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Completion of the $75 million National Hockey Centre at Rosedale was marked with an official ribbon cutting on 13 December 2019

Sports clubs benefit from North Shore construction project

World-class facilities for hockey, BMX and horse riding have been built on Auckland’s North Shore as part of a major construction project to improve motorway connections and community walking and cycling connections. The clubs were moved and improved to free up land next to State Highway 18 for the Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) project.

The NCI project, led by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, will provide a much-needed transport upgrade for Albany and North Harbour communities. It includes more than 7 km of new walking and cycling paths, a new motorway connection between SH1 and SH18, and will open up access to the Western Ring Route and travel to the airport.

National Hockey Centre

The $75 million National Hockey Centre at Rosedale was built for North Harbour Hockey. It was completed in December 2019 to become the home of North Harbour’s 8000-strong hockey community and the training base for the Vantage Black Sticks teams in Auckland. North Harbour Hockey moved into the facility in January, ready to co-host New Zealand’s first FIH Pro League matches in February.

The Northern Corridor Improvements Alliance is using some of the land occupied by the old hockey centre to construct a new flyover to connect SH18 to SH1

Harbour Hockey Charitable Trust chair Peter Felstead says the new pavilion building is a hockey hub of excellence, for both North Harbour and the wider Auckland region. “As one of New Zealand’s largest hockey communities, we have been bursting out of our existing pavilion for several years, and this facility was always planned to accommodate the growth of participation in hockey and sport in general. Thanks to the support of our hockey funders and the Transport Agency we have been able to upgrade it to a larger facility, which futureproofs us for generations to come.”

Four new turfs have been built, two of global elite and two of national standard. Features include floodlighting, covered seating for 450 spectators, as well as 370 new car parks. A new walking and cycling shared path was also completed to connect communities to the existing Rosedale Park.

Early engagement

At the start of the NCI project, the Transport Agency engaged with the three affected sports organisations, Auckland Council, Upper Harbour Local Board and the local community. The proposal to relocate the three clubs was approved in December 2017 as part of the project’s community mitigation.

Transport Agency senior manager project delivery Andrew Thackwray says it took two years of investigating options and engaging with multiple hockey partners to resolve relocating the hockey facility. “We were committed to finding a solution that would provide fantastic recreational facilities for the wider community while allowing people to benefit from the fabulous travel solutions that the NCI project will deliver.”

Construction of the hockey centre started in April 2018 and has been delivered by the Transport Agency together with partners Harbour Hockey Charitable Trust, Auckland Council and the Upper Harbour Local Board.

BMX track

In November 2018, the NCI project relocated North Harbour BMX Club from Rosedale Park to a new purpose-built $4.5 million facility at Hooton Reserve in Albany. This is New Zealand’s first international-standard BMX track.

Current New Zealand men’s BMX elite champion Cody Hobbs tries out the new international-standard track at Hooton Reserve in Albany

Mr Thackwray says it was essential to work closely with the club to ensure the facility met the needs of the growing sport, which now attracts international and national BMX competitors and events to the area. The facility benefits local youth and sits next to a popular skate park and basketball court near the QBE Stadium.

The complex boasts an amateur track featuring a 
5 m ramp and a pro track with an 8 m ramp and berm jump. A unique coating was applied to the track creating an all-weather surface. Floodlighting and a new PA system were also installed.

Equestrian centre

The third upgraded facility is the equestrian centre at Wainoni Park in Greenhithe. This followed the merging of the Rosedale, Greenhithe and Whenuapai Pony Clubs to form the Wainoni Park Pony Club. The $8 million facility also includes a specially built area to cater for Greenhithe Riding for the Disabled who had always trained in the area.

The existing facilities were extensively upgraded to include a new all-weather arena, with a new riding path with lighting so riders can easily connect to a second arena at the other side of the park. A new clubhouse was built alongside new toilets, with extra parking for horse floats and new grooming pens.

The new central hub was completed in April 2019. It benefits local youth and provides a much-needed community space to cater for growth of equestrian sport on the North Shore.

Young riders at the new equestrian centre at Wainoni Park in Greenhithe

Lasting legacies

Mr Thackwray says the new sports facilities will leave a lasting legacy for the North Shore. “We have contributed to the development of the area as a recreation and sporting hub to be enjoyed by current and future generations, as well as building more than 7 km of walking and cycling paths and extending the Northern Busway to Albany.

“The facilities cater for international competitions, but also for local community kids who just want to have a go at the sports on offer.”

Completion of the three sports facilities now means construction of the new motorway route on SH18 can progress. On behalf of the Transport Agency, the Northern Corridor Improvements Alliance will be utilising some of the land occupied by the old hockey centre to construct a new flyover to connect to SH1. The project is expected to be fully completed in mid-2022.


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