After leaving Auckland this morning the Queen’s Baton was met in Queenstown by Her Excellency the Governor General.
The Baton and Dame Patsy Reddy made their way to Arrowtown Primary school, where hundreds of students performed a haka and waiata to welcome the congregation.
Above: Highlights from day one of the Queen's Baton visit
“It’s great to celebrate the Queen’s Baton and I can’t imagine a more beautiful setting to welcome it to New Zealand,” said Dame Patsy.
“I’m very pleased to be a Baton bearer and I wish it well on the rest of its journey around New Zealand ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.”
Above: Athlete Holly Robinson, Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne
Athletes Holly Robinson, Matt Randall and Donna Wilkins (nee Loffhagen) also accompanied the Baton to the school.
Robinson (javelin) said it was great to see a talented bunch of budding athletes.
“Meeting those kids was an absolute blast, they loved learning about the Baton and the Commonwealth Games and I think the visit will have inspired them to put everything into their sports.”
Above: Holly Robinson and Arrowtown Primary students
The children ran a relay with the Baton and athlete Donna Wilkins (netball, basketball) enjoyed the friendly race.
“It was great to see how receptive the kids were. It’s a sporty school and given how much they loved looking at my medals we may have some future Commonwealth Games athletes in this bunch!”
The Baton was then flown to Cecil Peak for a photo opportunity overlooking Queenstown before being taken on the Nevis swing by Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and Olympic track cyclist Matt Randall.
Above: Donna Wilkins with the Baton on Cecil Peak
The swing reaches speeds of 120kph in its 300m arc and left Randall worrying about his blood pressure.
“I was very, very nervous,” he said.
“I’m still shaking now but we got there!”
This evening the Baton is being hosted at a private function by the Governor General before travelling to Kaikoura tomorrow.
ABOUT THE QUEEN’S BATON RELAY IN NZ
The New Zealand arrival kicks off final leg of the baton's 230,000 kilometre voyage around the Commonwealth.
The Baton’s visit will connect current athletes including Sophie Pascoe, Dame Valerie Adams, Richie Patterson with Commonwealth greats such as Sir John Walker, Dick Taylor, Valerie Young and Precious McKenzie, as well as the New Zealand public and the youth of the wider Commonwealth.
The Queen’s Baton travels to Queenstown (18 December), Kaikoura (19 December), Christchurch (20 December), Auckland CBD (21 December), Auckland North Shore (22 December) and South Auckland (23 December).
New Zealanders can go to www.olympic.org.nz for more detail about public events.
Inside the Queen’s Baton is a ‘message to the Commonwealth and its athletes’.
This message will be opened at the Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games where and read by a representative of the Her Majesty the Queen.
The Queen’s Baton travels through all 70 countries and territories of the Commonwealth, it’s journey will promote sport and athletes, building more peaceful, sustainable and more prosperous communities globally.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is underpinned by the values of Humanity, Equality and Destiny and takes 13 March 2017 – 4 April 2018
About the Journey
- 70 countries visited
- Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Oceania
- 388 days
- 230,000 kilometres travelled
- 50% of the Commonwealth are aged 25 and under
- Ends 4 April 2018 at the Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast Games
About the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games:
It’s hoped around 250 athletes will represent New Zealand at Gold Coast 2018, making it our largest ever Commonwealth Games team.
New Zealand athletes are aiming to compete in 18 sports (including four para disciplines) with selection to take place from November 2017 – March 2018.
For the first-time women’s rugby sevens will be on the programme as well as beach volleyball, and basketball is back on the programme after a 12 year hiatus.
The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be the largest sporting event Australia will see this decade and the biggest sporting spectacle the Gold Coast has ever seen.
The games will be contested between April 4th – 15th 2018, with more than 6,600 athletes and team officials to take part.