3 September, 2023
Mercury Bay Stadium
The Zespri AIMS Games is one of the largest junior sporting events in Australasia and was started in 2004. It has grown from about 760 athletes to over 11,000. The event has always been hosted in Tauranga Moana and attracts athletes from all over New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and Australia. The opening ceremony held at Mercury Stadium on Sunday afternoon was a thrill and the young athletes were buzzing in their seats.
The event started with all of the MMI (Mount Maunganui Intermediate) bands, they were all so talented and entertaining, it really was a wonderful way to start off the ceremony.
At the Aims opening there was quite a crowd, over 5000 people all staring at the stage, waiting for something amazing to happen. The Mercury Stadium was set up perfectly with a decorative stage and ginormous screens to stream and capture the monumental moments live.
Tauranga Intermediate had an awesome kapa haka performance that they shared with everyone, it is so cool that we can share cultural performances together, with people from all over Australasia. It was such an exciting show, there was so much to see, and everyone at the ceremony was enjoying it so much.
From here we had Jono and Ben from The Hits radio station to MC the event. They kept things fun and moving throughout the action packed hour and quarter ceremony.
We then had a mini circus performance where we witnessed juggling, acrobatics and much more. They were so flexible and talented, everyone loved it! The audience loved the entertainment and was ecstatic to see what was next!
After the circus act, there was a quick dance routine. The girls dancing were so flexible and made a pretty simple dance, into a magical routine. The audience found it so intriguing to watch the complex dance moves, that everyone was a bit disappointed when they left the stage.
Next, out of nowhere out comes the Black ferns one and only Jorja Miller and the All Blacks Sevens player Ngarohi Black! Jono and Ben hosted the two athletes on the couches to give the AIMS athletes some top tips to be ready for their upcoming sporting performances. Jono and Ben then gave them a few quick questions to answer about their sports career then it was over, with Jorja kicking a rugby ball into the sea of waving arms.
Kiwi artists Muroki and Georgia Lines got all the students singing away under the colourful lighting. They created an interactive performance that had the athletes singing along and making connections to their performances that they will about to have on the sporting arena for the week. Georgia lines taught everyone the bridge of one of her songs and she had the whole stadium having a singing competition.
The ceremonial part of the opening ceremony is The Players’ Oath. The Players’ Oath was read by Bowen Pohe from Te Puke Intermediate and Belle Ririnui from Mount Maunganui Intermediate. This oath talks about fair play, being humble in victory and gracious in defeat. The reading of the oath is the official part of the ceremony and the beginning of the AIMS Games sporting events.
Overall, this Opening Ceremony was a success. There was so much happening that there was no time to pause and think about other things. It definitely set up the significance of what this AIMS Games is all about. What an amazing week this is going to be!
So, watch this space for daily updates of our MMI teams and individuals in action.