It’s not the first time that there has been an Olympic Games at Metlifecare’s Pinesong Village. Usually organised to coincide with the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, the actual Olympic cycle would have seen the games held last year. However, COVID-19 meant the postponement of both the 2020 Olympics and the Pinesong Olympics.

The two initiators of the Pinesong Olympics, Alan Whimp and Peter Singh, have retired, so Earl Irving has picked up the baton. A small group of people are involved in running the overall event, but lots more work on individual events. Participation is open to both staff and residents.

The formula for the Games follows that of the actual Olympics, albeit a lot shorter. There is a brief opening ceremony, which involves the arrival of the Olympic baton. The baton is the genuine article from a previous Olympics and then the raising of the flag. Arch Jelley CNZM, Sir John Walker’s athletics coach and Pinesong resident, performs this part of the ceremony.

The team tabloid-type games then begin, along with the opportunity to try many of the physical activities that Pinesong offers – bowls, table tennis, croquet, petanque. Everyone participates at their level. The tabloid activities are all drawn from books and websites. All are suitable for seniors, so no sprints, hurdle races, high-jump or other Olympic-type activities.

The event coordinator decides on the medal winners, and there are many ways to win a medal. It could be for the best throw but equally for the most humorous attempt. The Olympic motto is Fastest, Highest and Strongest. At Pinesong, the motto is Fun, Friendship and Participation.

By the afternoon, everyone is happy to retire to the bar for the medal ceremony, drinks and fish ‘n chips at the café to finish off a fun day.

The Pinesong Olympics is usually a bi-annual event. However, the postponement of the 2020 Olympics and New Zealand’s Covid lockdowns last year means that there is a chance that the Pinesong Olympics might run in consecutive years, 2021 and 2022.