Artist's impression of Ngāti Ōtara Park Multi-Sport Centre. Source / Our Auckland
A dream of more than 20 years has been realised for South Auckland communities today with the long-awaited and significant upgrade of the Ngāti Ōtara Park Multi-Sport Centre.
“I grew up playing on these fields. Our village would play kilikiti here every summer. I remember, as a kid it was my job to fetch stray kilikiti balls that made its way on the deteriorating roof," Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia said in a statement celebrating the "big moment for the community".
“The previous building was dark, old and no longer fit for purpose. It feels incredible to be able to provide a beautiful, brand new building to the community we can all enjoy and be proud of."
The park is connected to Ōtara town centre, the Manukau Institute of Technology and the residential end of Ōtara Rd – making it an ideal community hub.
Ōtara Scorpions Rugby League Club chairperson Willie Maea said the centre has been a long time coming.
“Plans have been in the pipeline for decades. The Scorpions and the seven other sports clubs based at the facility will have purpose-built premises to suit their sports and how they operate. It's new and deserving of the clubs that call Ngāti Ōtara Park home.”
Alongside the sports facilities, the centre will be self-sufficient, with a range of in-house amenities, including a laundromat for sports kit, and for wider community use, a first-aid room and an in-house café/ bar.
“We need to be innovative in our thinking to ensure we can maintain and sustain the complex in the long run,” he said.
The on-site Whānau Ora Medical Clinic will provide health services to the community, and Pacific Homecare will hold its Fia Ola programmes for older residents at the complex.
Five sports and more than 100 teams will enjoy the new $6.4 million centre, whose multiple doors and entrances to clubrooms have a special significance.
“They symbolise that the facility welcomes one and all as a haven for them and somewhere that is safe, fun and where help and support can be found,” said Maea.
The official opening at Ngāti Otara Park is between 10.30am and 12.30pm Saturday.