America's Cup: Hints of host support for Team NZ in Bermuda

6:44 am on 25 June 2017

First Person - They are like The Lone Ranger - no one knows where they come from - officially anyway.

Large New Zealand flags have appeared on the road leading to the Cup Village in Bermuda.

Large New Zealand flags have appeared on the road leading to the Cup Village in Bermuda. Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

Overnight around 80 large New Zealand flags have appeared high up on lamp-posts in Bermuda's Somerset Parish, on the road leading to the Cup Village.

It's a bigger, more organised looking operation than last weekend when 50 went up, but the following night vanished in a suspected revenge attack.

Officially it's a rogue, covert operation, but the list of suspects with 100s of identical, large New Zealand flags, is a short one. And the ladder and the packing tape needed to fix them so high up.

As I rode the 8c bus on the hour-long trip from Hamilton to the village, signs of a counter operation were also evident, but paled in comparison.

Slogans daubed on white sheets in red, white and blue poster paint, often cryptic such as "You didn't come this far just to come this far."

One, which I took to be a Kiwi spoof, was regarded by most others as a genuine pro-Oracle banner "Dollars don't outweigh hard work and determination".

Dozens of New Zealand flags have appeared in Bermuda, despite the host country officially backing Oracle Team USA.

Dozens of New Zealand flags have appeared in Bermuda, despite the host country officially backing Oracle Team USA. Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

Lines of postcard sized US flags were fixed to several walls and fences,

In a country officially backing Oracle because of the host agreement, which keeps open the possibility of the island hosting the next cup in the defender wins, some other chinks in the pro-Oracle armour are appearing.

The crew on the government-run ferry between Hamilton and the Dockyard, now proudly wear Team New Zealand hats, with a large New Zealand flag, hung on the back wall of the main cabin.

I got a grin and a thumbs up, when I commented on them.

This morning on the large flag mast at the tall Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, flies a huge New Zealand flag.

It's a small thing, Like the 1984 hit, "Poi E" blaring out of the Team New Zealand compound as the boat was being readied this morning. But maybe it counts.

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