Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman welcome the fifth Audi quattro Winter Games New Zealand, which officially opens tonight at Coronet Peak.
“Hosting the Winter Games in New Zealand is a great opportunity to showcase our country in terms of both winter tourism and international snow sports competitions,” says Mr Bridges.
“The last Winter Games in New Zealand in 2015 attracted around 2,000 international visitors including athletes, coaches, media and spectators.
“The Games include international competition in alpine skiing, freeskiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, freeride, curling, and ice hockey.
“This year’s Games runs from today to the 10th of September at locations in and around Queenstown, Wanaka and Naseby. They have gone from strength to strength since their inception in 2009, and there are now plans to make them an annual event.
“The Government has contributed $1.25 million towards the hosting of this year’s games through the Major Events Development Fund.”
“The Games are one of the world’s top five winter sports competitions and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere,” says Dr Coleman.
“This year’s Winter Games are a critical event for Kiwi athletes hoping to qualify for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“On top of the major events funding, the Government has also provided funding of $20,000 to Snow Sports NZ through Sport NZ to help deliver a Continental Cup event in the lead up to the Winter Games.
“The Continental Cup is a great opportunity for our winter athletes who are just shy of qualifying for the Winter Games to get across the line, while also taking advantage of the infrastructure put in place for the games.
“It’s also great for our Olympic hopefuls to include a home event of this stature in their preparation for PyeongChang, and for local fans have the opportunity to enjoy the sport.”
For further information on the Winter Games visit www.wintergamesnz.kiwi/