World class event in Invercargill
The International Golden Shears World Shearing and Wool Handling Championships took place last weekend.
During the three days, I, along with many others, witnessed the determination, guts and skill of all competitors who came from around the world.
It was truly a phenomenal event that showcased our exceptional ILT Stadium Southland as a world-class facility and our friendly Southland hospitality.
The Government is committed to supporting the strengths of Southland and that's why the Government invested more than $260,000 in this $380,000 event to make sure it got across the line.
The Major Events Development Fund aims to attract, retain and grow major international events.
The fund has a focus on developing events and bringing them to the regions.
The Government annually dedicates more than $10 million to the fund.
Events held generate significant immediate and long-term benefits and this was the case in Invercargill during this very iconic event.
Participants and spectators from more than 32 countries travelled to Invercargill to attend.
An extra tier of seating was even needed to accommodate the crowds of more than 4000 people.
Events like these are a significant boost to regional economies.
During the weekend, hotels across the city were fully booked and restaurants and shops were booming.
The massive influx of visitors and businesses into the city is something we should all celebrate.
The Golden Shears put Invercargill on the map and the city outdid itself.
The city proved it has the necessary infrastructure and capability to host major international events.
The ILT Stadium Southland looked fantastic – one of the tidiest woolsheds in the world and was heralded by competitors as the best venue to date.
The Stadium showcased its versatility – a facility that is a flagship of Southland.
Moreover, it showed that Southlanders will actively support large and diverse initiatives with tickets sold-out and through lively and energetic participation as a crowd.
So I am so pleased that the Government could support Southland in attracting this event and I encourage Invercargill to host more.
I would like to congratulate all those that competed in this challenging and gruelling competition.
I would also like to specially congratulate those that travelled long and far to be involved with the event.
This includes our great sporting rival South Africa, who walked away with two blade shearing titles.
I would also especially like to congratulate the incredible New Zealand team.
New Zealand had a quadruple success with winning the individual and teams titles in machine shearing and wool handling.
And how proud we all are with our local boy, Nathan Stratford, who was named third best machine shearer in the world.
I would be remiss not to mention our Prime Minister RT Hon Bill English, from Dipton, who beat five-time world shearing champ Sir David Fagan – though the PM thinks Fagan allowed him to win!
Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to thank all those involved with organising and running such a wonderful event.
Thank you to the Invercargill City Council, Invercargill Licensing Trust, Venture Southland and the Community Trust of Southland for getting behind the event.
I would also like to thank the countless volunteers that made the event possible and Nigel Skelt and his team that executed the set-up of the facilities seamlessly each day and night with military precision