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Appointments: Kiely aims to create single body at cup village

By Graeme Kennedy

Friday 12th May 2000

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LEARNING CURVE: Peter Kiely says the job became tough and time-consuming
The shouting has barely died away after the most spectacularly successful event in New Zealand's sporting history but Peter Kiely and the America's Cup Village board are already figuring out how to make it even better the second time around.

Reappointed after his initial three-year term as board chairman, Mr Kiely concedes despite the overwhelming success of the village as the playground and focal point for the America's Cup regatta, some things can be improved for the next cup challenge in just two years.

The village board was at the "information-gathering" stage, asking all owners and stakeholders what could be done better, he said.

"We are getting input and comment from a vast number of people so we can analyse and decide on the shape we take for the next regatta.

"We are in the lucky position, with a very strong board of directors and management, of having an opportunity to repeat the success so soon after the event with a lot of experience and knowledge. There will be no structural changes," Mr Kiely said.

"We are looking at how to utilise everything better, to see what worked and what didn't."

While most endorsed the village, its facilities and the way it was run, syndicates and superyacht owners made it known they wanted a single body to deal with rather than having to seek authority from individual village owners, the Auckland City Council, Ports of Auckland, private company Viaduct Harbour Holdings and Infrastructure Auckland - of which America's Cup Village Ltd is a 100%-owned subsidiary.

One restructuring option being discussed is the creation of a trust as an umbrella organisation to act as a single authority for the entire area, including the village.

And some sponsorship and supply arrangements could be improved following the village company's experiences during the cup festival.

"My job was to bring the various stake-holders together and make it all work. That was not a big problem but we had to work on it. And as chairman, I got 40-50 calls a day from people complaining they couldn't get a taxi or a seat in a restaurant - I told them I was having the same problems."

Mr Kiely graduated with a law and an arts degree from the University of Auckland in 1980 and joined law firm Hesketh Henry where he was a partner until he established his own firm, Kiely Thompson Caisley, three years ago.

With a strong industrial relations background inherited from his father, long-time Labour Court member Tom Kiely, he specialised in employment law and was last month appointed an adjunct professor at Victoria University's school of business and public management.

He represented waterfront employers during port reforms in the 1980s and has been New Zealand director of the Pacific Forum Line for 10 years - experience which helped him win the original village chairmanship.

"The village is involved basically in running a marine and real estate business with an interface with the port so an understanding of port operations was important. It became a tough and time-consuming job but we learned a lot.

"And it all worked very well - we had 4.2 million visitors through the six months and we are now getting 8000 a day so the village is an on-going business rather than something to be used once every three years.

"There is still plenty to see and do down there. The bars and restaurants are humming, many superyachts have stayed and the opening of the Hilton on Princes Wharf in June or July will further consolidate the area.

"The prophets of doom have been proved wrong and while apartment development has made the area another Auckland suburb, the bar-restaurant activity have made it a destination where people go rather than to Ponsonby and Parnell.

"The environmental impact of the area on Auckland has been tremendous."

"More than 40 yachts are still in the village - there was no superyacht exodus as soon as the racing finished and more than expected stayed to have work done here. More than 70% extended their departure date when they realised the dollar value and expertise of New Zealand boat-builders."

Mr Kiely said eight of the 12 syndicates of the last America's Cup had indicated they would renew their base licences, with Prada due back on the Hauraki Gulf in October to begin training for the next challenge.

Peter Kiely

Position: America's Cup Village Ltd chairman
Age: 42
Marital status: Single
Pastimes: Tennis, golf, skiing

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