America's Cup victory parade: No chance of cancellation, despite rain

If you're planning on driving into the city today, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has one word for you: "Tough."

Queen St will be shut between 10am and 3pm for the America's Cup victory parade - rain, hail or shine.

"One hundred percent chance of rain, but it's not going to rain on our parade," Mr Goff told The AM Show on Thursday.

"It's gonna rain," NIWA forecaster Chris Brandolino confirmed afterwards. "After 1pm, 2pm, it'll rain steadily. Before 1pm, there might be light rainfall… It's winter, this happens."

No amount of rain will see the parade cancelled, said Mr Goff.

"It's happening. These guys are sailors - they're used to a bit of water."

Last time Team New Zealand took the cup off the Americans was in 1995, which saw around 300,000 Kiwis line Queen St to welcome home Sir Peter Blake and his crew.

Sir Peter Blake in 1995.
Sir Peter Blake in 1995. Photo credit: Getty
Sir Peter Blake in 2000's victory parade.
Sir Peter Blake in 2000's victory parade. Photo credit: Getty

Mr Goff says that parade was held in May when the weather's warmer, and the weather was fine, so today's crowd probably won't rival it for size. But motorists should stay away regardless, with up to 100,000 still expected.

"Don't go near the CBD with your car today - not a good idea. Catch the train, catch the bus."

Team NZ helmsman Peter Burling can't really remember the 1995 regatta and parade. He was only four years old at the time.

He says the magnitude of their achievement is still sinking in, managing to avoid most of the hoopla whilst in Bermuda.

"We were on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic worrying about trying to win a yacht race," he told The AM Show.

America's Cup parade route
The parade route. Photo credit: Auckland Council

The "amazing" reception the team received at the airport on Wednesday is perhaps just a taste of what's to come on Thursday afternoon, Burling quick to deflect attention onto his team.

"We're just a small part of a massive group that's been working incredibly hard for last three-plus years to make this dream a reality."

He says none of the other syndicates have called him up to bribe him away from Team New Zealand.,

"I love sailing for New Zealand… but no one's made any decisions about anything yet."

The America's Cup victory parade begins at 12:30pm at Aotea Square.