The current phase of a feasibility study investigating a possible multi-use community stadium for Tauranga has recommended a location and an initial concept be advanced for further analysis and consultation.
The study is being undertaken through Priority One (Western Bay of Plenty Economic Development Agency), in collaboration with Tauranga City Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Sport New Zealand.
Wharepai Domain, also known as The Domain, has been identified as a site of focus for the study, and the current phase of work has outlined the central portion of The Domain as the best location.
“This is a positive step forward,” Priority One CEO Nigel Tutt says.
“We still have a significant amount of work to do including further consultation, design, funding and a business case.”
“No final decisions have been made, but if the stadium progresses, it could be home to all types of events, including cultural, community, business, entertainment, and sports events, including large-scale concerts,” adds Nigel.
While this has been a partnership approach, the stadium would be located on Tauranga City Council land. Therefore, once plans have been sufficiently developed, there will be public engagement as part of the next annual plan process.
“Ensuring the community-led space represents the wants and needs of the community is vital. We know it is important that green spaces are retained, and the rich culture of our region highlighted, and we look forward to having further discussions about how we might be able to make that happen,” says Tauranga City Council Commission Chair, Anne Tolley.
Tangata whenua representative Buddy Mikaere says engagement with mana whenua has been undertaken and will continue.
“The site is an area of cultural significance, and it will be important that any concepts put forward enhance the unique whenua on which an arena might be built. We’re really looking forward to having a suitable venue to host mana whenua, and local events, with pride,” he says.
Ngāti Ranginui Chair, and member of the Governance Group overseeing the feasibility study Donna Gardiner says, “We the Iwi support the local hapū in their vision and aspirations for the new stadium facility. We also see this as a significant investment and support of all rangatahi of our moana, and furthermore see this as a significant investment in the future leaders of our region.”