Opening Remarks for FIFA Womens World Cup Closing Celebration
by High Commissioner HE Harinder Sidhu
Wellington, 22 August 2023
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.
Ngā mihi o te po.
Nau mai, haere mai ki te kōmihana nui o te whenua moe moe a
Ladies and gentlemen, special guests, members of the Diplomatic Corps.
Welcome to the Australian High Commission.
Wow what a tournament! Let me open by first extending my congratulations to Spain for winning the World Cup on Sunday night.
I am delighted we were able to share the highs, the lows and the many surprises that come with a knockout tournament with everyone here tonight.
There is no closer relationship than the one between New Zealand and Australia – we are more than just partners and allies, we are family.
Like all families we have some sporting rivalry – rugby, cricket, netball, football – no matter the sport, the Trans-Tasman rivalry is alive and well.
But more importantly, we love to celebrate big events together – and what better way to do this than to co-host the third largest sporting event in the world, and the largest women’s sporting event.
I’m so proud that Australia and New Zealand delivered the most watched and most attended FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament. It was fantastic to see football fever take over in New Zealand.
We believe women’s football is much more than a game. It is a game-changer for women. It helps us to build on our proud history of advancing women’s leadership, promoting women’s sport and striving to make gender equality a reality.
This tournament was a first on so many levels; it was the first edition in the Southern Hemisphere, the first women’s event to be co-hosted by two countries, and the first FIFA tournament to be hosted across multiple confederations (with Australia in the AFC and New Zealand in the OFC). It was the first senior tournament to be held in Oceania, and the first women’s event to feature 32 teams.
We celebrate more than football tonight. As well as the incredible win for Spain the accomplishments and highlights over the last month were outstanding. Achievements such as:
The Fan Festival on the waterfront, that provided a safe, family friendly atmosphere to enjoy games, entertainment and other activities.
We saw amazing speakers sharing their experiences through New Zealand hosted Equalize events and an Australian hosted Gender Equality Symposium.
Stadiums reached their maximum capacity, more than any football match ever in New Zealand (and probably generated more noise than the Sky Stadium has seen before)
We encouraged many young Wahine to go ‘’beyond greatness’’