13 Dec 2023

F50s will be flying on Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour again when the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix returns to Ōtautahi Christchurch in March 2024.

Following SailGP’s decision to not race in Auckland next year, Ōtautahi Christchurch has stepped in to ensure the event could go ahead in New Zealand keeping the same dates, 23-24 March 2024.

Tickets go on sale to the public Thursday 14 December at 10am through Ticketek.co.nz.

Welcoming the news, SailGP global CEO Sir Russell Coutts said: “After extensive consultation with our partners, we’re delighted to confirm the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix will be staged once again on the spectacular Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour.”

“Christchurch has proven to be one of our very best events to date - with fantastic racing, thousands of fans and spectacular scenery in a natural amphitheatre. This is a perfect venue for the stadium-style, inner-harbour racing SailGP is known for around the world and we can’t wait to bring more fans closer to the action with additional grandstands planned for next year's event,” Coutts said.

ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Destination and Attraction Loren Aberhart said a key consideration in making that decision to host was ensuring the safety of the marine mammals of Whakaraupō.

“A review of the Marine Mammal Management Plan has begun in partnership with Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke Rāpaki, the Department of Conservation and SailGP. The plan is underpinned by the fundamental principle that the protection of marine mammals, particularly the Hector’s Dolphin, is paramount,” said Ms Aberhart.

"We have also taken on board feedback about enhancing the retail opportunities for both Lyttelton and the central city and despite the short timeframe we have to prepare, we are confident that we can deliver an excellent event, as we did this year."

The transport plan that meant attendees were bused directly to Naval Point was a great success and avoided congestion in Lyttelton. The work that we did to ensure the success of the 2023 event is a good foundation to build upon.

“We have worked with our key partners to ensure the short lead-in time can be met to ensure Ōtautahi Christchurch once again hosts an amazing event for our community and that our spectacular city is also showcased around the world to millions of viewers,” she said.

Mayor Phil Mauger said: “It’s fantastic to welcome SailGP back to the city in 2024 for this bonus season. This just proves that Christchurch is increasingly seen as the sports and events capital of New Zealand.”

“This year’s event was brilliant, and it was great that Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour was seen around the world in all its glory,” said the Mayor. “

I’m sure people will get right behind this event once again. I really want to thank Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke Rāpaki, SailGP and ChristchurchNZ for making this happen – this partnership is why we will see SailGP return in 2024.”

The 2025 event will also be held in Ōtautahi Christchurch as planned.