The 36th America's Cup has drawn another step closer with the official opening of the Cup Village in Auckland on Tuesday.
Four of the competing syndicates joined city and Government leaders, led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, in a dawn service, followed by a 90-minute ceremony.
Three challenger teams were led over the viaduct bridge in a symbolic welcome, before a moment of silence to acknowledge those who had died or suffered from COVID-19.
The waterfront village is expected to draw crowds in excess of 25,000 during the regatta itself, says minister of tourism and economic development Stuart Nash.
“It’s a collective celebration that in trying circumstances we have done brilliantly,” says Nash.
Comprising four team bases, a main stage, and a big screen for racing viewing, the village will remain open through to the end of the America's Cup final in March.
Racing begins on Thursday with the America's Cup World Series regatta, featuring Italy, the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, concluding with the Christmas Race on Sunday.