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Central Otago and Southern Lakes schools weigh in with support

  • July 20, 2015

Audi quattro Winter Games NZ is spearheading a diverse programme aimed at involving school students in this year’s event, being staged in Queenstown, Wanaka and Naseby, and there has been widespread take up from almost 20 schools in the region.

Mount Aspiring College students perform at the 2013 closing ceremony in Wanaka (credit Getty Images).

Schools Project Manager Jo Guest said there has been an excellent response across the board following on from a successful school engagement programme during the 2013 Games.

“The concept is to involve schools and students through our snow sports and curling events, activities, entertainment and competitions. By developing local school involvement we feel we can create even greater community spirit during the Games.”

Initiatives include a poster competition with the winning entry to feature as part of Winter Games NZ promotional material.

“We want young artists in the participating schools in Central Otago and Southern Lakes to provide colourful and imaginative work capturing their interpretation of the Games,” said Guest.

Top international and Kiwi athletes will visit schools to provide an insight into their careers and there will be an opportunity for school children to speak personally to athletes and collect autographs and other memorabilia.

“After meeting the athletes we hope that students and their parents will be encouraged to visit the different venues and watch their heroes in action. It certainly makes it more exciting if they have met the athletes first hand.”

There are openings for senior school pupils to take part in work experience during Audi quattro Winter Games NZ 2015 while tertiary students are being offered internships.

“Already we have an intern from Switzerland who is here specifically to gain experience with the Games and we have others registered from the North Island and Otago University,” said Guest. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of a major sporting event and event team.”

School students can also participate in ceremonies throughout the Games, including taking on roles as flag bearers for the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony at Coronet Peak, or assisting with medal ceremonies at the Games Villages in Queenstown and Wanaka.

Young skiers in the region are being urged to enter the Junior Interfield ski race at The Remarkables on 23 August. Winter Games NZ is supporting Snow Sports NZ and the Queenstown Alpine Ski Team who are running the event as part of a national junior series.

“The races are for first-timers as well as experienced ski racers from the ages of six to 16,” said Guest. “It’s very much a friendly competition which will be followed by an official awards ceremony downtown at the Queenstown Games Village, using the same stage as Winter Games NZ medallists.”

She said school bands are being encouraged to put their names forward to be part of the entertainment at the Village in Queenstown for the Interfield awards ceremony.  “There is a lot of talent out there and it is a great opportunity for young musicians to showcase their skills.”

The Audi quattro Winter Games NZ are New Zealand’s biggest recurring sports event. The fourth biennial Games take place from 21 to 30 August in Queenstown, Lake Wanaka and Naseby. All sports and festival events are free to watch for spectators (ski pass required to access lifts) and will be broadcast free-to-air on TV3 with live streaming on the Games website.