Walking around town on Sunday morning we encountered an event which was under way for the Masters Games. As we made our way towards Kowhai Park we were passed by several competitors participating in a long distance running event.
It was a stunning and beautiful day and hot too, meaning that it was not the best condition for those required to run round the bridges multiple times. What struck me was the number of competitors taking part and those of them who said "hello" to us and smiled as they ran by. If it were me, noting that I am about as fit and mobile as a tree right now, I'm not sure that I could utter a grunt let alone a 'how are you doing?'
After rounding the bridges ourselves we came to the finish line down by the river and saw many satisfied runners and the camaraderie of competition.
But most of all we saw why the Masters Games is such an important event for our city.
Not only does it bring visitors here and boost the economy over the period that the "Games are open" but it showcases the town and its people. And we need to recognise that this is not only for the competitors themselves but also for their supporters.
In terms of local participation, I had many friends who took part this time and they had nothing but good things to say and, although I was not a competitor (for reasons stated earlier) the vibe around the event has made me consider entering next time.
Another aspect of the games which always impresses is the games village and the way in which the event builds relationships through entertainment and involvement around the events. At a time when the city is, again, in the national press for less than perfect reasons, events like the Masters Games give us the chance to show the positives of what many call "living in paradise".
So, it's a shame that the national media chose not to give the event more coverage - particularly since the World Masters Games has been awarded to Auckland (and a great percentage of the intellectual property and skills behind running the games resides here).
It really is impressive to see how the games are planned, created and then delivered - even from the outside - and also the work and effort which is put in by volunteers to make things happen. Special mention to the stewards who were on the town bridge (Durie Hill side) whose friendliness embodied what appeared to be a very positive event.
I think we can take for granted at times the mammoth amount of work which goes into producing an event of this scale. For business, and events like this, project management is both a skill and an art form undertaken by many but mastered by few. So congratulations to the team that made the Masters Games possible and I am looking forward to potentially being a part of the next one.
Zenith Solutions is a Wanganui-based management consulting practice. It specialises in providing strategic planning, business process improvement and financial management services. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 021-244-2421.