The countdown is on for SailGP’s long-awaited New Zealand debut, unfolding on Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour 18-19 March 2023.

With thousands set to watch from the event village at Te Nukutai o Tapoa, Naval Point, and more planning to catch the action from the free city centre live site, organisers are gearing up for a busy weekend on and off the water. During the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, Christchurch and Lyttelton are going to be busier, so it is advised to plan ahead and expect some normal travel routines to be affected.

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SailGP has prepared a traffic management plan (TMP) with input from Christchurch City Council, ChristchurchNZ, Waka Kotahi, local businesses and other stakeholders.The TMP takes into account solutions to manage congestion, parking, safety, emergency access, resident access, and transport options for ticket holders during the event weekend. The aim of the TMP is to facilitate movement for residents and event attendees, and to prevent issues of traffic and congestion on the transport network.

During race weekend, restrictions will be put in place from midday until around 6pm on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 March. There will be restricted access to Lyttelton for motor vehicles during this time, with entry to Lyttelton blocked from Sumner and Governors Bay. Between 12pm and 6pm closures, only emergency vehicles, official event vehicles (buses and branded shuttles), taxis and vehicles with a clearly-displayed pass will be able to access Lyttelton.

Once within Lyttelton, there will also be a checkpoint on Godley Quay which will only allow permitted event vehicles (e.g. staff and suppliers) to the site. Those walking to the event from the Lyttelton township can use a new shared path from Lyttelton, down to Naval Point. Cycle access to Lyttelton will not be affected by the restrictions and at all times traffic will be able to leave Lyttelton via the Tunnel, Governors Bay Road and Evans Pass Road. Emergency vehicles will be able to pass through road closures at all times, as will public buses.

Lyttelton residents and businesses will be able to access their homes and workplaces during the access restriction period via Bridle Path Road on both days using an allocated vehicle access pass. Affected households will be issued one pass via mail this month and are asked to please display the pass clearly in their windscreen when traveling through the access point on Bridle Path Road to ensure marshals can wave them through in a timely manner.

Businesses that require passes for their employees and / or contractors and suppliers will also be able to access additional passes. With parking in Lyttelton extremely limited, no passes will be issued to visiting friends and family. This is to ensure that residents are able to move freely during the restriction periods.

In the central city, there will be some traffic management in place surrounding the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix live site, powered by Enable - a free fanzone at the Green, between Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre and Cathedral Square. Some traffic management will be in place to facilitate a safe pick up and drop off area for official event shuttles, and taxi pick-up and drop-off on Worcester Boulevard.
With all systems go, Karl Budge, Head of the New Zealand event, says the stage is set for an unforgettable weekend in Ōtautahi, Christchurch: “It’s been a long road to our first-ever home event and we can’t wait to bring this new style of racing to New Zealand and give Cantabrians more of the sport they love. We’ve said throughout how privileged we are to deliver Christchurch’s first major sailing event, and we can’t wait for residents to experience it firsthand in a few weeks’ time,” Budge said.
“It will be a busy and exciting weekend, and we’d encourage all road users and our ticket holders to plan their journeys well in advance and arrive early when taking the event shuttle service from the city centre to Naval Point,” Budge said.

ABOUT THE ITM NEW ZEALAND SAIL GRAND PRIX | Ōtautahi, Christchurch is host city for the inaugural ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, setting sail on Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour 18-19 March 2023. Connected to New Zealand’s second largest city by tunnel and hill passes, Whakaraupō, Lyttelton Harbour is the southern edge of a great extinct volcano that created Banks Peninsula. Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke Rāpaki hold guardianship over the harbour and have worked closely with SailGP to bring the event to life. The 10th event on the Season 3 calendar, the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix is the last event before the Season Grand Finale in San Francisco. Find out more at

  • The ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix Race Village is located at Te Nukutai o Tapoa, Naval Point.
  • Live racing will be from 3.00PM - 4.30PM on both days, Sat 18 and Sun 19 Mar 2023.
  • Gates open from 12PM, and the Village will close at 6PM. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy live activations and the vibrant, festive atmosphere on-site.
  • Getting to and from the event - All ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix ticket categories include return fare to and from the Race village on official event shuttles. Shuttles will depart from the city centre live site, located opposite Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre each day, and return to Te Pae after racing. Shuttles to Naval Point will run from 11.30AM until 2.15PM, with return shuttles beginning from 4.30PM after the racing finishes. Additional information about event transport will be shared in the coming weeks.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE | As host city for the inaugural ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, ChristchurchNZ has prepared a suite of resources to help Cantabrians plan for, participate in and leverage the event. This includes information about traffic management and transportation, business resources and frequently asked questions (FAQs). Find out more at