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Saturday 10 October 2015

Replacing the Outgames - a fresh start

Posted in: Our Communities
By Jay Bennie - 4th September 2015

After explaining how the rescue team's attempt to salvage the Auckland Outgames 2016 was ultimately unsuccessful Craig Watson now looks forward, to how a new sporting event will rise from the ashes of the Auckland Outgames.

It's an opportunity, he says, to create something different.

“The plan going forward is to now quickly set up a Team Auckland, as in Team Melbourne and Team Sydney,” he says, “so that we have an entity to run this sporting event."

Those Australian entities are umbrella organisations that coordinate the activities of the variety of individual glbti sporting groups to maximise their potential. It's a strength in numbers kind of concept. It was, we are learning, what the various Auckland games organisers had hoped would be an on-going outcome of the one-off Outgames.

Now, Watson says, they can create Team Auckland as a legal entity and use that to craft a different concept from the GLISA-mandated Outgames format.

“The exciting thing, and I think this is what's giving our group drive, is that we get to set up our own thing. And with the potential that it becomes a regular event. We had to live up to a lot of standards that were set by GLISA. They needed to do that and that's fine. But now we don't have to do those things and so it becomes a completely fresh look. The nice thing about this is that it completely separates us from any agreement that the old board and the old organising committee had made to people that were potentially quite big engagements to undertake."

Are we looking at a less formal and competitive environment than the GLISA model? Something more skewed towards participatory aims?

“Yes, I think so. But we do want to make this a formal competition where people can win awards and break records.”

What about the Human Rights and cultural aspects being put in place under the Outgames model?

“There is a plan for a human rights conference to happen in Wellington very soon after the planned Outgames anyway. We saw that as a bit of a conflict but it did need to happen so rather than be in competition with it we would just support and contribute to that conference, which happens I think about a week after our sporting event.

And the dates for the new, and as yet unnamed, sports event will be?

“The same dates originally set down for an Outgames... February 13 to 20.

There's a Youth Hui in the works to, where does that stand? "I'm yet to speak to Rainbow Youth general manager Duncan Matthews about the youth hui, about where that lies.”

And the as yet ill-defined cultural part? “We will still have a cultural side with the Out and Loud choral event and other events too.”

How about the relationship with Auckland Pride which will run at the same time? This would seem to be a potential mine-field of conflict or a turf war. Neither Pride nor the Outgames teams ever explained publicly how the two events would co-exist.

“I think this now opens the door for Auckland Pride and us to reformulate something that will work for and with each other and not against each other,” says Watson. “We can now formulate a new event, a new plan. And hopefully we can work with Pride to make sure that this is something that they can support 100 per cent as well.”

Is there a sense of freedom now for those who battled to rescue the Outgames and who will now create this replacement concept?

“I think there is a sense of direction now... and I guess yes, you would have to say freedom. It's been an interesting journey with GLISA because of the history and it all being done over the phone and with Skype meetings and it was hard getting from them what they actually needed and why they needed it. And now there isn't any of that. So, yes, there is freedom."

What's he next step to get the new concept moving?

“We are forming a re-brand. Our design and media team are working on a new look and feel for a website and social media. I'm working with a lawyer to form an incorporated society that can dot the governance of this new sporting group venture. And we can now get agreements in place knowing we are not having to meet any expectations, that there is not another governing body that we have to answer to. Now we can go for it.”

Watson says anyone interested in becoming involved or supporting, volunteering or helping in any way please get in contact with him directly through

Jay Bennie - 4th September 2015

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