A Queenstowner was so much part of the Black Caps’ amazing Cricket World Cup campaign that he even sang the team song.
Ian Paterson was the New Zealand team’s World Cup-appointed team liaison manager throughout the tournament, starting with two warm-up games against Pakistan.
He jumped ship from his earlier role this summer, and for the past three summers, as NZ Cricket’s international touring team liaison officer.
Like his role with visiting international teams, Paterson’s World Cup work mainly involved coordinating players’ transport, accommodation and luggage transfers.
For the NZ team, that included 13 sets of golf clubs.
On match and travel days, he’d often work 18- to 19-hour days.
Working for a world sporting tournament, Paterson says a difference was the heightened level of security - first up on match days, for example, he had to get the team van police-checked.
Coach transfer timetables also had to be more rigidly adhered to, than during normal tours.
For Paterson, an unexpected feature was how much he was embraced by the team.
At his first Black Caps training session, he says he and the team’s security officer were summonsed into the team huddle.
After team victories, he’d join their celebrations and team talks.
“Then we’d finish off by embracing each other and then we’d sing the team song.”
When the team won its thrilling semi-final against South Africa, Paterson says he was in the coach’s box.
“When [Grant Elliott] hit that winning six, everything just erupted.
“We were just grabbing each other and hugging and jumping up and down.
“I ran down those stairs like one of those sprint runners.”
After hugging and high-fiving the players, he joined their walk around the ground to acknowledge the crowd.
“It was just incredible - there were even tears in our eyes, just for sheer enjoyment of the success.”
Going round the country, Paterson also realised how much support the team was engendering.
When the team arrived in Auckland after losing the final to Australia, Paterson joined them at a red-carpet function.
“There were people wanting to shake my hand, and old ladies that wanted to give me a hug.”
He was invited to stay in Auckland for the NZ Cricket Awards two nights later: “I was quite humbled by that.”
Paterson says what struck him most about the Black Caps was their selflessness.
“There might have been individual star performances in there but you never heard an ‘I’ comment, it was always for the team.”
After 104 days out of town this summer, Paterson says he’s delighted to be back in Queenstown, not least to rejoin his wife.
“Jude’s bloody happy that I’m home, I can tell you that.”
Paterson chuckles that the Aussies will be among the visiting teams he’ll look after next summer.
“I can feel the knives in my back from the Black Caps players now, especially when I’m wearing the green and gold uniform.”