On a warm New Zealand summer’s evening in North Hagley Park, Christchurch thumped out the good vibes. It was party time and Christchurch was ready to welcome the world with a family affair for all the cricketing nations.
As the first host city of ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, Christchurch turned on an evening and a party to remember – the first time there’s ever been a Cricket World Cup party of this scale – showing the world that this is a city looking to the future.
With picnics and pizzas, a crowd of 60 - 70,000 multi-generational families, locals and VIPs, players and supporters wearing the colours of their favourite teams mingled on beautiful North Hagley Park – a graceful English-style park that sits fair and square in the heart of Christchurch. They came in their droves filling the park to enjoy the beautiful summer evening and party atmosphere and welcome the tournament with a resounding – Kiwi-style ‘kia ora’.
The free opening event was a celebration of New Zealand’s culture and passion for cricket with games of ‘big backyard cricket’ – a Kiwi summer tradition – for the kids, appearances by New Zealand cricket heroes Sir Richard Hadlee, Stephen Fleming and Brendon McCullum, and visiting team captains from South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
But the highlight of the big night was a haunting Maori ‘karanga’ calling out to the nations with a spectacular light and music show acknowledging the Christchurch story through contemporary Maori music and dance. The show featured top Kiwi music acts – Hayley Westernra, Sol3Mio and Ginny Blackmore – and a massive fireworks display. There was even a little bit of Bollywood, Irish dancing, the pipes of Scotland, and traditional Sri Lankan dancers.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said it was “a magical night for Christchurch and New Zealand. This is a special way of showing the world that Christchurch is back in business.”
He wished the teams and supporters from all over the world “the very best of luck … but for one team, a little more luck to Brendon McCullum and the BLACK CAPS – go well boys!”
With the launch completed, festivities will follow the tournament into some of New Zealand’s most beautiful regions.
About the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia, with 49 matches to be played between 14 February and 29 March. There are seven host cities in New Zealand: Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin.
ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be hosted by Australia and New Zealand
14 teams: Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, West Indies and Zimbabwe
14 Host Cities: Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Canberra, Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Hobart, Napier, Nelson, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Wellington
42 pool matches – three in each host city
Every visiting team plays in both countries