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North Hagley Park backdrop for Thursday’s Queen’s baton welcome

16 January 2006

Christchurch's North Hagley Park and the Central City will provide the backdrop to Thursday morning’s (19 January) welcoming to New Zealand of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Queen’s baton.

More than 20 people – organised by the Canterbury branches of many of the sports codes represented at the games -- will carry the gold and magnesium torch in the 150 minutes it is in the city.

Among them will be Alex Cook, who organised the Canterbury leg of the 1974 baton relay, from the Waitaki River to QEII Park. The current president of the Olympic Harrier Club has served sport for more than 40 years. Kristina Anglem, a multisport athlete who has her sights set on a kayak berth for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, will paddle the baton down the Avon River.

Interested members of the public are welcome to attend the ceremony which starts in Cathedral Square at 7.30am, or at any stage along the route. Organisers appreciate any assistance the news media can provide in explaining where and when the baton is able to be seen.

At about 8am, the baton will be taken by tram from the Square along Worcester Street to the Museum (about 8.07am). Relays will run and walk it north to the Carlton corner of Hagley Park (about 8.13am), then west along Harper Avenue and south alongside Deans Avenue to the Riccarton Road corner (about 8.21am).

Commonwealth Games cyclist Hayden Godfrey will carry the baton east to the Botanic Gardens footbridge, where a runner will carry it across to Ms Anglem (at about 8.26am) who will paddle it downstream to the Antigua boatsheds (about 8.38am).

Runners will carry it back up Rolleston and Worcester to the Avon River outside Our City O-Tautahi where it will be put aboard a punt (about 8.48am) for a short ride down to the Town Hall and Victoria Square (about 8.53am). Mr Cook will run the baton from the punt and deliver it to Deputy Mayor Carole Evans at the foot of Queen Victoria’s statue (about 8.56am).

There will be a short ceremony in Boaters Restaurant before the baton continues its journey towards the opening ceremony in Melbourne on 15 March. Among those expected to speak are Christchurch Olympic City committee member and City Councillor Graham Condon, Barry Maister from the NZ Olympic Committee and possibly Danyon Loader, the Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimming champion.

  • To find out where the baton has travelled, where it is now or to learn more about the Melbourne games, look online at

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