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March 17, 2008 | by  | in News |
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Palmy fails in Games bid; important guy “gutted”

Palmerston North has failed in its bid to host the 2009 Uni Games, with University Sport New Zealand (USNZ) instead awarding the hosting of the event to the Taranaki region.

The decision, made in late February, has disappointed many involved in Palmerston North’s bid. Massey University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Ian Warrington, was reportedly “gutted” by the decision and lamented to local media about the missed chance to bring “excitement and energy” to the region.

The reason behind the failure of Palmerston North’s bid has been the subject of debate between local and student media in the Manawatu.

The Manawatu Standard reported on February 23 that Andrea Durie, Sport Manawatu chief executive, was told by the USNZ selection panel that “a lack of council presence in its two-day, on-site visit was the only thing separating the two bids.”

Despite the involvement of the Palmerston North City Council and Manawatu District Council in the bid, it was noted in the USNZ report that it was “disappointing” no Council representatives made an appearance during the selection panel’s visit. However, the report makes it clear this was not the deciding factor in their decision.

Massey University student magazine CHAFF spoke to USNZ executive director David Pearce, who said that it was the “collective approach” of the Taranaki bid that tipped the scales in their favour. While Palmerston North put forward a “very, very strong” bid, the “very tightly organised consortium” involved in the Taranaki bid was “very, very compelling.”

The USNZ report went on to cite facility costs, uncertain support from Massey University, and negligible city and district council support as weaknesses in the Palmerston North bid.

Palmerston North will not be able to contest the hosting of the Uni Games for another three years, with the hosting of the Uni Games operating on a North, Central, South Island cycle. Palmerston North could face competition from other Central cities, including Wellington next time around.

The 2009 event in Taranaki will be only the second time in the 106-year history of the Uni Games that the event will be held in a non-University area. This year’s Games in Rotorua in April mark the first time the event has not been associated with a university and “home team” student population.

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Editor for 2010, politics nerd, panda fan and three-time award-winning student journalist.

Comments (1)

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  1. Kerry says:

    Although on the upside, Rotorua has lovely hot pools, great cultural displays, good hotels and backpackers’ hostels, and maybe this will encourage more international students to join UniGames teams, so that they get a trip to somewhere with good facilities that actually shows on the ‘what’s best in NZ’ lists every tourist gets.

    Palmy? *shudder* left there a looong time ago, can’t imagine why you’d want to subject decent, sport-loving people to the place.

    Yes, I’ve visited recently. It was viscerally excrutiating, enough to make driving to New Plymouth at 2am seem like a sound and sensible decision!

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