Australian High Commission
New Zealand

Opening Remarks for FIFA Womens World Cup Closing Celebration, 22 August 2023

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’’ 

But there were so many more highlights. 

My personal highlights include having Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins meet women leaders and football fans at the Fan Festival.  

I enjoyed attending games, and especially giving 100 young women footballers, who would normally not be able to go and enjoy world class football in their home city, the chance to see the New Zealand vs Philippines match for free. I extend sincere thanks to the Diplomatic community and Sandy Crumpstone from Capital Football for your assistance in securing this fantastic opportunity for these students – and welcome to the coaches from their teams here tonight. 

This was another great community project and shows how this tournament has united so many, as you can see on the screen behind me.  

But these events do not just happen.  

Massive tournaments like this one take a village, and in this case many organisations working together. It takes long hours, a lot of mihi and time away from your families to put together.  

So, all that is left to say is thank you, to each and every one of you and your colleagues for your contributions.  

Without the hard work and collaboration, we could not have put on such a successful FIFA Women’s World Cup. 

No reira  

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.  

It is now my pleasure to invite Jane Patterson Chief Operating Officer for the FIFA Women's World Cup to say a few words.