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Saturday 10 October 2015

Game on for Proud to Play NZ

Posted in: Our Communities
By Jacqui Stanford - 10th September 2015

Sports and culture event Proud to Play NZ is coming to Auckland in February, following the collapse of the Outgames. The list of sports is growing, and Sports Coordinator for the event Dion Leslie fills us in on what's being lined up.

Follow Proud to Play NZ 2015 on Facebook here


A quick history: Auckland was supposed to host the Asia Pacific Outgames in February. However as plans were made and funding irons were in the fire, the Board set up to oversee the event suddenly became concerned about its ability to compete for sponsorship cash with the Auckland Pride Festival, which it was to run alongside.

It asked for the Outgames to be pushed to November, however governing body GLISA Asia-Pacific said no.

The board then resigned and ordered the organisation set up to run the Outgames be disbanded.

Everything was on the brink of collapse, but a group of community members emerged trying to save the Outgames. Despite much effort, the group was not able to convince GLISA-AP in time that they could rustle up the necessary cash – an announcement which came out last week.

However, unbowed, the team has decided to press on with an Auckland sports and culture tournament which will be grassroots and community-driven - Proud to Play NZ 2015.

Team Auckland has also been created

It’s basically a rescue effort, to ensure that international and local guests have the sports tournaments and activities that they love, as originally planned.

“Since the announcement last week from GLISA-AP, the new working team has worked tirelessly to create a new brand, new website, new structure as well as a new governance to ensure a good solid future. It is now looking to be something that can be ongoing for the community for years to come and can be passed from city to city,” says Proud to Play NZ’s Sports Coordinator is Dion Leslie.

Leslie is a ten pin bowling enthusiast and member of the newly-created Team Auckland, who was the Sports Coordinator for the successful Wellington Asia Pacific Outgames in 2011.

“At the moment we have a number of sports either confirmed, or in the final stage including Bridge, Ocean Swim, Road Running, Swimming, Tenpin Bowling, Tennis, Golf and Touch,” Leslie tells


“There are more sports that we want to include, however this really depends on organisers of those sports as we don't have the resources to run each sport. What we are still working on is Badminton, Dancesport, Lawn Bowls, Netball and Squash. Some of these sports already have organisers lined up, however we just need to get them finalised so we can get them in the schedule.”

If you are a sports coordinator/organiser and want to get involved, email:

The team anticipate registrations will open slowly with each event opening one at a time.

“However we have three sports ready to open, with many others not far behind. We are in final stage of testing the registration platform and reporting aspects that are required for each event, so once this is complete we will be live.”


As Proud to Play NZ is running at the same time as the Auckland Pride Festival, Leslie says it’s going to be a busy time for the community, “but together we are going to create loads of fun for our guests from around the country and the world”.

Leslie says it’s very important that everyone gets involved, from sports coordinators to athletes to event participants.

“At the end of the day, we are a small team working to facilitate and make an event for everyone to enjoy, and the only way everyone can fully enjoy it is if everyone gets involved.”

He is proud of the effort that has gone in over the past month to make something happen.

“We had a very short window to try and save Outgames but with the GLISA-AP decision, it has enabled us to look further than just 2016 and enabled us to create a new brand, and a new direction for what the community and the organisers of each event want us to do. “

Leslie says the feedback has been very positive, with loads of messages of support to keep up the hard work.

“Emails from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and as far afield as Canada and the United States have come in over the last week re-assuring us that they are still coming, so we're excited.”

Sporting enquiries for organisers and participants can be sent to
Volunteers can email their interest to
Media, Sponsorship & PR enquiries can be sent to

Jacqui Stanford - 10th September 2015

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