14 Sep 2012

Tongan group wants Adams ceremony in Sth Auckland

7:13 pm on 14 September 2012

Auckland's Tongan Advisory Council says the medal ceremony planned for the Olympic champion shot putter Valerie Adams is an insult to members of the public who want to be involved.

Adams, who is Tongan, is to be presented with her gold medal at The Cloud venue on the city's waterfront next Wednesday. Public tickets have been limited to 2000.

Council chair Melino Maka says the ceremony should be in South Auckland where Adams grew up.

He says poorer people who can't go online or phone radio stations to get tickets are being denied the opportunity to get involved.

Melino Maka says it's not too late to invite the community to be involved.

The New Zealand Olympic Committee says the event is the most appropriate that they and sponsor ANZ Bank could organise.

NZOC spokesperson Ashley Abbott says the event had to suit Adams' timeframe, though the committee does appreciate that many more than 2000 might have wanted to see the ceremony.

Auckland mayor Len Brown says it is important not to lose sight of the positive nature of the event.

"If I hear enough from enough Aucklanders that they think that things ought to be extended out a bit, I'll pass on our views.

"But I don't want anything to disparage what is a hugely important personal event for Val, and of course it's important for us Aucklanders and us Kiwis."

Mr Brown would not comment on what he would have done if the council was able to organise the ceremony.