A report into Christchurch’s recent success with the first New Zealand SailGP event shows benefit went far beyond economic success with local activations, business and learning opportunities as well as long-lasting community benefit.
A recent report from the sailing body found the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix delivered much more for Christchurch than just economic success.
In the detailed report outlining the activity across the week before the penultimate stage of the global sailing circuit in Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour, over 650 youth were engaged in various Inspire programs, including racing, learning and internship modules as well as hundreds of aspiring athletes, individuals and business leaders attending forums and community events designed to inspire pathways and careers in the sport.
ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Destination & Attraction - Loren Heaphy.
ChristchurchNZ developed some really robust objectives, alongside NZ Major Events and SailGP, to deliver on various leverage and legacy projects including community outreach, destination promotion and Aotearoa cultural promotion and inclusion,”
“ChristchurchNZ developed some really robust objectives, alongside NZ Major Events and SailGP, to deliver on various leverage and legacy projects including community outreach, destination promotion and Aotearoa cultural promotion and inclusion,” says ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Destination & Attraction Loren Heaphy.
“Alongside the broadcast and branding opportunities to reintroduce Ōtautahi Christchurch to the world, SailGP also provided a vehicle to inspire the next generation of athletes, students and businesses into career and business pathways with sailing. A standout was the sell-out Breaking Boundaries event, led by Women Who Sail NZ, with the 160 attendees hearing first-hand experiences from the likes of our own Liv Mackay, and the UK’s Hannah Mills, talking on the challenges for women in high-performance sport and the future of gender equity in sailing,” says Heaphy.
188 students from seven primary schools also participated in Inspire Learning with STEM and climate educational programs as well as SailGP tech site tours. An additional 262 local sailing club members participated in an Adopt-a- Club programme where clubs were matched with each team for a meet and greets and environmental focused activities.
Critical to the event’s success was Christchurch City Council bringing forward part of its long-term project to transform and regenerate Naval Point - Te Nukutai o Tapoa. Completed in time for the event, the first stage of the redevelopment included a new shared pathway between Lyttelton township and Naval Point, beautification works, improved drainage and haul out water treatment, new car parking and a floating dock being put to significant use.
The new facilities have caught the attention of Sailability, a charitable organisation that provides people with disabilities with the opportunity to sail in safety and build mobility, self-confidence, and pride. “Sailability have spent 10 years trying to get into Christchurch, and the recent redevelopments of Te Ana Marina and Naval Point have drastically improved the accessibility,” says Yachting NZ’s Regional Development Manager Wayne Holdt.
“Sailability works with a wide range of differently abled tamariki and the new amenities like parking and the pontoon mean it will be welcoming for all people to join the growing sailing community. We are now looking to grow our local cohort of keen sailors and are on the hunt for volunteers and drivers for the local Sailability program. Ultimately, the harbour works leave Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbour with an enduring asset and significantly improved facilities for yachting and broader public use,” says Holdt.
Finally, by way of improving public participation and accessibility of the Lyttelton event, ChristchurchNZ developed the free ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix live site powered by Enable to spread the excitement of SailGP beyond the Race Village into the heart of the city, and successfully welcomed more than 4500 fans across the weekend.
The weekend kicked off with an athlete signing session on Friday 17 March, followed by big screen viewing and other entertainment on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March. The live site represented a space for those who missed out on tickets to the sold-out event to experience the excitement of SailGP with friends and family and served as the transportation hub for SailGP ticket holders to safely queue and board official event shuttles, of which approximately 69% of attendees utilised.
With nearly 10,000 unique event attendees enjoying the live event in Lyttelton, and thousands more engaging in the community focused events, ChristchurchNZ’s major events strategy looks to attract more world class international sporting events to Ōtautahi.