good to work with a new brand for netball. New World has come into this with so many fresh ideas and a fresh new approach. It has allowed us to take the world championships nationwide."

Media campaigns promoting the event are now in full swing, and staff at the 131 New World supermarkets throughout New Zealand have embraced the world championships by wearing netball bibs while they work.

"New World's commitment has not only been financial, but they've worked with us to engage New Zealand, which is really important," Patterson says.


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