Purpose behind ‘fun event’

Waitaki Girls’ High School year 13 pupils ready to lend a hand at the youth disco tonight are ...
Waitaki Girls’ High School year 13 pupils ready to lend a hand at the youth disco tonight are (front row from left) Monica Ferguson, Kalani Fisilau, Allie Senior, Maddie Byrne and (back row from left) Natalie Bedford, Emily Neal and Zoe Isbister. PHOTO: JULES CHIN
Running a "fun event" and creating meaningful ways for the community to contribute to the Waitaki Events Centre fund are the aims of the youth disco being held tonight at the Loan and Merc in Oamaru.

The new event centre will be the biggest development in Waitaki for many years and has a budget of $26million for the main build and $6m for ancillary works, but the Waitaki Events Centre Trust is still seeking another $4m.

The event comprises two discos on the same night — one for year 1-4 children (where children need to be accompanied by an adult over 16) and another for year 5-8, where there will be substantial supervision.

Events Centre trustee Deidre Senior said the event would be about having fun and getting the community involved.

Representatives of the Waitaki District Youth Council and about 15 Waitaki Girl’s year 13 pupils will be on hand on the night to help supervise and manage the event.

"It was important to have them as part of the project as well," Mrs Senior said.

"They’ve got all the good jobs. They’ll be on the dance floor encouraging the dancing.

"[It’ll be] a whole lotta fun, really. We’ll have some games, we’ll be looking for king and queen of the dance floor, too," she said.

She thanked Sally Ann Donnelly for her support, "who was so generous with her time and the venue".

Mrs Senior said when the trust had a $32m funding target and they were $15m away from the target, it was quite hard to engage the community, but now was the right time.

"At that stage the community was still thinking ‘will it actually happen?’

"But now we’re in the vicinity of $4m, now is the time to engage the community and make people part of it really.

"When things start happening in a few months time, people will be able to say ‘well actually we’ve been part of that and we’ve contributed’," Mrs Senior said.

The original start date for the project was next month, although the Waitaki District Council has not publicly announced the beginning of the build.

The projected cost for a six-court stadium in Oamaru is $24m, and plans include conference facilities, a creche, catering kitchen, cafe and bar facilities, a gym, storage and spectator areas.

Mrs Senior said they "effectively have enough for the build" and were now raising funds for the fit out and the "carparks and things like that".

The event was one in a series planned to create "inclusivity" around fundraising for the centre.

"Some people aren’t in a position, especially at the moment, with the cost of living, to make big donations but I’m sure they’re happy for their children to come along to a disco and have a fun event.

"We’re just hoping to engage the community in the first of a few community events that we’re having."

Mrs Senior, also principal of Weston School and a North Otago netball stalwart, said the wait for the new centre had been "too long".

"I played rep netball 20 years ago and we were always hoping it would happen then.

"It couldn’t happen for me or my kids, but I’m hoping we can make it happen for others," she said.