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First Celebration Held at EIT Institute of Sport & Health

The take home message from Sir Graeme Avery at Friday night’s EIT Institute of Sport & Health stakeholder launch was a compelling one.

“Today marks the start of a transformational journey for our region – one that’ll see Hawke’s Bay people live healthier lifestyles for a longer healthier life BUT, the job is not yet finished,” he said.

“There is plenty more work to be completed in order to realise our full vision, and delays will prove costly for the region.”

In addressing the 80 attendees, Sir Graeme stressed the Trust’s appreciation for the generous support it has received to date, from Councils, grant makers, philanthropic families and businesses alike.

“We simply wouldn’t be standing here inside this magnificent new facility if it wasn’t for the fact we live in a very supportive community - one that evidently shares in our vision,” says Sir Graeme.

“Early support from the likes of Hastings District Council, EIT, Rodney Green, PAK’nSAVE Hastings, Royston Hospital and Royston Health Trust helped immensely in gaining that all-important initial momentum.”

Built by the Hawke’s Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust, the doors to the region’s new premier destination for sport & health will open to the public on Monday 8th July.

Sir Graeme said the opening will herald the beginning of an array of people from throughout Hawke’s Bay having access to incredible facilities, across the spectrums of health, wellbeing and sport.

“It will also enable the Trust to deliver leading programmes across a wide range of targeted community groups, in a bid to help people on their individual journey’s to be the best they can be.”

Confirming EIT as the naming partner of the facility was a breakthrough point in the fundraising campaign.

“Tonight also gives rise to the opportunity to announce the finer details of the Trusts partnership with EIT in this project,” said Graeme.

“The EIT School of Health and Sport Science will deliver programmes and research via their onsite teaching spaces, Research Centre and Sports Science Laboratory.”

EIT Chief Executive, Chris Collins expressed his pleasure in celebrating a key milestone of the project and stressed the strong alignment EIT has to the Institute and the driving vision behind it.

“We identified early on that this was one of those unique opportunities to be involved in a visionary project that will change the lives of people in our communities, and EIT is proud to be a part of it.”

“Our school of Health and Sports Science students will be able to engage with the communities through programmes and research, and really be a part of helping lift the health and wellbeing of our region.”

He said the partnership also posed a great opportunity for EIT to expand its footprint with new state-of-the-art facilities, so the tertiary provider could evolve its offerings and continue to ensure the ongoing needs of the region are being met.

“Just like Sir Graeme, we see this project as far more than just bricks and mortar – it’s about the programmes and the people. The students, the staff and Hawke’s Bay community at large.

“Together with other partners, we will make a real difference in our region.”

Sir Graeme said for the Trust to realise its full vision, a further $7.5m needs to be raised, beyond the $3m grant recently awarded by the NZ Lottery Grants Board, and the $7m awaiting confirmation from Central and Local Government. This would ensure the full plans for stage 1, including construction of the Rodney Green Hostel and new wings at each end of the main building are achieved at the earliest opportunity.

“Delays really will cost us all and we’d risk seeing another generation facing very poor health outcomes.”

“It is clear we have passionate community behind us, and together WE WILL get there,” he said.

A Public Open Day is scheduled for Sunday 7th July, from 10am-2pm at the EIT Institute if Sport & Health, 42 Percival Road, Hastings.

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