6 Jul 2017

Cup parade: Burling 'blown away' as supporters line streets

6:53 pm on 6 July 2017

Thousands of Aucklanders have lined the streets in the central city to welcome home Team New Zealand and the America's Cup.

The lunchtime ticker tape parade went down Queen Street before winding its way around the waterfront to the Viaduct Harbour.

Provisional crowd estimates suggest there were more than 80,000 people at today's parade in Auckland to welcome Team New Zealand home.

Riding on the back of utes, team members showed off their silverware to the cheering crowds.

Peter Burling waves to the crowd at the America's Cup parade in central Auckland.

Peter Burling waves to the crowd at the America's Cup parade in central Auckland. Photo: Photo / PhotoSport / William Booth

Many fans made signs for the occasion, others waved flags, and some came decked out in Team New Zealand shirts and hats.

Helmsman Peter Burling said they were overwhelmed by the massive show of support.

"It's just unreal the support, we've known there's a bit back here, but we had no idea that it was this big, it's just blown us away."

Peter Burling and Team NZ wave to crowds on Queen Street

Peter Burling and Team NZ wave to crowds on Queen Street. Photo: RNZ/Leilani Momoisea

And the fans were not deterred by the rain forecast and plenty of them packed umbrellas and raincoats.

The showers held off for much of the parade, but there was a big downpour - and a few claps of thunder - just as the team arrived at the Viaduct.

But Team New Zealand chief executive Grant Dalton said the rain was a good sign.

"It's actually probably slightly fitting that it is actually raining a little bit because when we launched the boat, it was raining. Ngāti Whātua and Māori believe that if it's raining, it's a blessing and I'm thinking this rain is the start of a blessing for the defence, so let it rain."

Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling holds the America's Cup high at the Auckland parade.

Burling holds the America's Cup high. Photo: Photo / PhotoSport / William Booth

Dalton also paid tribute to the members of the team that won the Cup, after losing it 14 years ago.

"What do you say? Unbelievable team. What they've done is nothing short of phenomenal against all the odds, against all those that did not believe, they are amazing and I owe them a huge debt."

Prime Minister Bill English told the crew that they had won over the New Zealand public.

"I think from talking to some of you here today, it's only today you've realised the impact on hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who admire your efforts and are so proud of you."

David Dallas performs with members of Team New Zealand.

David Dallas performs with members of Team New Zealand. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

At the conclusion of the parade, rapper David Dallas performed his song, 'Runnin', which had become an anthem for the team while they were in Bermuda, and Burling, Blair Tuke and other team members joined him on stage.

From there, the team headed out on to the water for a sail past in the Viaduct Harbour.

The family of Team New Zealand designer, Tim Meldrum, staked out a spot on Queen Street to watch the parade.

They all came in matching black t-shirts, which said: "revenge and redemption".

Meldrum's father-in-law, Dick Pardy, said the whole family was proud of his efforts.

"He's been working tirelessly behind the scenes to put that boat on the water," he said.

Fans hang off the balcony to catch a glimpse of the America's Cup

Fans hang off the balcony to catch a glimpse of the Cup. Photo: RNZ/Leilani Momoisea

Other supporters had been at the previous America's Cup victory parades in 1995 and 2000.

Jill Shaw had only just arrived in New Zealand from the United States when Team New Zealand successfully defended the Auld Mug in 2000.

"I was at the bottom of Queen Street watching Sir Peter Blake and Russell Coutts coming down the the trophy way back then.

"It was pretty exciting. I was still learning my way around New Zealand but it was sure fun to be thrown in the deep end that way," Ms Shaw said.

Cup heads south

Meanwhile, the Dunedin City Council said there will be a parade in the city next Thursday to celebrate Team New Zealand's America's Cup victory.

The council said the parade will be at lunchtime, but more details will be confirmed next week.

There will also be a victory parade in Christchurch next Wednesday at midday.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said she was delighted the team is coming to the city and that fans will have a chance to see the America's Cup.

Wellington's parade will be on Tuesday.

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