New sports hub

by Mike Isle

New Zealand’s newest sporting hub was officially opened last Friday, and it is already benefitting Selwyn sporting clubs and organisations. Nga Puna Wai’s facilities in Wigram have been opening in stages since October last year, but Friday was its grand opening timed to coincide with the first day of the New Zealand Track and Field Championships.

It was the host venue of the inaugural Selwyn Secondary Schools Athletics Competition the previous week and has already been ring-fenced as the home ground for several Canterbury sporting codes.

Speaking at the opening, Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel said the opening of Nga Puna Wai was a “significant milestone’’ in the sporting communities’ recovery from the earthquakes.

“Today we remember all the events we have enjoyed at QEII, Porritt Park, Wilding Park and Rugby League Park and know that a part of what each of them was will forever be part of what Nga Puna Wai will become to the generations to come.’’ Athletics coach and former New Zealand sprint champion Bev Peterson said Nga Puna Wai had exceeded all the athletics community’s expectations.

“It is beyond our wildest dreams that we have this fantastic athletics track,’’ she said.

Selwyn Maister, from Canterbury Hockey, said that after witnessing the devastation the earthquakes caused at Porritt Park he could “scarcely believe’’ the quality of hockey’s new facilities.

“We have better facilities now than we’ve ever had before and the benefit of working with other sports,’’ Mr Maister said.

Rugby league coach Frank Endacott said to see the new facilities for league at Nga Puna Wai were “a dream come true.’’

“I can’t wait to see our young people playing out here — our future Kiwis,’’ he said.

Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Dr Megan Woods said Nga Puna Wai and the planned metro sports facility and multi-use arena would mean Christchurch has some of the best sporting facilities in the country.

“We have got these amazing facilities, so our tamariki and generations to come will continue to use and enjoy, and, importantly, make memories,’’ the minister said.