Ariki Tibble, Crankworx Rotorua Event Director

Man and lade with their children walking through the mountains

I first met Ariki when he was working for Sport Bay of Plenty, when he helped introduce the mini-marathon into the Rotorua Marathon weekend. 

His enthusiasm for the new event, which has now grown to host over 2000 participants each year, led him to volunteer to be the lead runner, where he would head a few hundred excited kids around a 2.195km course. However, the kids were so fast, he had to sprint most of the way to stay in front, leaving him shattered after crossing the line. When I asked him later how it went, he told he loved it, with a huge smile on his face. 

Ariki is now the event director for Crankworx Rotorua, leading a team of slighter bigger kids around Skyline Rotorua each year, the main venue for New Zealand’s premier mountain biking event. 

In 2021, Crankworx Rotorua will be held in November, a move from its traditional March date.

The event has grown quickly since its launch in 2015, to a point where only in its fourth year it was awarded the best sports event at New Zealand’s Events Associations 2018 annual awards ceremony

Ariki has been involved from the beginning after being invited to be part of the event by his cousin Tak Mutu, who understood the qualities Ariki would bring. 

I once asked Ariki if he would like to get involved in more events. His reply surprised me, as he told me it wasn’t events that excited him, it was the challenge of building a team to deliver on goals that he enjoyed most. He has certainly done that at Crankworx, creating a team that deliver excellence year after year.

Earlier in the year I was fortunate to see Ariki and the Crankworx team in action when taking part in the events ‘Leadership Programme’. The three day programme offers its participants an in-sight into the operational side of the event and the opportunity to meet and learn from the team whilst they are in action, including Ariki. It is a programme I would definitely recommend to any budding organiser.

As Crankworx Rotorua continues to grow, there will be new goals to achieve and more challenges for Ariki to overcome. But you can be sure that whatever happens, Ariki will lead his team well and finish with a big smile on his face.

Below are few questions put to Ariki that we thought you would be interested in reading:

How long have you been involved in the event industry and what led you to become involved? 

I’ve been involved since around 2009 when I started as a Primary School Events Coordinator for the Rotorua Primary School Sports Association running 4 events per year. I got involved as I was looking for work, and they needed someone to have a crack at assisting the development of their event portfolio.

If someone was to ask you about your job, how would you describe what you do? 

Dreaming and realising.

What has been your best experience so far whilst working in the industry, and what do you look back on with most pride? 

My best experience is always reconnecting with my family after being absent for a period of event time. I feel like im on a tour of duty during event time,  but for me the satisfaction comes about in the spaces in between.

What advice would you offer someone new to the industry? 

Find someone who you look up to, who is really good at what they do (and who is well respected by those who are closest to them) and find ways to be next to them while they work. If you can slot in under their umbrella you will be pulled along in their current.

Is there a particular aspect of organising you enjoy more and why? 

I think I would describe my approach as more of a compulsion than a pastime of enjoyment. When I’m near anything being organised I cant help but put a lens over the logistics- I just cant help myself. I think I do get satisfaction from seeing something take on a life of its own, and when something runs like clockwork I do enjoy that.

What is your event related ambition for 2021, what would you like to achieve? 

I would like to shift my involvement from continuously diving deep on all aspects of the event, and try to take a lighter touch to my approach (whilst not compromising the finished product). That will indeed be a big achievement for me!

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