11 Jul 2017

Team NZ's capital welcome: 'The whole country has a passion for it'

5:53 pm on 11 July 2017

Hometown hero Josh Junior stole the show as his Team New Zealand crewmates brought the America's Cup to Wellington.

Thousands of people turned out to a victory parade that snaked between Parliament and Civic Square.

The thick fog that blanketed Wellington this morning, disrupting flights, was replaced by blue skies and sunshine just in time for the team to make their way down Lambton Quay.

Thousands of people lined the street, ditching their offices and computer screens, to show their support for the team and celebrate their victory.

"It's really exciting to have great weather and we were just saying before that I don't think I've ever seen so many people on [Lambton Quay] it's really neat, nice to see everyone behind team," said one fan.

"I didn't think there were going to be this many people here today, it's always good to support New Zealanders doing well," said another.

Many travelled from out of town to be there, with one family driving 2.5 hours from Pahiatua.

Their 10-year-old daughter Georgia Laskey and her 12-year-old sister Ella were glued to the television during the America's Cup races.

"I think it's really amazing, at first I didn't think that they were going to win because they had a crash, it made you hold your breath and hope that they won, I'm glad they did."

Susan Gautrey, whose family was involved with the yacht club in Eastbourne, was equally enthusiastic about the sport.

"I think it's wonderful that Wellingtonians have come out because...it's a sailing city and it just shows the whole country has a passion for it."

One team member in particular stole the show, when Wellington native Josh Junior was chanted for and called to address the crowd.

"Certainly this is an amazing thing for us to bring the cup down here and to have all you guys support us and to come home and see you all like this it's just amazing, so thank you so much," he said.

Tonight they travel to Christchurch for a parade in the city tomorrow.

Wellington America's Cup parade on 11 July 2017.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

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