Competitors visiting ‘helps the city’

Cousins and Kirakau Weavers and Knitters team-mates (from left) Marina Nola, of Auckland, Wendy...
Cousins and Kirakau Weavers and Knitters team-mates (from left) Marina Nola, of Auckland, Wendy Gilchrist, of Queenstown, Dion Walker, of Orewa, Kelli Walker, of Orewa, and Julie Gilchrist, of Queenstown, celebrate competing in the Top Team event at the Masters Games. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
The New Zealand Masters Games’ return to Dunedin has been a boost in more ways than one.

About 4000 competitors flocked to the city for the Games, including 63% from outside of Dunedin — the largest pool for the Dunedin edition — this past week.

Games manager Vicki Kestila was thrilled with how many people travelled for the games, especially after the cancellation of the games four years ago due to Covid traffic light settings.

"That’s what helps the city isn’t it?" Ms Kestila said.

"It’s that economic impact."

Masters Games Dunedin chairman John Brimble received plenty of praise from athletes, including international competitors, who appreciated the facilities for a city of Dunedin’s size.

"Going around all the venues over the week, the fact that people were staying at the venues, supporting them, having their meals there ... that’s been a boost for our venues and our clubs when they really needed it," Mr Brimble said.

It had been a full-on week for Ms Kestila hosting the games, but she loved returning to the University Union as the Games hub and seeing everyone enjoying themselves again.

"It’s just all the people, all the stories," Ms Kestila said.

"It’s gone really, really quickly.

"We’ve just been really happy."

Athletes had enjoyed themselves across more than 60 sports and it had been a "treat" to host former international athletes, including Beatrice Faumuina, who broke a national masters record in the discus.

New sports jigsaw puzzle racing and pickleball had also proved popular, she said.

"We had very professional serious jigsawers and ones that were just there to have a great time."

About 80 volunteers did an "exceptional" job supporting the games and Ms Kestila was proud of the event her six-person team created.

"I just think for having such a small team, I think we’ve done a pretty amazing job.

"It’s an all-new team, they’ve just picked it up and ran with it."

The Masters Games finished with the closing ceremony last night.