Tauranga’s Peter Burling will be co-CEO of the New Zealand SailGP team as the event heads to New Zealand throughout 2023-2026.
SailGP and New Zealand Major Events have secured a four-year deal to bring the world class racing event to Christchurch and Auckland, starting with season three next year.
The first New Zealand Sail Grand Prix will take place in Christchurch in 2023, before alternating between Auckland and Christchurch in subsequent seasons.
The exciting announcement comes after the inaugural event scheduled for January 2022 in Christchurch was forced to be cancelled due to Covid-19.
It will be the first time the New Zealand SailGP Team have competed on home waters, headed up by Olympic stars Burling and Blair Tuke.
Former Tauranga Boys’ College student Burling will co-CEO the team with Tuke.
“There’s been a huge amount of hard work that’s gone on behind the scenes to bring SailGP to Aotearoa so we’re incredibly excited to get the opportunity to race on home waters,” says Burling.
“We’ve always had fantastic support from Kiwi fans, so bringing this exciting format of racing to both Christchurch and Auckland will be awesome.”
The New Zealand SailGP Team also supports the charity Live Ocean, the marine conservation organisation founded by Burling and Tuke, which is also of major significance to the pair.
“The team has really enjoyed stepping up as ocean champions as we’ve travelled around the world for SailGP Season 2,” says Tuke.
“These events at home in Aotearoa will be a fantastic opportunity to share the important message of ocean restoration and protection with Kiwis.”
SailGP commercial director and head of event Karl Budge says the development has been “fantastic” to work on and is hoping to establish a long-term partnership between SailGP and New Zealand.
“New Zealand is a key market for SailGP and the New Zealand SailGP Team boasts some of the best athletes in the world,” says Budge.
“This long-term commitment across different cities gives us a fantastic platform to engage with a wide number of New Zealanders and showcase exciting, inner-harbour racing.”
Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash says he is delighted to confirm an investment offer from the MBIE Major Events Fund:
“The race series will bring significant economic benefits for New Zealand, and opportunities to celebrate our unique culture on the global stage,” says Nash.
“The stunning Whakaraupo Lyttelton Harbour in Ōtautahi Christchurch and the Hauraki Gulf in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland will allow us to showcase the racing up-close, and the events are also a brilliant opportunity to support our tourism industry.
“SailGP has a strong environmental focus and its emphasis on diversity and inclusivity through its Women's Pathway Program align strongly with Government priorities. We now look forward to working with organisers to finalise the contractual arrangements to bring these events to life.”
New Zealand, helmed by Burling, are currently fifth in the SailGP Season Two Championship standings which continues with the Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney on December 17 and 18.
The season will conclude March 26 and 27 with the SailGP Grand Final in San Francisco.
All the Season Three action will be available live on sky Sport in New Zealand.
SailGP Season 3 Schedule/2023*
May 14-15 Bermuda SailGP presented by Hamilton Princess
June 18-19 United States Sail Grand Prix | Chicago at Navy Pier
July 30-31 Great Britain Sail Grand Prix | Plymouth
August 19-20 ROCKWOOL Denmark SailGP | Copenhagen
September 10-11 France Sail Grand Prix | Saint-Tropez
September 24-25 Spain Sail Grand Prix | Andalucía - Cádiz
November 11-12 Dubai Sail Grand Prix presented by P&O Marinas | Dubai
2023 New Zealand Sail Grand Prix | Christchurch
*Further events will be announced to complete Season 3, which will conclude April 2023.