New home of netball opens

Christchurch netballers are celebrating the move into a new purpose-built indoor sports complex, ending their days of playing outdoors in cold winter temperatures.

The Christchurch Netball Centre at Ngā Puna Wai sports hub was officially opened last Friday, with it set to become the South Island’s premier sport and recreation venue.

A community open day on Sunday saw crowds relishing the opportunity to look inside the purpose-built $16.5 million complex.

Christchurch Netball Centre general manager Tom Houghton said the community facility was available for use by all sporting codes.

"It's been a long time coming. It was interesting, I was speaking to some of our life members here and they said 30 or 40 years ago they dreamed of having a facility like this.

"So you could say it's been many years in the making, but actually the build's gone really, really quickly. It started last year and finished on time".

A large crowd watched a variety of sporting displays at the Christchurch Netball Centre's public...
A large crowd watched a variety of sporting displays at the Christchurch Netball Centre's public open day last Sunday. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN
Visitors got to see displays of a whole range of sports on offer at the new community venue.

Despite the new facility, Houghton insists netball will continue its 100-year association with South Hagley Park.

They'll work with the Christchurch City Council, who purchased the netball pavilion for use as a multicultural centre, to continue playing games on the courts.

"We've still got the courts there, so we'll still have some netball options down at Hagley Park in winter, particularly for some of our junior grades. We're going to be across both Nga Puna Wai and Hagley Park".

Houghton expects the use of the centre to ramp up in the new year, with it set to be in constant use day and night once the netball season kicks off in April.

- By Geoff Sloan
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air