Castle impressed by 'big thinking' hub in recent visit

Friday, May 13 2022

Castle impressed by 'big thinking' hub in recent visit

Sport Taranaki

Taranaki could soon be setting the standard for the delivery of provincial sport, recreation and wellness says Sport New Zealand CEO Raelene Castle.

Castle visited Taranaki recently to discuss progress on the Tūparikino Active Community Hub, the Taranaki Different and Better project and meet with Sport Taranaki staff.  

With a foundational commitment of $40m from the New Plymouth District Council Long Term Plan; detailed planning and preparation for the Hub is moving fast for the project and its foundation partners Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa, Sport Taranaki and New Plymouth District Council.

Taranaki Different & Better is a collaborative project seeking to transform the traditional ways sport and recreation is governed and delivered to tackle longstanding issues with the sector and provide better quality experiences for participants. The Hub will provide quality, consolidated facilities with design and programming flexibility. Both projects are committed to developing financially sustainable models for future sport and recreation and have community wellbeing and people at their heart.

Speaking to a gathering of sporting and educational stakeholders Castle said she was impressed by the groundswell of community support behind both projects which were working to provide top class community wellness and sport facilities and boost collaboration.

"I want to congratulate you for being brave; for thinking big,” she said. “You could set the standard for how sport and recreation can be delivered in a region of this size.”

Sport New Zealand are excited about the progress being made and would work hard to support the projects at a local level and advocate for them nationally, she said.

Tūparikino Active Community Hub Poututohu/ Cultural Consultant Te Poihi Campbell said the project governance, including high level representation from New Plymouth District Council, funders, iwi and hapū were helping to drive the project forward.

“Having key governance experience and an intimate knowledge of the community is key.” 

Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa CEO Dion Tuuta was part of the governance team, assisted by Rita Rukuwai, of Tūparikino hapū and Donald Harris of Ngāti Te Whiti.

“We are proud to support the development of the Tūparikino Active Community Hub as a place of wellbeing for our entire community while promoting the history and stories of Ngāti Te Whiti and Ngāti Tūparikino hapū. It will be a place of health and a place of learning,” Tuuta said.

Western Institute of Technology CEO John Snook said the Hub was part of an important collaboration that would create a health, sport, trade and educational legacy. With the significant investment in WITT’s campus on the horizon and the development of the hub both facilities would strengthen each other and effectively work as one campus.

"I love the hauora (wellbeing) and matauranga (educational) principles of the project...rather than duplicate resources we are working together ... WITT has 100 per cent support for this project."

New Plymouth District Council Hub Partnerships Manager Emma Crofskey said detailed, long term financial modelling was just one tool being used to ensure efficient collaboration.

“We are working to get everyone joined up and driving these facilities as hard as we can so we can optimise them,” she said.

Sport Taranaki CEO Michael Carr said both projects were truly collaborative and will work as part of the wider sporting and community network. “This is not going to be in isolation, this is going to be a network approach, we are at the starting line…but we now know that our community needs it.”