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New netball centre officially open

Media Release
10 August 2006

New netball centre officially open

Prime Minister Helen Clark, herself a former netball player, bounded on to the stage at Auckland Netball’s new multi-million dollar centre on Saturday (5 August), to officially open the facility.

Each of the organisation’s 90 clubs and schools provided a representative; they stood in an innovative formation for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Prime Minister, together with the Mayor of Auckland City, Dick Hubbard, unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening.

A raft of dignitaries attended the event including the Minister of Consumer Affairs and Auckland Issues Judith Tizard, MPs Mark Goshe and Allan Peachey, Manukau City Mayor Sir Barry Curtis, Auckland City councillors, Ngati Whatua Komatua Takutai Wikiriwhi, plus representatives of Netball New Zealand and the community organisations which helped fund the centre.

The new centre in Mt Wellington houses a pavilion for administrative facilities, three indoor netball courts and 46 outdoors. Further stages will bring the total number to 46 outdoor and eight indoor courts.

Auckland Netball moved from its existing Windmill Road courts in Mt Eden earlier this year. It had been based there since it was formed in 1932.

The chair of Auckland Netball, Allison Ferguson, told those attending the opening that it was a new era for the organisation, not just because of the move from the old premises, but because it offered a whole new standard of facility that will enable Auckland Netball to grow.

The Prime Minister emphasised the need for support of sport at grass-roots level, if players are to succeed at the highest level. “You don’t get successful elite teams at the top unless you get it right down through every level to the base,” she said.

“Our netballers are doing an amazing job as role models for young girls, in terms of health and fitness. They demonstrate incredible dignity on-court, where they take lots of knocks. Their self-control and discipline are a model for dealing with the knocks in life,” said the Prime Minister.

Ms Clark, who admitted playing for Epsom Girls Grammar at the Windmill Rd courts from 1963 to 1967, said the new facilities were an incredible step up.

Auckland City Mayor, Dick Hubbard, congratulated everyone who had worked so hard behind the scenes to turn the idea into a reality. “It’s not just about the here and now,” he said, “But about the future. It will become a hub for hundreds of thousands of young people who will meet here.”

Auckland Netball’s major partner in the project, Auckland City Council contributed $7 million toward the cost of the first stage of the complex.

The new centre gives Auckland Netball the opportunity to offer a wide range of grassroots competitions at all levels, leading on to regional and national competitions both indoors and out, and to be able to hire out the facilities to the wider community.

A date for the commencement of stage two has yet to be decided.

ENDS

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