Bas­ket­ball court planned

Whangarei Report - - NEWS - By Kristin Edge

A square slab of unin­spir­ing con­crete in O¯ tan­garei is to be trans­formed into a bas­ket­ball fa­cil­ity the com­mu­nity can be proud of.

There are cur­rently yel­low lines de­lin­eat­ing the court area but there are no hoops and noth­ing that re­ally draws peo­ple to the site off Mck­in­non Cr.

But plans have been drawn up for an area that is sure to at­tract more at­ten­tion.

It’s hoped that around the bas­ket­ball court spon­sor­ship will al­low for pic­nic ta­bles, artis­tic fenc­ing, player seat­ing, water foun­tains, gar­dens and rub­bish bins.

Sport North­land Whanga¯ rei com­mu­nity con­nec­tor Ryan Maraki is in­volved in the project and said through a se­ries of hui youth iden­ti­fied the ren­o­va­tion of the old bas­ket­ball court as a pri­or­ity.

The project was pre­sented to the Kainga Ora Re­ju­ve­na­tion project steer­ing group and as a re­sult Sport North­land part­nered with North­land DHB and the de­sign process be­gan with Akau ¯ Stu­dio con­sult­ing with the O¯ tan­garei com­mu­nity.

Oth­ers be­hind the project who have con­trib­uted fi­nan­cially are Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment, Te Puni Ko¯ kiri, Ma­nia PHO, Hous­ing New Zealand and the Whanga¯ rei Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Sup­port has also come from Te¯ Awhiowhio, Otan­garei Marae and the Otan­garei ¯ Neigh­bour­hood Safety Panel.

“I hope it be­comes a trea­sured space in the com­mu­nity. It’s more than just throw­ing up hoops. It’s go­ing to be a cen­tral piece for the do­main,” Maraki said.

Fol­low­ing the hui there was a sug­ges­tion there should be a memo­rial to muchloved ed­u­ca­tor Matua Alex Henare in­cor­po­rated.

A pou in the mid­dle of a koru de­signed gar­den will be a memo­rial.

Maraki said hav­ing the com­mu­nity in­volved in the de­sign re­sulted in it be­ing more mean­ing­ful to the users.

When the build­ing be­gins a work­ing bee will be held and com­mu­nity sup­port will be a pri­or­ity to com­plete the project, from con­crete lay­ers, builders, ma­chine op­er­a­tors, gar­den­ers, painters, carvers and labour­ers.

PHOTO / JOHN STONE

Eight-year-old Ko­hatu Hauwai-dun­nis, with the ball, is look­ing for­ward to play­ing bas­ket­ball with his friends in O¯ tan­garei.

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