NZ base opens in true Kiwi style
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 6:02p.m.
By Melissa Davies, London
The official Olympic base for New Zealanders in London has been opened in typical Kiwi style.
England even put on one of its hottest days of the year for the backyard barbecue celebration which will host athletes, their families and hardcore Kiwi supporters.
When you're young and living in London there are few chances to experience what it's like to immerse yourself in Kiwi culture. But the Olympics is one of those chances, a time when Kiwi supporters will come together to create a home haven in King's Cross.
Kiwi music veteran Mike Chunn is helping to create the mood by teeing up music acts like Hollie Smith and Nathan Haines.
“I've just landed,” Mr Chunn says. “So you leave New Zealand and you arrive 12,000km away or whatever it is here. You walk in and… to transport the entire spirit of a nation into a room like this here is fantastic.”
Kiwi House has been one year in the making and was possible only because of money put forward by several wealthy Kiwi ex-pats and lots of volunteers who helped to decorate the party pad.
Melissa Gilmour was in charge of organising the opening party.
“I think it's really important. There's a lot of people who've come over here and they're supporters of the athletes and also just because we're in London and there's so many ex-pats here and it's just great for us to congregate and come together and celebrate all the medals we're going to win. We're looking really good this year... I've got a good feeling.”
It wouldn't be a Kiwi gathering without a good old Kiwi barbecue, and this one's been designed by New Zealand chef Peter Gordon.
It's both as far away and as close to home as you can get for some expat children.
“I kind of like it because it has a lot of space... I used to live in New Zealand and it just really reminds me of New Zealand,” Kahu Burrows says.
“It's so big and there's loads of rooms to rest in,” Tiana Davies says.
But there's little time to rest. Supporters will have a special spot from where they can cheer on Kiwi athletes, starting with the opening women's football match against Britain.
Kiwi House will also show off New Zealand music and meals and hopefully some medals too.
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