Mementoes of sporting facilities lost due to the earthquakes now have a new home at Christchurch’s Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub.
A discus thrown during the 1974 Commonwealth Games at QEII Park, a framed photo of Porritt Park, a street sign for Rugby League Park, and a framed photograph of a Davis Cup tie played between New Zealand and Argentina at Wilding Park in the 1980s were today presented to Mayor Lianne Dalziel for safe keeping at the Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub(external link).
Ngā Puna Wai has been built to replace earthquake damaged sports facilities across Christchurch, including the athletics and field amenities at QEII Park, the hockey turfs at Porritt Park, some of the tennis courts at Wilding Park, and the rugby league fields displaced from Rugby League Park in Addington by Christchurch Stadium.
It has been developed through a partnership between Christchurch City Council, Athletics Canterbury, Canterbury Hockey, Rugby League Canterbury, Tennis Canterbury and Sport Canterbury and is located in Halswell, off Augustine Drive.
The new sporting facilities have been opening in stages since October last year but today was the sports hub's grand opening. It was timed to coincide with the first day of the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track and Field Championships(external link), which are being held at Ngā Puna Wai this weekend.
Speaking at the grand opening, Mayor Dalziel said the opening of Ngā Puna Wai was a "significant milestone’’ in the sporting communities’ recovery from the earthquakes.
Thanking all those involved, she said the collaboration that sat behind the delivery of the new sporting facilities had been exemplary.
“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 Ngā 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 Ngā Puna Wai were “a dream come true.’’
“I can’t wait to see our young people playing out here – our future Kiwis,’’ he said.
Lindsay North, from Tennis Canterbury, said the 12 new tennis courts at Ngā Puna Wai would enable tennis to grow the game in Christchurch.
Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Dr Megan Woods said Ngā Puna Wai and the planned metro sports facility and mutli-use arena will mean that 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.