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