The International QBR Journey Ends In New Zealand
After a 288-day international journey, the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Baton has been passed from New Zealand to Australia in a cultural ceremony in the Maori Court at the Auckland Museum.
In a traditional ceremony to farewell and handover the Queen’s Baton, the Ngati Whatua elders of Auckland passed the Queen’s Baton to representatives of the Yugambeh Language Group of the Gold Coast.
Since commencing from Buckingham Palace on 13 March 2017, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) has inspired thousands of people in all six inhabited continents of the world.
Through Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania the Queen’s Baton has showcased the diverse, yet united Commonwealth community, a community which comprises a third of the world’s population.
Uncle John Graham, representing the Yugambeh Language Group was accompanied at the handover by Yugambeh performers who replied to the Maori farewell. As Traditional Custodians of the land on which the majority of the GC2018 will be held, they further extended the invitation to celebrate the Games.
“We look forward to welcoming people from all over the Commonwealth to Yugambeh Language Group land. These Games will afford a celebration of sport in tandem with a celebration of the wonderfully diverse cultures within our Commonwealth.”
The ceremony in Auckland marked the successful completion of the QBR international journey and signaled the imminent arrival of the Queen’s Baton onto Australian soil.
While in New Zealand the Queen’s Baton also travelled to Queenstown and Christchurch.
The Queen’s Baton was welcomed into Queenstown with a terrifying drop on the Nevis Swing and took in the south island scenery with a spectacular view from the top of Cecil Peak.
Arriving by helicopter, former All Black captain Richie McCaw and his wife, Commonwealth Games hockey player Gemma McCaw, took the spirit of GC2018 to the families affected by last year’s earthquake in Kaikoura.
In Christchurch, the Queen’s Baton visited the site of the 1974 Commonwealth Games with Dick Taylor, who inspired the nation with his historic win on the opening day of competition by winning the 10,000m.
A number of elite swimmers, divers and gymnasts received an early Christmas surprise with the announcement of their selection for GC2018 in Auckland, including New Zealand’s most successful Paralympian, swimmer Sophie Pascoe:
“It is amazing the Queen’s Baton has come to New Zealand as we are very fortunate to have so many amazing sporting superstars on their way to the Commonwealth Games next year.
“The Commonwealth Games hold something special to me because it is an integrated meet. I am able to travel and compete with New Zealand athletes, and to be recognised alongside my able body swimming counterparts, whom I train with, is an amazing feeling.”
Posing with adoring fans and mixing with the locals at New Zealand’s largest Polynesian-style markets, Dame Valerie Adams took the Queen’s Baton through the Otara Flea Markets in Auckland on its final day in New Zealand.
“It’s pretty awesome to carry the Queen’s Baton in my hood, where I was brought up in South Auckland and the reaction from the crowd at the markets is fantastic. Everyone was so involved today.
“It’s awesome to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay on its way to the Gold Coast. The Games will be great, not only for Australians but for New Zealanders as well.”
The Baton touched down into Brisbane International Airport at 7:15am AEST, on Sunday 24 December 2017, before commencing it’s 100-day journey around Australia.