Arena a suc­cess

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Five years af­ter its con­tro­ver­sial launch, Te Rau­paraha Arena has proved crit­ics wrong.

The sports and events sta­dium will cel­e­brate its an­niver­sary on Novem­ber 21, hav­ing ex­ceeded even its own staff’s ex­pec­ta­tions of suc­cess.

In 2008, 25 full-day book­ings were fore­cast for 2013; the re­al­ity is 100. In the past year, 259,000 peo­ple have vis­ited the arena.

‘‘I’ve had a lot of peo­ple say to me, ‘What did we ever do be­fore the sta­dium?’’’ busi­ness man­ager He­len Brookes said.

‘‘I don’t think we knew what we could achieve.’’

Dur­ing its de­sign and con­struc­tion, the arena copped huge op­po­si­tion from ratepay­ers. Crit­i­cisms in­cluded its cost – $17.5 mil­lion – its en­croach­ment on to the green space of Te Rau­paraha Park; and even its name. Some be­lieved it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate to name a sta­dium af­ter a Ngati Toa war­lord.

‘‘We’d just come up against one ob­jec­tion af­ter another,’’ Ms Brookes said.

In fact, the arena was built to bud­get, and two-thirds of the cost came from grants and the sale of Aotea block. Al­though the arena costs ratepay­ers $1.7m a year, its gym in­come of $200,000 a year helped with run­ning costs, man­ager Wil­lie Tau­rima said.

‘‘Eight out of 10 peo­ple who were against the build­ings have prob­a­bly calmed down and said, ‘It’s not a white ele­phant’.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.