I was in my penguin suit (no jokes please) last night for the Olympic Gala dinner at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland. This is a major fund-raising dinner for the NZ Olympic team. I was a guest of ANZ Bank, who kindly invited me.
The night was an excellent one. We got to see the NZ team uniforms launched, John Hawkesby was the genial MC for the night, and there was great music, food and drink.
I did suffer somewhat from a sense of inadequacy. I was seated between two Sarahs (very much a case of the thorn between two roses). One has an Olympic gold medal and may just be the nicest person in New Zealand, and the other (equally nice) is responsible for around $54 billion of mortgages, which you know is not bad for a young woman in business. High achievers is not quite the right word for them, but a couple of levels above that. I felt a bit like the dunce who by mistake ends up the top class 🙂
The dinner is hosted by the PM, and there were lots of laughs when he announced that now the Mixed Ownership Model legislation had been passed, the Government was going to sell off two of the five Olympic rings.
There was in fact a sell-off, or a charity auction to raise money for the Olympic team. I was amazed that dinner with the PM went for $26,000, while 14 nights accommodation anywhere in the world in a luxury hotel of your choice went for only $18,500. I know which one I’d rather win 🙂
Also amusing was when John Hawkesby said that Paula Bennett had told him off for his slurs against West Auckland people, and that if he didn’t apologise she would head-butt him 🙂
Only a month until the Olympics starts. I am looking forward to them. One factoid from last night I did not know is that we have (off memory) 23 competitors who are ranked in the top three in the world for their event, and in 2008 it was just nine. That is no guarantee of medals, but is a sign of the potential we have to do well.
The must see race for me will be Nick Willis in the 1500m.
Anyway was a superb night’s entertainment. My thanks to ANZ for their wonderful hospitality. ANZ are one of the official partners of the NZ Olympic and Commonwealth teams. They also sponsor Pairs Rowers Hamish Bond and Eric Murray, Rower Emma Twigg, and Cyclists Natasha Hansen and Sam Webster plus Paralympics swimmers Rebecca Dubber and Cameron Leslie.