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Festival Closing

Closing ceremony speech, Sunday 16th April 2023

Several you have asked me what pretty dress I would be wearing for the closing. Trust me I do have a few with me to choose from, BUT as I have said all along, first and foremost I am a paddler, so paddling gear it is.

Oh, my goodness…….wow, wow, and wow.

That is all I can say in terms of how amazing this festival in New Zealand has been.

I know I am biased as it was in my home country, and I know I was behind the bid to bring the festival to New Zealand. But I also know how hard everyone worked from the day the bid was placed to when we won the bid and then the planning began.

Each moment of each day has been inspirational regardless of what was on offer. The spirited chants, races and who could forget the noise and laughter of the street parade. Having the biggest flower ceremony yet. Yes, go big or go home. As a small country we always aim high.

These festivals are nothing but sheer moments of joy. Celebrating those who have succumbed to this invidious disease is extremely important and we know that we have done that with the greatest of respect.

The opportunity to add metastatic paddlers to join us on the water for the flower ceremony was an incredibly special moment for them all. We applaud their bravery.

I want to thank you all for each part you played in this festival.

Thank you all again for entrusting me to continue as President of IBCPC, we are on a fabulous trajectory globally and after all that is what this is all about, “to encourage the development of breast cancer dragon boat teams, within the framework of participation and inclusiveness. We support the development of recreational dragon boat paddling as a contribution to a healthy lifestyle for those diagnosed with breast cancer.”

“ Exercise is Medicine.”

Now to the thank yous.

To our major sponsor: Waipa District Council, Mayor Susan O’Regan, Deputy Mayor Liz Stolwyk, Amber Diprose and Claire Guelph…. thank you, thank you, thank you.

To our sponsors Hamilton City Council H3, Claudelands and Mayor Paula Southgate, Pub Charity, Waikato Trust, and New Zealand Community Trust, thank, thank, thank you thank you.

To all our suppliers thank you.

I want to say a massive thank you to all our volunteers who have been here since the NZDBA nationals at Easter until now. Caleb, Pete, Noel, Mike, Cherie, Julie, Evan, Teagan, Kay, Karen, Gilly, Toots, Daz. Zenaya, Savannah, Malcom, Colleen, and everyone else who volunteered that I haven’t mentioned.

Our exceptional ambassadors, our medical staff: Stu, Evan, Ruth.

Our judicial crew: Maz, Jane, Belinda, Sylvia, Tolz.

Colleen Harris, our extraordinary ambassador co-ordinator; Thank you does not seem enough.

Volunteers of the hour, week, month, year, our amazing festival OC: Deb, Andrew, Brooke.

To our ambassadors, volunteers, and officials, thank you, thank you, thank you. So, many of you have gone beyond like the ambassador who put on a BBQ for 46 people.

To Waikato Treasure Chests women’s crew, your unbelievable support is legendary.

To my dream team: Deb, Andrew, and Brooke. I simply could not have done this without you. Nothing was ever an issue, well almost nothing. We just WTF’d our way through all these moments and moved on to the next challenge. Please come up and accept a small token of my appreciation.

But most of all I say thank you to you for coming here with open minds and open hearts for living the joy of this festival with love and kindness.