Massey mechatronics student lights up Pacific Game

Michael Rasmussen, Henry Rasmussen (father), Sean Rasmussen and Patrick Rasmussen (uncle).

A Massey University staff member and student has helped build the centrepiece at the heart of the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.

The games were officially opened on Sunday July 7 with a three-hour celebration at Apia Park Stadium, where the cauldron was lit. But just a month out from the event, the seven-metre high cauldron had not even been built.

Sean Rasmussen, who works as a technical services manager for Massey’s School of Food and Advanced Technology, was approached by his cousin to help rectify the situation. Mr Rasmussen is also completing a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (Mechatronics) part-time at Massey,

His cousin, who lives in Samoa and runs Rasmussen Engineering, called him to ask if he could help build the structure in a time frame of just three weeks. Travelling from Massey’s Auckland campus, he was on a plane to Samoa within the week.

“Being part-Samoan made this offer very difficult to turn down as it is a beautiful design and there has never been anything like it made in Samoa. It was a tall order, but I managed to complete the project two days before the Pacific Games opening ceremony,” Mr Rasmussen says.

The structure is seven metres tall and 2.6 metres in diameter. At the opening ceremony, the cauldron was lit by the games torch, which had travelled around Samoa for two weeks prior to the Games. It was lit by Samoan weightlifter Ele Opeloge and a 20-minute fireworks display finished the event.

“Seeing it light up on the night was something I will never forget,” Mr Rasmussen says. “Getting on the front page of the Samoan Observer newspaper in Samoa was pretty special.”

He says it has even been suggested that when the Games finish on July 20,, the cauldron will be moved to a new park on the waterfront in Apia.

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