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$20,000 needed to secure Auckland Outgames

Thu 20 Aug 2015 In: Out Games News View at Wayback View at NDHA

Some kind of sporting competition will be held in Auckland next February – but for it to be the Asia Pacific Outgames, $20,000 needs to be secured. Can you help, or do you have contacts who can chip in with some cash? Craig Watson would love you to get in touch. A statement will be released by GLISA Asia Pacific today which will state that for the games to go ahead,  the Auckland organisers will have to meet a number of conditions by the end of the month. "Otherwise a purely local event will have to be delivered by a local organisation," says Cynthia Borne, GLISA's host city liaison person. Craig Watson is one of those driving the push for the games to happen. He says some type of sports competition will happen in February, the scope and nature of which will be down to funding. “There is too much at stake now. And there are too many people who have booked tickets already,” he says. There are basically two options. The most desirable is that if the team can secure $20,000 in funding, a sports organisation has agreed to come on board and professionally oversee the sporting events. Watson says that organisation would “tick all the boxes with GLISA” and allow the event to be run under the Outgames banner. “The organisation has looked at everything and said ‘absolutely we can run this event, there is no problem here’, but they are professionals and would require some money to get on board and do this. And they have asked for $20,000.” A number of irons are in the fire when it comes to that funding. There is a chance Auckland Council could help, with Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and others doing what they can, and Mayor Len Brown making supportive noises. However there could be some hesitancy about ratepayer funding being used on an event which is up in the air. Yet Auckland Council has numerous helpful contacts and all avenues are being pursued. Watson is also contacting a number of philanthropists to see if they will pitch in. If that cash doesn’t come through, a number of sports are sorted and ready to go, have backing from clubs, and will likely hold competitions in February whether they are under the Asia Pacific Outgames umbrella or not. “We’re probably going to form a group called something along the lines of ‘Auckland Rainbow Sports’ or ‘Auckland Team Rainbow’ or something, to try and create a platform like they have at every other Outgames … that coordinates local lgbt sports,” Watson says. “That was always going to be the legacy to come out of this Outgames process. And I still want that to happen, I still want to create a group of people who have contacts with all these sporting groups.” He says there could then be a sporting weekend or week, similar to what Wellington did with is Rainbow Sporting Weekend. However, Watson says a lot of work has already been done to get the Outgames plans to where they are now, particularly from the man who led the bid Damien Strogen – who is expected back in New Zealand soon. “The Board and some major puzzle pieces fell apart. And that’s what caused the hole. I have managed to come in, and I think, cover up the hole. And we’re just now waiting for final sign off so we can continue.” Since Watson and the remaining Outgames planning crew sent out a rally cry for help, they have received plenty of offers. Key people from the successful Wellington Asia Pacific Outgames have raised their hands and will share their expertise and experience as part of the organising team. For now, the priority is nailing the $20,000 funding that will allow the event to happen as the Outgames – a much lesser ask compared to the original hopeful talk of a million dollar budget when the bid was launched. “There are people out there who sit beside CEOs, who potentially have $5,000 they could throw at it,” Watson says. He says they could pledge cash based on GLISA giving the games its seal of approval and other financial support being secured. “Someone might look at it and go ‘well we don’t want to put $20,000 in with the potential that it’s all going to fall over. But what we might do is pledge it to say that if that other funding comes off, we will send you $20,000.” The team will also hear back on a couple of major funding applications in September, and if they come off they will cover venue hire, meaning there will be no overheads, and they will be able to spend more on cultural events. “But we just need that $20,000. And there are lots of people out there with that kind of money, just sitting there doing nothing with it. If we can get $20,000 as far as I am concerned we’re done. We could open registrations tomorrow, almost.” Can you help? Email Craig Watson at Daily News staff - 20th August 2015

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 20th August 2015 - 10:52am

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