The eight teams taking part in the ICC Women’s Cricket Word Cup have been officially welcomed to New Zealand ahead of the opening match of the tournament.
Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel officially welcomed the teams during a short ceremony on the banks of the Otakaro Avon River attended by the eight team captains and representatives from Ngāi Tūāhuriri and the International Cricket Council.
The match in the World Cup tournament gets under way in Tauranga on 4 March. The first Christchurch match, at Hagley Oval, is scheduled for 24 March. Hagley Oval will also host a semi-final on 31 March and the final on 3 April.
Mayor Dalziel said she was delighted to officially welcome the teams to New Zealand.
“We are delighted to have you in Ōtautahi Christchurch and we cannot wait for Cup matches to get under way. To have the world’s best female cricketers playing in our city is an honour and I have no doubt that the skills and commitment you will display over the coming weeks will inspire a whole new generation of budding young cricketers,’’ the Mayor said.
Teams were given gifts from Christchurch city – unique pounamu taonga carved by local master carver Fayne Robinson.
Mr Robinson said the design for the pieces was a “one-off’.
“It’s definitely uplifting for me as a carver to play a big part in this World Cup,” said Mr Robinson, who was also tasked with carving the champions medals, which carry the same design.
A special gift was also bestowed upon the White Ferns – a specially written waiata for them to use for various occasions. It was written by Ngāi Tūāhuriri and may be used by the team to respond to speeches and when they travel overseas.
ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive, Ali Adams said it was an exciting time for Ōtautahi Christchurch.
“We’re very pleased to welcome the world of women’s cricket to our city, and to have the opportunity to showcase Ōtautahi Christchurch to the world,” Ms Adams said.
“As an avid cricket fan and a keen follower of women’s sport, I’m extremely excited to see the ICC Women’s Cricket World cup get under way.
“Having this international tournament here in New Zealand, and some significant matches played at the beautiful Hagley Oval, is a brilliant opportunity for Kiwis to see their home team play against the best in the world, and for us to showcase our hosting ability.
“Obviously Covid has impacted the tournament’s spectatorship, however the broadcast exposure is still significant.”
The 2017 tournament had a global audience of 180 million people, three times more than the 2013 event, and was broadcast into 189 markets.
In terms of broadcast exposure, the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup is seven times larger than the men’s Rugby World Cup.