Maybe it was the David and Goliath theme.
Maybe it was the National team versus the All Star Team.
Maybe it was humbly playing the game with grace and dignity.
Whatever the reason, the country of New Zealand loves their America’s Cup team.
Despite the loss by Emirates Team New Zealand at the 34th Match to Oracle Team USA, Auckland City gave them a phenomenal welcome home on October 4. Over 11,000 amazing fans lined the wharves of downtown Auckland and filled Shed 10 and the cloud on Queens Wharf.
And with the team eager to sort out its prospects for the 35th America’s Cup, Economic Development Minister Stephen Joyce gave them comforting news. “This country and this government stands ready to be part of the next America’s Cup challenge.”
A huge crowd erupted in rapturous applause at the announcement of continued government support. Their recent campaign, put in excess of NZ$120 million ($99.50 million USD), was partially funded by a central government injection of NZ$36 million.
The team was surprised by the turnout and strength of their support at the ceremony.
“It’s like nothing I have ever experienced in my life,” said team skipper Dean Barker. “I am very proud to be a Kiwi.”
“We knew there’d be a lot of people here, but no one could have ever explained to me the way people would be towards the team,” said the team’s managing director Grant Dalton. “It’s like love; it’s remarkable. It’s impossible to even understand how it happened. I mean, we lost the America’s Cup. We didn’t win the America’s Cup. But something has happened within this country that I hope over the weeks to follow that I hope to understand and put my finger on because in Shed 10 the people were amazing; the air was phenomenal.”