No, they’re not going to jail … this is good news!
Construction began this week on a $20 million 5900m2 indoor sport facility, significantly expanding the capacity of Pettigrew.Green Arena.
Funding partners include the Government via the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) Covid Response and Recovery Fund contributing $6.4 million, along with $4.1 million from Napier City Council and $3m from New Zealand Lotteries Significant Project Fund. The last $5 million remains to be raised.
Youth participation in indoor sport is on the rise throughout New Zealand according to School Sport NZ. Their figures, cited here, referring only to youth participating in sport via secondary schools, nevertheless show clear trends.
Rugby Union participation seems to have peaked nationwide at 31,203 in 2011, and has declined over the past ten years to 24,061 as of 2020. In the same period, cricket participation has fallen from 11,878 (2011) to 9,305 in 2020.
In contrast, basketball over these ten years has risen from 18,244 (2011) to 24,212; futsal from 1,605 to 7,090; and volleyball from 15,859 to 22,141.
So indoor sport capacity has been stretched to the limit.
The number for these sports in Hawke’s Bay:
Netball (outdoor, the grand champion): 1,318
Rugby Union: 1,183
During this week’s announcement, Napier City Councillor Keith Price praised Regional Indoor Sports & Events Centre Trust chair Craig Waterhouse as the key driver of the project. “I have worked closely with Craig on this project and congratulate him on the work he has put in. He has driven this through many hurdles and if it wasn’t for him I don’t believe we would be turning the soil today.”
Waterhouse commented on the social and economic value of sport competition to the region: “The new facility’s extra capacity will enable us to attract national events especially at age group level and the region now has a very compelling sport facility proposition to host significant events with the regional sports park and all it offers as well. This will have not only a substantial impact on the health of our community, but also be an economic driver with additional sporting events held in Hawke’s Bay.”
The major funder of the facility, the Government’s Covid Response Fund, was represented by Economic and Regional Development Minister and Napier MP Stuart Nash, who also noted the economic stimulus the project provided and added: “The Pettigrew.Green Arena is already a valued recreational facility, but its popularity means it’s now too small. This new facility will change that and the new improved arena will be a fantastic asset for the whole region.”
The new facility, built by Apollo Projects, is slated to open in July 2022.