Let’s get ready for big events com­ing to our city in the com­ing year

Whangarei Report - - OPINION - By Whangarei Mayor SH­ERYL MAI

On Novem­ber 15, I had great cause for cel­e­bra­tion. For one, it was my birthday and my wed­ding an­niver­sary, and two, we re­ceived the fan­tas­tic news about New Zealand’s win­ning bid to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2021.

What a thrilling out­come to be a host city along­side Auck­land. Whanga¯ rei will host 11 of the World Cup games in the tour­na­ment. We’re al­ready in the plan­ning stages to en­sure we’ll be World Cupready when the time comes, and with a pos­si­bil­ity of this event bring­ing around $6.4 mil­lion to our lo­cal econ­omy along with many vol­un­teer and job op­por­tu­ni­ties, this is ex­cit­ing news in­deed.

We’ve also just heard that the War­riors will be hold­ing their sec­ond NRL warm-up match here in March next year, so we can safely say Whanga¯rei’s sport­ing and event fa­cil­i­ties are at an in­ter­na­tional level.

The War­riors have a huge fan base here in North­land, we can be sure that the first week­end of March will be a busy one for Whanga¯ rei. You might want to make sure you’ve got your ac­com­mo­da­tion booked if you’re com­ing in from out of town. We might even have a few Tigers sup­port­ers cross­ing the ditch. Let’s make sure we show them a good Kiwi man­aak­i­tanga when they get here.

Aside from all the sport­ing news, we’re also gear­ing up for our End­less Sum­mer Fes­ti­val, with more than 100 events planned be­tween Jan­uary and March 2019. The fes­ti­val is world fa­mous in North­land, and has some­thing for all tastes — from in­cred­i­bly tal­ented mu­si­cians, jaw-drop­ping per­for­mance artists, art in­stal­la­tions, sports com­pe­ti­tions, lo­cal craft and ar­ti­san foods at a va­ri­ety of mar­kets, cul­tural events and, of course, the many din­ing op­tions Whanga¯ rei has to of­fer. The Fes­ti­val is a show­case of all that’s vi­brant and ex­cit­ing in our Dis­trict, with many of the events free and fam­ily-friendly, be sure to catch as many as pos­si­ble.

As a fi­nal note, the piles for the Hun­dert­wasser Wairau Maori Art Cen­tre are in, the construction site is trans­form­ing into a more vis­i­ble above­ground op­er­a­tion. We now have an enor­mous tower crane on site. Com­ple­tion is planned to­wards the end of 2020, just some­thing else to look for­ward to – and what per­fect tim­ing with the Women’s Rugby World Cup fix­tures in 2021.

Big things are com­ing Whanga¯rei, bring on the sum­mer fun!

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