New Zealand secondary schools track and field championships organising committee chairman Andrew Finn inspects the Caledonian Ground yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
It will be a Dunedin experience for the 1364 pupils competing
at the New Zealand secondary schools track and field
championships at the weekend.
The organising committee has broadened the scope of the 40th
annual championships and has given visiting athletes the
chance to experience the delights of the city.
The championships was first held at Christchurch in 1973 and
it will be the fourth time it has been held in Dunedin. It
was also held in 1985, 1991 amd 1991.
''We see it as an opportunity to promote the city, and
especially the tertiary institutions,'' the chairman of the
organising committee Andrew Finn told the Otago Daily
''One of the aims was to give athletes an experience of life
in a hall of residence."
There are 590 athletes and 30 officials booked in the
University of Otago halls of residence.
The University of Otago is holding seminars to showcase the
university to the visiting athletes and one of the most
popular is the tour of the School of Physical Education.
The University and the Otago Polytechnic are providing
material to go into the athletes' packs.
Tours have been arranged for athletes to look at the Forsyth
Barr Stadium, the university's recreational facilities at
Unipol and Cadbury's.
''There are athletes who have never been to Dunedin before
and some may not have been to the South Island,'' Finn said.
''We want to give them a memorable experience of the city in
the brief time they are in Dunedin.
''It is an opportunity for us to help promote tertiary
education in Dunedin to the athletes."
The University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic will have
display tents at the Caledonian Ground during the weekend.
Over the last 18 months Dunedin has hosted the three major
participation events on the New Zealand athletics calendar -
Colgate Games, New Zealand athletics championships and the
New Zealand secondary schools championships.
Finn has been chairman of the organising committee for all
The organising committee has used all the modern forms of
media to promote their event using emails, secondary school
and Athletic New Zealand contacts.
''We have a Face Book page and have promoted the event at
other national secondary schools events,'' Finn said.
''We could have run an athletics meeting very easily. But the
add-ons have created challenges that will benefit the sport
and the city."
Planning for the event started a year ago with a debrief
following the championships at Wellington.
A total of 180 officials and volunteers will be in action at
the Caledonian Ground.
Forty officials are coming from outside Otago to officiate.
''Over 1800 volunteers' hours will be needed on Saturdayand
another 1500 hours on Sunday,'' Finn said.
The 1364 athletes from 205 schools will contest 2259 events
over the weekend.
Auckland Grammar School has the most athletes competing, with
55, followed by Wanganui Collegiate 41, Westlake Boys' High
School 39, King's High School 33, Otago Girls' High School
27, Wellington College 27, Christchurch Boys' High School 23
and St Bede's College 23.
At a glance
NZ Secondary Schools Champs Dates: December 7-9.
Venue: Caledonian Ground. Athletes: 1364 from 205
schools. Officials/volunteers: 180.
Most athletes: Auckland Grammar 55.
First held: 1973, Christchurch.