Te Rau­paraha Arena busier than ever

Kapi-Mana News - - TE RAUPARAHA ARENA - By KRIS DANDO

Te Rau­paraha Arena this year cel­e­brated its fifth birth­day – and it keeps go­ing from strength to strength. High­lights this year on the arena’s sports front in­cluded trans-Tas­man net­ball, with the Cen­tral Pulse hav­ing some nail­bit­ing en­coun­ters in front of sell­out crowds; the Ocea­nia bas­ket­ball cham­pi­onships; world vol­ley­ball champs qual­i­fy­ing; paint­ball na­tion­als; Spe­cial Olympics; New Zealand War­riors train­ing and the in­door bowls na­tional cham­pi­onships.

Porirua bas­ket­ball coach Deslea Wrathall said it was one of the best sta­di­ums for her sport she had en­coun­tered.

‘‘ I was at a tour­na­ment in Ger­many re­cently and have seen bas­ket­ball played in dozens of other coun­tries,’’ she said.

‘‘Te Rau­paraha [Arena] has got a great set-up: it’s close to the city cen­tre, and has the pool [Aquatic Cen­tre] next door.

‘‘It’s fan­tas­tic for bas­ket­ball and all sport in Porirua.’’

The Porirua Sports Awards are held there ev­ery year, and at this year’s din­ner Hur­ri­canes player and All Blacks squad mem­ber T J Per­e­nara was named the supreme win­ner.

When the Arena opened in Novem­ber 2008, 25 full- day book­ings were fore­cast for 2013, but the re­al­ity was so much bet­ter: 100 days.

More than 250,000 peo­ple have vis­ited the arena in the past 12 months.

Along with the sport that reg­u­larly books it out, life­style shows, Fes­ti­val of the El­e­ments, Maori Art Mar­ket, Dunk­leys Great New Zealand Craft Show, Polyfest, the Shine ed­u­ca­tion con­fer­ence and Porirua Busi­ness Ex­cel­lence Awards were hosted at the arena in 2013.

Mas­sive na­tional Je­ho­vah’s Wit­ness con­fer­ences in Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber brought hun­dreds of visi­tors to the city.

Whi­tireia Com­mu­nity Polytech­nic of­ten holds grad­u­a­tions there th­ese days.

In the lat­ter part of this year, a con­cert by lo­cal singer Aaradhna and a gospel show were par­tic­u­lar high­lights.

The naysay­ers who ob­jected to the fa­cil­ity have qui­etened over time.

Porirua City Coun­cil, which runs the arena, faced crit­i­cism for its ini­tial $17.5 mil­lion price tag, but $200,000 of the $1.7m an­nual run­ning costs is off­set by the Arena Fit­ness gym.

Photo: FAIR­FAX

Porirua’s Pulse: Net­ball side the Cen­tral Pulse, who play in the transTas­man ANZ Cham­pi­onship, have been based at Te Rau­paraha Arena since 2011.

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