Blackcaps cricketer Brendon McCullum
Mayor Wade-Brown said the award was a fitting recognition of the New Zealand Cricket Captain’s achievement to be the first New Zealander to reach the triple century, therefore ensuring a Test Series victory for the Black Caps.
“Wellingtonians and the cricket world congratulate Brendon McCullum on his magnificent achievement,” said Mayor Wade-Brown. “Brendon’s innings was a study in talent, determination and perseverance, reaching 302 off 537 balls over two full days in the middle.
“The Basin Reserve is rightly regarded worldwide as a special Test venue and has hosted many triumphs and dramatic moments. Brendon’s magnificent innings will be remembered for decades to come by the thousands of people at the Basin, and the tens of thousands of others who stopped everything in the middle of a working day to witness sports history being made.”
Previous recipients of the Keys to the City were Sir Peter Jackson and Sir Richard Taylor, for their unique contributions to the city. The Keys to the City would ensure that Brendon will always be "at home" in the city of his greatest sporting performance.
Brendon McCullum has indicated he will accept the Keys at a ceremony planned for when he is available for travel, expected to be in June, and said he is ‘honoured and humbled by the gesture’.
Deputy Mayor Justin Lester, a self-described cricket devotee, applauded the momentous occasion after following the innings all weekend on the radio “in a time-honoured kiwi tradition,” he said.
“For the thousands of fans at the Basin Reserve and the tens of thousands more watching and listening to broadcasts, Brendon’s innings was an unforgettable spectacle.
"At 94 for 5 I had some serious doubts, but as the innings progressed it seemed every ball brought another milestone and partnership record until finally the 300 mark was achieved with spine-tingling celebration.
“It was a moment we were all so proud of, and I’m glad it happened at the spiritual home of New Zealand cricket, The Basin Reserve,” said Cr Lester.