Sport | Rāhui

Red Bull cliff diving finals rescheduled amid Waitematā rāhui

Cliff diver Rhiannan Iffland making a splash in the Coromandel on October 4th, 2023.

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, initially scheduled to make a splash in Aotearoa for the first time on November 19, 2023, has been postponed to January 27-28, 2024, in response to environmental concerns.

A 13-meter sinkhole in Parnell, causing significant wastewater to be discharged into Waitematā Harbour, led to the implementation of a rāhui by local Iwi Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, working in coordination with Watercare Services, last month.

James MacVicar, Red Bull New Zealand General Manager, emphasized the respect for the rāhui, stating, “We fully respect the rāhui and its purpose which is to protect our waterways, and our priority is to give the public and the competitors the best experience they can have without any risks.”

Echoing the sentiments on safety and respect, Chris Simpson of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited – Head of Major Events, conveyed support for the rescheduling,

“We know that fans and competitors will be disappointed to hear the news of its postponement.” Simpson said.

This event’s inauguration in Aotearoa is part of a notorious global circuit.

“Red Bull Cliff Diving Auckland is set to draw in 30,000 spectators across two days,” MacVicar says.

The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series began in 2009, with divers executing breathtaking feats from up to 27 meters high—equivalent to an 8-story building—and piercing the water’s surface at speeds of up to 85km/h.

The Auckland event will feature 24 of the world’s most elite cliff divers at Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter.

Simon Latimer, a Dunedin-born Red Bull Cliff Diving judge says although the event isn’t happening as soon as they’d hoped, he’s ‘stoked’ for seeing it come to life in January

“It’ll be a fantastic way to kickstart the year and it’s the perfect time of year for the international athletes to experience the best of Aotearoa.” he added.

The event, expected to be the biggest international sporting event to commence the New Year in Auckland, boasts free admission to the public, with organisers promising fans can look forward to a weekend of ‘aerial artistry and athletic excellence’.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei says the rāhui will be lifted in consultation with Watercare, “when we are satisfied it is safe for all to once again engage with our waters.”