Auckland will come alive next week as more than 2000 America’s Cup sailors and entertainers take to the streets in the America’s Cup 2003 and Louis Vuitton Cup Welcome Parade on Saturday 28 September.
Crews representing the 10 America's Cup syndicates from Italy, Switzerland, Great Britain, Sweden, France, the United States and New Zealand will march down Queen Street towards the American Express Viaduct Harbour, accompanied by music, entertainers and marching bands.
The crews will then take their seats on Te Wero Island in the Amex Viaduct Harbour for the America's Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup Opening Ceremony featuring Dave Dobbyn, Annie Crummer, Hinewehi Mohi and the fifty-voice Auckland Pacific Gospel Choir.
Representatives of Ngati Whatua along with the Rt Hon. Helen Clark, Prime Minister and the Hon. John Banks, Mayor of Auckland, will welcome the teams to Auckland. Her Excellency the Governor General, the Honourable Dame Sylvia Cartwright, will formally open the America's Cup regatta.
A special video celebrating the life of Sir Peter Blake and his contribution to sailing and the America's Cup in New Zealand will be aired.
Both the parade and the opening ceremony are open to the public and organisers are encouraging the New Zealand public to take to the streets and welcome the syndicates to Auckland.
"The Welcome Parade and Opening Ceremony herald the start of New Zealand's second America's Cup regatta,"
said America's Cup 2003 Executive Director, Tony Thomas. "The America's Cup 2003 will be an incredible sporting event. We hope Aucklanders will head to Queen Street and the American Express Viaduct Harbour to show their support for all the teams and celebrate the start of the competition."