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Manukau Eyes Sports and Pacific Centre

by Selwyn Manning

Manukau City could become the sports and cultural Mecca of the region if a proposed plan succeeds in developing an entertainment stadium for up to 20,000 people.

The proposal is being backed by a group of Counties-Manukau business and sporting figures.

The stadium would be built on a 26ha Great South Road site opposite Rainbows End and near the Manukau/Southern Motorway interchange. The land is owned by Manukau City Council. An approach will be made to Manukau City Council to lease the land as a commercial enterprise. The promoters of the complex hope it will be completed by 2002.

The development is estimated to cost around $40 million and will include a 15,000 outdoor seating arena and an indoor stadium catering for up to 3500 people will also be suitable for public performances. An arts centre and tourist complex would be attached to the development.

A charitable trust will be set up prior to Christmas which will endeavour to raise funds for the project. Capital to build the complex will be raised from selling part of the site along with naming rights to the stadium and sponsorship deals.

The area has been dogged by such developments in the past. Sir Roger Douglas pushed for a $125 million indoor sports complex in the early 1990s. But the “superdome” was plagued by controversy after financial advisers Dunlop Kidd collapsed.

Several proposals since then have also fallen over - along with a pacific market enterprise earmarked for the site.

But this latest idea also has the backing of Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis who believes the complex will not just be another stadium but will provide a Pacific tourism centre which can be promoted as a tourist destination as well as providing a modern entertainment facility for Manukau’s peoples.

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