Council throws Sports Hall $50K lifeline

The New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame will get a lifeline from the Dunedin City Council to stay open until June next year.

The sports museum at the Dunedin Railway Station was set to shut at the end of 2020 — when Sport New Zealand’s funding runs out — but the city council has stepped in with $50,000 of extra money.

Cr Sophie Barker presented a notice of motion at a 10-year plan meeting and argued yesterday the move was about keeping heritage alive.

It was heritage content in a heritage precinct, she said.

The city council already provides a rental rebate and Sport NZ had provided $100,000 a year.

Councillors were unanimous in asking for a council staff report in January about options and costs for integrating the hall into the council’s museums, art galleries and attractions department.

They were not quite unanimous in deciding to give the sum from the Ara Toi budget to keep the hall open for another six months. Deputy mayor Christine Garey voted against.

Cr Barker’s request for a staff report at the end of next year about the potential of a single integrated museums and visitor attraction structure was voted down, 9-6.

Cr Barker said the planned closure of the hall, or its potential loss from the city, was a wake-up call.

Dunedin had produced such sporting heroes as Olympic gold medallists Yvette Williams (later Corlett) and Danyon Loader and the city needed to maintain its visitor attractions, she said.

Cr Lee Vandervis said the hall was a cultural asset that could be developed.

Cr Carmen Houlahan said a lot of people did not realise what was at the hall and the marketing had been ‘‘terrible’’.

Cr Chris Staynes said the hall had not been well marketed and it may not be in the right place, but he did not want to see it lost from the city.

Cr David Benson-Pope said hall chief executive Ron Palenski had assembled an amazing collection of artefacts and the hall ought to have appeal for corporate sponsors.

Cr Jules Radich said a lot more could be done, such as introducing interactive displays.

Cr Andrew Whiley said councillors agreed the hall of fame was run on a shoestring budget and he was saddened by Sport NZ pulling its support.

Cr Rachel Elder said using the $50,000 to keep the hall open until June would allow time for longer-term options to be explored.

Mayor Aaron Hawkins voted both for the $50,000 and the January council report, but was wary of costs expanding if the city council ended up running the hall.


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