Governor General opens new RDA arena

By Graham Skellern

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae has today opened the new Tauranga Riding for the Disabled (RDA) indoor arena and equestrian therapy centre - after a long fundraising stretch.

Sir Jerry, starting a four-day visit to the region, said the arena was a wonderful community asset that will bring great benefit to many people.

"It speaks of the value of volunteers and the resilience of the community to support the most vulnerable in society," he told guests at the official opening on the RDA site overlooking Rangataua estuary in Welcome Bay.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

The New Zealand Governor-General was given a rousing welcome by local iwi, Ngati Pukenga. The new arena - a safe place for up to 80 disabled riders a week - has been named Te Maru o Ngati Pukenga, meaning "The Shelter of Ngati Pukenga."

The project for the equestrian therapy centre began five years ago and then in mid-2009 the Tauranga RDA Arena Charitable Trust was formed to complete the fundraising. The trust raised $850,000 for the new building, roading, parking and landscaping.

The indoor arena will be available to other organisations when it is not being used by the RDA.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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