Big arena ‘not competing’ with Porirua
A proposed 12,000-seater indoor arena in Wellington would not compete against Te Rauparaha Arena because of its larger size and differing purpose, Porirua Mayor Mike Tana says.
The Wellington Regional Strategy Committee, which includes the region’s mayors, agreed in principal last week to advance plans to build an arena modelled on the Spark Arena (previously Vector) in Auckland somewhere in Wellington City.
Wellington City Council has been working on the idea for the past 18 months and has budgeted $60 million in its Long-Term Plan for the project, but other councils in the region may be asked to pay a levy, as they continue to do for the Westpac Stadium.
Porirua Mayor Mike Tana said the proposed arena would not be in competition with Porirua’s 3000-seater Te Rauparaha Arena, which was completed for about $17 million in 2008.
The proposed arena would suit far bigger events than the Porirua arena, while it would be cost inhibitive for smaller ones to go there.
And while Te Rauparaha was a top place for sport and conferences, the new arena would be more designed for concerts.
‘‘It’s not in the same market as ours, so I don’t see the risk,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s going to be good for the region. It’s not competing with what we’ve got at the moment.’’
Who will pay what for the arena had not been agreed yet.
Wellington City Mayor Justin Lester said possible sites for the new arena could be near Westpac Stadium, the railway station, the waterfront, or the central city entertainment precinct.
Other sites around the region would also be considered, and it would replace 5600-capacity TSB Arena.
Wellington concert promoter Phil Sprey, who has long been advocating for a covered venue bigger than the TSB Arena but smaller than Westpac Stadium, said the announcement was good news.
Big international acts were increasingly playing multiple nights in smaller arenas, rather than braving unpredictable weather and the logistical challenges of filling a stadium, he said.
He urged planners to build a 15,000-seat arena to future-proof the venue. ‘‘Then you could see all the major artists that have been playing Vector Arena.’’
Currently, Wellington regional ratepayers contribute to a stadium levy in excess of $2m a year to help fund Westpac Stadium.
The levy ends within the next year, and the region’s councils will consider whether it could be continued to support a new arena.
Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said a larger indoor arena in the Wellington region would see more acts coming through and the stadium would continue to be viable for bigger shows.
Wellington’s arena would target the same acts that play in Auckland, says promoter Phil Sprey, below with Ozzy Osbourne. Porirua’s Te Rauparaha Arena is a good size for sports, above.