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Celebrating ten years at Trustpower Arena

Trustpower Arena at Baypark has been celebrating ten years. Photo: Supplied.

Trustpower Arena at Baypark has been celebrating ten years of activity since opening in late August 2011.

The classic line “build it and they will come” is certainly applicable to the venue. It has provided opportunities for a wide range of community participation, as well as event promoters, sports administrators and business organisations, bringing a vast range of entertainment, commercial activities and opportunities to the city.

In the beginning, alongside the QEYC and other single-court facilities dotted around the area, there was the Mount Action Centre. There was also, a four-court facility in a converted storage warehouse, to test the market to see whether the city required more court space.

Around 2005, the need was established for a new recreation and event/exhibition space for the growing city of Tauranga, which at the time had a population of approximately 100,000.

Meanwhile, Baypark Speedway had been re-established at the Baypark site on Truman Lane, which boasted some 17 hectares of useable space, great car parking facilities and a relatively central location.

The decision was made to build a new facility initially named TISEC – Tauranga Indoor Sports and Exhibition Centre – at Baypark, with the aim being a multipurpose facility for the region that accommodated community sports and other events.

In late August 2011, this new venue – named the TECT Arena to recognise TECT’s financial contribution to the project – was opened on time and within budget; a testimony to the skills of those managing the project.

The first event was the NZ Wrestling Championships, followed closely by the massive Police Charity Luncheon – the first catered event in the new venue with more than 1000 people in attendance. Community sports such as netball, basketball, football and volleyball shortly followed. The community responded with more than 250,000 users in the first nine months of operation, and reached one million visitors in early 2014. In July 2021, visitors numbered four million.

It was a baptism of fire for the operators but a huge success, and the venue has gone from strength to strength since that time. Since opening, the Arena has increased patronage every year until it was rudely interrupted by the Covid outbreak in 2020.

The Arena has, on many occasions, hosted the Silver Ferns and netball tournaments/matches, international basketball/NZ Basketball finals, NZ Gymnastics, NZ weightlifting, NZ wrestling and volleyball championships.

One of the early highlights was the setting up of an indoor tennis court for an international Davis Cup match.

Meanwhile, the demand for community sports and activities continues to grow with major local, regional and national tournaments a feature of the calendar. 

The venue’s contemporary design has seen it stand out, and 10 years later it still represents the high- water mark of such facilities in New Zealand. It is now bursting at the seams with the growing population and associated increase in demand for space, and the time is right to expand the city’s amenities in an equally inspiring manner – as happened when Trustpower Arena was decided upon.

Community

The Trustpower Arena is home to local indoor sporting codes, and hosts many regional and national tournaments. 

Almost every day the six-court side of the venue is buzzing with a variety of community activities. 

Most weekday mornings start off with Tumble Time – a play-based programme for pre-schoolers where the number of caregivers and toddlers can be up around 100 per session.

During the day the courts can be filled with primary-aged children attending one of their favourite outings. There’s Funky Fun Days, where the Arena programmes team facilitate a range of sporting, recreational and play activities which has school students coming back for more each term. 

On other days pickleball or walking basketball may take centre stage – both sporting activities for active retirees with space for people to drop in and shoot hoops.

The afternoons attract teams of youngsters, often to play basketball or volleyball. Then come the evenings, where secondary school students and adults get their chance to participate in their chosen indoor sport, be it basketball, netball, volleyball or football.

Alongside the traditional structured sporting codes locals can also participate in pay-for-play sports leagues, which is a great way for groups of friends, families or work mates to participate in social sport. 

Sporting groups like Tauranga City Basketball have grown from strength-to-strength since the opening of Trustpower Arena. When the facility was first built, basketball occupied the space just one or two nights a week. Now, basketball is being played every weekday during autumn and winter and often on the weekends. 

A feature of the annual calendar is the AIMS games, which utilises all of the Arena spaces for an entire week.

The six plus three court arrangement is a preferred destination for many indoor codes. For example, every year Basketball Pacific host the Mel Young Easter Basketball Tournament, which attracts 10,000 visits to the venue. Likewise, Volleyball NZ frequently host the National Junior Volleyball Champs, which attracts nearly 8000 visits.

Trustpower Arena contributes to the fabric of our community. It is a place where people can come to compete, recreate, socialise, hone their skills, eat and build connections with others. 

Business events

The multi-use portfolio of Trustpower Arena is evident in the growth of business events.

The Arena is promoted strongly through the various business industries and hosts large expos, national conferences, numerous meetings, award dinners and celebration events.

As well as the state-of the-art Lion Foundation Centre for expos, functions and plenary sessions for conferences, the Arena boasts purpose-built suites for breakout rooms to compliment any business event. The suites are also preferred spaces for many local business meetings.

The variety of events cater for young families through to seniors.

Attendance at all of the business events has increased annually – and post-Covid there has been on average a 30 per cent increase in numbers to the variety of events, such as the Tauranga Home Show, Seriously Good Food Show, Wedding Show and Armageddon.  

Notable national conferences are Zespri Momentum, Stormwater NZ, Fire protection NZ and NZ Bridge Congress and Competition - all bringing large numbers of people to Tauranga and the wider area.

Entertainment

The level and variety of entertainment has grown substantially since the Arena opened in 2011. Initially, as a new regional venue, concert promoters needed to gain confidence in the market. From small beginnings, the range and number of concerts each year is now approximately 20 – and would be more if at-short-notice dates/space were available for promoters. Trustpower Arena has also played a large part in the Summer Bay Dreams Festival. 

Some highlights have been the sold-out concerts of The Beach Boys, Dr Hook and The Hollies, proving there is a market for the nostalgia of yester-year. The mix includes international and New Zealand artists such as Jimmy Barnes, Bill Bailey, Dionne Warwick, Slash, Stan Walker, 7 Days, Devilskin, Kora, Katchafire, The Feelers, Dragon, Broods, Good Vibes Winter Festival, Blindspott, Tones and I, Sticky Fingers, Macky Gee, Kanine and many more.

Trustpower Arena has been turned into a theatre for productions such as Madagascar, Bollywood, Saturday Night Fever and The Sound of Music. The success of these productions indicates that the community enjoy the entertainment the Arena is able to provide.

The future is bright for Trustpower Arena, with back-to-back events and bookings through ‘til 2025. The community can look forward to activities and many exciting events to come.

For more information visit: www.trustpowerbaypark.co.nz

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Best wishes Bob.

Posted on 05-09-2021 17:36 | By myview

Thanks must go to Bob Clarkson for kicking off & building the original project.