After a two-year hiatus, over 20,000 visitors are expected in Tauranga this week for the Zespri AIMS Games.
Supported by Tauranga City Council, the games are one of the largest sporting championships in the Southern Hemisphere, so large that not one, but two opening ceremonies will take place at Trustpower Baypark, both with 5,000 attendees.
So how do the games have an impact on our local community?
- In 2019 over 20,000 athletes and supporters came to Tauranga for the games, resulting in almost 75,000 visitor nights and $6.2 million spent in the city.
- Approximately 1,220 mentions a year of Zespri AIMS Games on social media and traditional media, raising the profile of Tauranga as a destination and encouraging visitors.
- Each year a Zespri AIMS Games Green Team, made-up of local intermediate school students, help educate and minimise waste to landfill. This resulted in 2,924.kg of waste collected at the 2019 games being composted or recycled.
- Our visiting rangatahi have amazing experiences, cementing Tauranga as a great place to visit, work or play.
Tournament Director Kelly Schischka says we should all check out the games, not only to support our rangatahi, but also to experience the festival-like atmosphere.
“The 10,000 plus young athletes from across New Zealand have been training for months for these games – their excitement is catching!
“There will be plenty of action on and off the sports field, from multiple chill out zones and activations through to an outdoor movie night and the Ultimate Athlete obstacle racing course. You might even spot an Olympian or two!”
Experiences that are open to the public during the week include:
- Multiple free chill out zones and activations at Blake Park, Gordon Spratt Reserve and Trustpower Baypark, 5 September – 9 September, 9am – 4pm.
- Ultimate Athlete Short Course with 12 obstacles (cost for participants). Coronation Park 6 – 7 September, 2pm – 8pm.
- Free outdoor screening of Space Jam, BYO bean bags, blankets and/or deck chair. Te Papa o Nga Manu Porotakataka, 6 September at 6pm.
- Free speed climbing wall, sponsored by TECT. Blake Park, Monday 5 September – Thursday 8 September, 10.30am – 1.30pm.
There’s a free park and ride service, provided by Tauranga City Council, that the local community can also use to get around the games. The service will run across five key sites, from Mount Maunganui to Papamoa and return. Keep an eye out for the handy park and ride flags at the stops at Mount Hot Pools, Blake Park, Baywave, Trustpower Baypark and Gordon Spratt Reserve.
Venues and Events Manager at Tauranga City Council Nelita Byrne says she can’t wait for the games to return this week, and she has been impressed by the level of collaboration across the city in the lead up to the event.
“Something special happens when local businesses and residents come together and get behind an event. It’s the manaakitanga and city pride that makes all the difference.”
Zespri AIMS Games takes place 3 – 9 September. For more information on the games, visit www.nzaimsgames.co.nz