Future investment in Splash Planet to be considered
With Splash Planet’s peak season nearly upon us, thoughts are turning to the ongoing sustainability of this popular facility in the heart of Hastings.
Since it was reconstructed from Fantasyland in 1998, visitors in their thousands from near (47 per cent of visitors are local) and far have flocked to the water theme park every summer.
Since 2010, more than 100,000 people have streamed through its gates each year. Annual season highlights include the Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi day, which brings more than 3000 into the park.
The highest attendance is between Boxing Day and the end of January, with more than 53,000 visitors recorded for the month of January last year.
For most, a day out at Splash Planet is an anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed highlight of the summer.
Feedback on social media is overwhelmingly positive, with comments along the lines of: “Drove especially from Gisborne to Hastings with the express purpose of getting to Splash Planet with my family. Amazing fun and my wife and the kids had an unbelievably fun time.”
And: “Splash Planet is an awesome day out for the family. There is something for kids of all ages, [an] awesome toddler pool, kids’ pool, and the lazy river has a decent current to actually not be boring. The rides, kayaks and flying fox makes for an even better day out. Facilities are also clean. Wish there was a place like it in Auckland!!”
This level of success is testament to the attractions Splash offers.
The Hastings District Council provides annual funding to maintain and improve the facility, however, some of the attractions are getting to an age that they need more investment than just maintenance.
In addition, to maintain or even grow the number of visitors and ensure their experience continues to be memorable, the council is considering further investment in additional features.
Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and councillors took a tour of the facility this week to make an up-to-date, on-the-ground assessment of the park.
Mrs Hazlehurst said Splash Planet was the largest water theme park in New Zealand.
“We need to continue to invest in upgrading and maintaining this much-loved asset to provide a top class facility that offers visitors a fantastic experience.
“This is a hugely popular, fun place for our local people, as well as a signature Hastings destination for those from outside the region.
“With attendance numbers growing our council will be considering what level of investment is needed to future-proof Splash Planet for the years ahead.
Group manager community facilities and programmes Alison Banks said that she will be working with Splash Planet manager Peran Hutchings over this summer season to look at options and opportunities to grow the facility – with a proposal to be presented to councillors early next year.