Upcoming New Zealand sports hub set to hold all the aces


New Zealand Wellington Sports Campus Image: NZCIS

To portray the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS) as a global leader in innovation and high performance sports, a new indoor sporting facility construction is underway the price tag of which stands at $30 million.

As per its developers, the venue is being constructed as part of an $80 million overhauling project in the Wellington suburb of Heretaunga in New Zealand.

Developer Malcolm Gillies announced, “We can’t wait to welcome our first teams in 2021. NZCIS will bring national benefits and create a unique experience for sports and others.”

Wellington Rugby, A-League football club the Wellington Phoenix and Baseball New Zealand has all confirmed that they will be using the facility.

The ‘sod-turning’ ceremony held recently was for the new 18 meter high building that will be equipped with a 70 x 50 meter indoor sports field and will enjoy features such as a watt bike studio, hot and cold team plunge pools, sauna, cryotherapy chamber, 1000 metre² gym and hydrotherapy pools.

The facility also has commercial grade food preparation, onsite dining for foodies and accommodation of 300+ rooms.

Gillies added, “I love being part of projects that enhance communities and help people grow and reach their potential. This 17ha campus has integrated facilities that are simply not available in one convenient place in New Zealand.”

“This, along with the integration of innovative technology, data and physical features, will mean access to the best performance analysis. For example, our grass sports fields will also be data enabled with sensors and cameras that are built into the field’s infrastructure. This will enable measurement so that the sports codes using it can gain insights on how to best improve performance,” he further informed.

“Every sports team needs a heart, an identity and culture, so we’ve looked at innovative ways to enhance team identity and culture using technology that is integrated into the campus,” Gillies maintained.

The project envisages reconfiguring the old CIT campus into an integrated high performance sporting campus that brings together cutting edge technology, scale, accommodation, transport links, healthy physical ambience, and prospective partners such as sports organizations, global technology providers, the armed services and universities.

Jamie Tout, a partner in the project, stated, “We wanted to benchmark against the best globally. We consulted with Manchester United, visited football and rugby powerhouses in Europe, the New York Yankees and the Singapore Institute of Sport to see what they are offering.”

“We asked many sporting teams and bodies what they wanted and have incorporated that feedback into the design of this facility as well. The outcome is an innovative, world-leading facility right here in our backyard and privately financed. It’s inspiring actually,” Tout maintained.

Matt Evans, Chief Executive at Wellington Rugby announced, “Wellington Rugby is excited by a 2021 move to the state-of-the-art sports hub being developed by NZCIS in Upper Hutt. The union is excited to partner with NZCIS who have demonstrated a strong backing for sport in the Wellington region, spanning elite and high performance teams right through to community and junior groups.”

“The facility being built will allow the union to be on the same campus as other leading sporting brands from the region whilst providing the perfect environment to further develop international academy activities. This exciting opportunity is set to change the way sporting brands and unions interact with each other and the wider community and I look forward to what the future holds,” Evans commented.

Gushed David Dome, General Manager of Wellington Phoenix, “We strongly believe in the potential of the new NZCIS facility to reshape competitive sports in New Zealand. The planned development promises to be world class in its scope and technology, making it potentially one of the very best high performance units anywhere in this part of the world.”

“In the extremely competitive environment of professional sport, initiatives such as the NZCIS will enable Wellington Phoenix to compete, and indeed gain competitive advantage, against our A-League competition as well as see the growth and further development of our Academy system which is already producing some of the very best young talent in the Hyundai A-League,” Dome further remarked.

Kris Richards, Coaching Development Manager at Baseball NZ added, “`If you build it they will come’. Everyone knows this quote, yet many forget that this is from a baseball movie.”

“The NZCIS facility in Upper Hutt (a city in the Wellington Region of the North Island of New Zealand) is a game changer for baseball in New Zealand, from grassroots through to high performance. This will be the first year-round baseball specific training facility in the country. This facility will include the first baseball fields in the greater Wellington region which will assist in accommodating the rapid growth of baseball throughout the area,” Richards remarked.

He added, “NZCIS will also serve as a high performance center for Baseball New Zealand and will be the hub for national team camps and tournaments. The team accommodation on the NZCIS campus will prove ideal for hosting national and international events.”

Richards continued, “This is an exciting time for baseball. Within the span of two years, we have acquired a professional baseball team, the Auckland Tuatara, and now are on the verge of building a high performance center. With the prospect of another professional baseball team coming to New Zealand in the near future, it is important that we are forward thinking to accommodate our rapid growth throughout the country.”

He summed up by saying, “We congratulate the developers who have shown an amazing vision for New Zealand sport. Exciting times ahead for baseball in New Zealand.”

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