‘Keep Playing’ The Message Of New Zealand Masters Games
Athletes of all ages and abilities will descend on Dunedin next week for the 2024 Otago Community Trust New Zealand Masters Games.
The 35th Games will take place from February 3-11 and will include an estimated four to five thousand competitors and supporters from around New Zealand, Australia and beyond.
NZMG Dunedin Chairman John Brimble says the annual event brings together a range of participants, from those competing seriously to those who’ve signed up for the comradery and social side of things.
“The tagline of the Games is Kori Tonu – or Keep Playing – which encapsulates what the Games stand for. They’re about encouraging people to keep active as they get older, and giving those who may have stopped playing sport, for whatever reason, the perfect opportunity to get back into it,” Mr Brimble says.
“Playing also refers to having fun on and off the field, which is a big part of why people come back to the Games year after year. Catching up with old friends and making new ones is all part of the experience.”
The New Zealand Masters Games is Aotearoa's largest annual multi-sport event. There are more than 60 sports on offer, including new events such as Pickleball, Jigsaw Racing and Cowboy Action Shooting. The sports are open to people of all abilities, and some selected sports also have para categories, such as Archery, Athletics – Track and Field, Petanque, Cornhole, Darts, Power Lifting, Indoor Rowing, Swimming and Indoor Triathlon.
“You don’t need to qualify to enter the Games,” says NZMG Manager Vicki Kestila. “You just have to be the right minimum age for your particular event and be keen to have a go. We have participants aged 18 to 96 and beyond. They’re a prime example that age really is just a number.”
The 2024 Games has three ambassadors – former Silver Fern Jodi Brown, former New Zealand cricketer Warren Lees and former Highlander Neil Brew – who will encourage participation and keep spirits high throughout the nine days.
There will also be a team of 80 volunteers helping ensure things run smoothly.
“We have a real mix of people who regularly volunteer for us at the Games Hub and out in the field,” says Mrs Kestila. “Without these fun and enthusiastic folk, who donate a combined 10,000 hours of their time, the event just couldn’t happen.”
Back by popular demand, the University Union will play host to the Games Hub, where participants can get together for activities and entertainment, including a full programme of live music each evening.
Auckland seven-piece cover band Halo will headline on the opening night (Saturday, February 3) and a line-up of talented Dunedin musicians will play throughout the Games, including Boaz, Alan Ned Gray, The Foxy Tones, BO And the Constrictors, The Mentalist Collective, Dubious Groove, Brendan Christie, Tahu and The Takahes, Ryan Shanks and Stark Raving. There will also be comedy and quiz evenings and an Emerson’s masterclass in distilling and brewing.
Every year, the New Zealand Masters Games selects a charity to partner with. The 2024
Otago Community Trust New Zealand Masters Games’ charity partner is Motor Neurone Disease NZ, which is a charitable trust dedicated to making time count for people living with MND, and funding research and clinical trials for a future without MND.
For more information about the 2024 New Zealand Masters Games, go to www.nzmg.com