12 February 2015
Hamilton will have a distinct African feel this weekend as the city makes an early entry into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.
Mayor Julie Hardaker says a range of African-themed events and initiatives across the city feature in the “On Safari” weekend, which will be one of the busiest the city has seen in recent years, and includes the South Africa versus Zimbabwe One Day International at Seddon Park – Hamilton’s first match in cricket’s showpiece tournament.
On Friday (13 February) the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival opens with a performance by the Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir. The group - whose material blend traditional African music, reggae and Negro spirituals – is one of the festival’s headline acts, and their performance will include compositions which honour former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Hamilton Gardens also hosts a team welcome for the Zimbabwe side at 10am on Saturday morning (14 February), and that is followed by an opportunity for the team’s fans to get autographs and pictures with the players.
Hamilton Zoo – home to a number of African animal exhibits - is adding to the African theme, offering a 50 per cent discount on entry for patrons with an ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 ticket, and added keeper talks.
In time for the On Safari weekend, and running throughout ICC Cricket World Cup, is Waikato Museum’s The Perfect Pitch exhibition. Housed in the Barry Hopkins Gallery, the exhibition looks at the history of cricket in the Waikato and Hamilton, with memorabilia and silverware on display. The exhibition also looks at how the Seddon Park Turf Team prepares pitches for matches held at the ground. The exhibition is free.
The South Africa vs Zimbabwe match is the culmination of the African weekend, with the match kicking off at 2pm. Spectators heading to the game from the CBD can find their way to the stadium along the Fan Trail, which will be marked with cricket-themed footpath decals and feature entertainment along the way.
Council has also worked with Waikato Regional Council to get people safely to and from all three ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 cricket matches at Seddon Park. Buses stop and depart from the Transport Centre, located just a few minutes’ walk from Seddon Park. Additional buses will be running to help get fans home after the match. Visit www.busit.co.nz for details.
“Fans who love cricket and culture have plenty to see and do during what will be a particularly busy weekend for Hamilton. It’s been very exciting to see the preparations in the city for the tournament over the last few months, and now it’s game day. There will be plenty of visitors in town and our On Safari weekend provides them and Hamiltonians with some great options,” Mayor Hardaker says.
Hamilton Waikato Tourism Chief Executive Kiri Goulter says the tournament is a huge boost for the city and the region.
“Sport tourism is a key influencer of international and domestic visitation, providing compelling reasons to visit and contributing valuable visitor expenditure to our local communities.
“With a global broadcast reach of 2.2 billion people across 200 countries, the profile Hamilton and the wider region will receive will be fantastic and we look forward to welcoming all teams, officials, media, travel trade and local, national and international match-goers to our city and region.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Name: Jeff Neems
Designation: Communication Advisor
Tel (Direct): 07 838 6509
Mobile: 021 818 564