Sporting chance: Super-sized Rodney Green Foundation Arena opens in Hawke’s Bay
The Rodney Green Foundation Arena officially opened in Taradale on Thursday, featuring six basketball and netball courts, 12 volleyball courts and three futsal courts.
It is one of New Zealand’s largest indoor sports centers and the Taradale facility is now open and ready to transform sport in Hawke’s Bay.
The $20 million Rodney Green Foundation Arena, built by Apollo Projects adjacent to the existing Pettigrew Green Arena, will triple the number of seats available on Gloucester Street.
On an area of 5,900 m² there are another six basketball and netball courts, 12 volleyball courts and three futsal courts.
It becomes clear how great the lack of indoor facilities in the region was. The facility was 90 percent booked for the year before it even opened on Thursday.
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The two arenas will be known collectively as the Rodney Green Arenas.
According to the Regional Indoor Sports & Events Center Trust, the new facility is New Zealand’s equal-largest indoor basketball center, volleyball center and futsal center.
Regional Indoor Sports & Events Center Trust (Risec) chairman Craig Waterhouse said there is strong demand for indoor courts in Hawke’s Bay and a massive shortage of them as basketball, volleyball, netball, futsal and badminton are all experiencing significant growth had.
“This is compounded by the fact that while we have tripled the pitch area with the new arena, it already has 90 percent booking capacity for 2023 and we’ve also seen a 270 percent increase in usage of the current three-pitch arena,” said Waterhouse.
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According to Waterhouse, 90 percent of regular users of the facilities at Rodney Green Arenas are under the age of 19, with 30 percent being between the ages of three and 11.
Construction received a $6.7 million grant from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, $4.1 million from Napier City Council, $2 million from Hastings District Council and $3 million from the New Zealand Lotteries Significant Project Fund.
According to Basketball Hawke’s Bay general manager Nick Hogan, local sports governing bodies are already negotiating to hold national-level events at the venue. Basketball Hawke’s Bay has secured a New Zealand Central Zone secondary school basketball qualifier to be held at the venue in June.
This weekend’s Ford Futsal Super League (National League) matches will be played at this venue.
Central Football general manager Shane McKenzie said the increased capacity would help local players better prepare for tournaments.
“New Zealand Football is now aware of the venue’s capacity and will be evaluating the venue for future events at national and age group levels.”
A spokesman for Volleyball Hawke’s Bay said it can now offer a club competition, a Pasifika community church competition, an elite competition and skill sessions for players of all ages.
Hawke’s Bay Netball general manager Denise Aiolupotea said it was in talks to host the alternate-year Lower North Island Secondary School Championships in 2024 with Wellington and was also in talks with the NZ Mixed & Men’s Netball Association to to host their national event at the venue in 2024.
Napier MP Stuart Nash, who until recently was Secretary of State for Regional Economic Development, said the new arena is a significant government investment to enable better sports planning for younger children as indoor sport continues to grow.
“It will also improve economic outcomes as the two arenas are now able to host large domestic and international events,” Nash said.
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Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said there will be many positive outcomes for the well-being of the Napier community, particularly where youth are the primary users.
“We want to make sport and leisure accessible to our people. Our council members have visited us and seen the smiles on our youth enjoying the new arena,” said Wise.
Hastings Borough Council Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was exciting to see the regional multi-sport facility open.
“Our Council was proud to support the new PGA development that recognizes the rapidly growing number of young people playing volleyball, netball, futsal and basketball,” said Hazlehurst.
“This facility is an investment in the health and well-being of our youth in Hawke’s Bay.”