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Simon Gundry is a Devonport and North Shore identity, and character, who is known for calling a spade a spade. He is a director of contracting company Gill & Gundry, is an enthusiastic and active sailor (past crew-member of Ceramco New Zealand, Lion New Zealand and Shockwave) and is a life member of the North Shore Rugby Football Club.
I am writing the article this month from Lake Karapiro where I have been privileged to work at the coal face of the Rowing Regatta known as the Maadi Cup. So many of my readers will be very familiar with the sport of rowing but it’s all very new to me, and I have to say I have been hugely impressed with the degree of sporting discipline that the secondary school rowers display.
Having had a first-hand look at the competition on the water from the privileged position of driving the Umpire’s boat, it allows me to view the rowers, at times, from only a few metres away all the way down the 2000 metre course.
I am absolutely astounded by the degree of the volunteer base who handle the dozens of races per day with regimental precision. I am led to believe that this is the biggest Secondary Schools sporting event in the Southern Hemisphere.
So, now for my thoughts on big events – why the hell can’t we again hold the Commonwealth Games? The last time we held this was some 27 years ago, in the subsequent years we have held and organised two huge sporting events absolutely beautifully, the America’s Cup Regatta (Twice) in 2000, and in 2003; and the other was the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Why can’t we organise and run the Commonwealth Games with the existing facilities we have in our country already?
It could be known, not as the Auckland Commonwealth Games, but as the New Zealand Commonwealth Games.
For instance, the Weightlifting could be held in the Waitakere Stadium, the cycling at the Velodrome in Cambridge, swimming could be held at the AUT Millennium Centre or else there must be pools in other cities that are of the required size. Temporary grandstands can be erected at some of these venues to cope with spectators. The athletics could be held at the newly constructed downtown stadium (the Phil Goff Stadium) in Auckland as could be the field events. For the Gymnastics, we have the North Harbour Gymnastics Centre here, or I believe there is a Christchurch School of Gymnastics that could be utilised.
If we just think beyond the square I’m sure there are many facilities up and down the country that could be utilised for various sports. In spreading out over the country, then each region stands to benefit from the tourists and competitors that would spend a few days in their towns. There could be areas set aside for campervans, maybe billeting and the local motels, Air BNB’s and Bed and Breakfasts would all benefit. Added to this would be that competitors and spectators alike would experience the hospitality and friendliness of our smaller towns and cities and also get to see a bit of the country on their way around.
Let’s get the New Zealand Commonwealth Games before we leave the Commonwealth and become a Republic! With this in sight, it may have the benefit of spurring some of our Local and central Government into action, and fast track getting some of the much needed infrastructure in place.
Before I get back on the Umpire’s boat, what about Esmonde Road? The Watercare project that was supposed to be from September to December 2016 (and I see that sign has now disappeared) is still ongoing. There’s some signs of near completion, but it looks as if there is still a way to go.
I’m still keeping my bombshell close to my chest, because as you know I like to get my facts straight before I’ll unleash it. See you next month.
Channel Magazine: Issue 75 April 2017