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Former Tall Black Opens Mangakino Basketball Court

It was smiles all around as the new Mangakino basketball court proved to be a slam dunk with the community on Saturday.

Former Tall Black Tom Abercrombie was on hand to help with the grand opening, even manning the leaf blower during preparations, along with Taupō District Council elected members and staff, local iwi, and community members.

Mangakino ward councillor Kirsty Trueman said the turnout was “amazing”.

“What an honour it was to have Tom Abercrombie speak at the opening, shoot some hoops and play one-on-one with our youth. He had a little entourage of excited tamariki tailing his every move at one point.”

She said this project had been in the pipeline for “many years”.

“The old basketball court was the concrete floor of the demolished shops. MV Properties kindly let the community put up hoops and use the area as they did not have a community court. The uneven and pitted concrete was not ideal to play on and parents have said they are much happier now that their kids can play on a safe surface.

“Having a court in the town centre brings great vibrancy. It is a space for everyone and will be well used by our rangatahi keen to develop their basketball skills. It provides an activity to keep our youth busy and active, and we now have the potential to play and host competitions or social games in our community. A huge thanks to the council for supporting this project.”

Taupō District Council community engagement advisor Claire Dredge worked with local tamariki on choosing the court’s colours, a vibrant combination of purple and yellow, and said there was a great atmosphere at the court on Saturday morning.

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“It was wonderful to see the community come together and celebrate the completion of a project that means so much to them,” she said.

“We had a blessing, speeches, some beautiful waiata, food, music, and the kids – and some adults – got to play basketball with Tom Abercrombie. Everyone seemed to have a really good time and we’re looking forward to seeing the court being put to good use for years to come.”

The project was finished within budget and includes a basketball court, hoops, fencing, shelter, and seating.

The court surface is an innovative new sports turf designed specifically for basketball and netball, which balances useability with affordability. Council also took on board feedback from nearby residents regarding noise and light disturbance and took steps to ensure any disruption is minimised.

The turf used will reduce slipping and injuries, deliver excellent bounce and traction, and reduce the noise by 30 to 32 per cent. Plus, the adjustable-height hoops mean it is suitable for all ages.

© Scoop Media

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