A dawn blessing with mana whenua was held for a new world class hockey facility at Rosedale Park on 26 March, and establishment of the construction site begins this month.
The impressive new facility promises to become a centre of excellence for the hockey locally, regionally and internationally and is expected to be completed by 2020.
North Harbour Hockey Chief Executive Riki Burgess says the centre will be built to International Hockey Federation (FIH) Tier 1 specifications, which means it is capable of hosting a World Cup tournament as well as the new FIH Hockey Pro League series commencing in 2019.
Riki is thrilled with the potential the venue offers for all grades of hockey and the experience it will provide for those entering the sport as well as more seasoned players. “It's a fantastic opportunity for our community including all our clubs, competitions, schools and Association programmes, including our own regional HEART Academy, to play at an international grade facility. It will also be an advantage for our members to be playing alongside top athletes such as the Vantage Black Sticks who will have their training base at the venue.”
Four hockey turfs will be built around a two-storey pavilion with clubrooms, changing rooms and member facilities. There will also be a new footbridge connecting the new facility with Harbour Hockey’s existing sand turf in Rosedale Park North. There will be seating for 450 with capacity for temporary seating for special events.
North Harbour Hockey’s journey to its new home has been lengthy and challenging, and the association and its partners, Harbour Hockey Charitable Trust (the facility owner) and Hockey New Zealand are delighted to have reached this major milestone. The three organisations had planned to upgrade the existing hockey facility at Rosedale Park South, with work set to commence in mid-2015. But their plans needed to be revised and a new venue found to accommodate the Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) project that includes a motorway connection between SH1 and SH18, extends the Northern Busway and creates more than 7km of new walking and cycling paths.
NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Council worked with hockey and other sporting organisations affected by NCI to find viable alternatives. The result is the new hockey facilities (built on behalf of Harbour Hockey by the NCI project team as part of its community mitigation) as well as a new shared equestrian facility in Wainoni Park and the relocation of the North Harbour BMX Club to Hooton Reserve.
The new hockey venue will provide expanded and enhanced community facilities to support the growth (and growing needs) of community users, and to promote and support participation in hockey throughout New Zealand. When the facilities are not being used by the hockey community they will be made available for other sports for events such as school cluster days. Organisations and businesses from the local area will also be able to use the pavilion’s spaces for meetings, seminars, and business networking events and workshops, as they currently do at Harbour Hockey’s existing facility.