New RDA Indoor Arena ‘team effort’

Tauranga Riding for the Disabled's new indoor arena would not have been possible without a huge team effort and the generosity of the people of Western Bay of Plenty.

That's the view of Tauranga RDA chief executive Kat MacMillan, as she looks ahead after this week's opening.

The $850,000 arena which has been named Te Maru o Ngati Pukenga, meaning The Shelter of Ngati Pukenga, was officially opened by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae on Tuesday.

Mrs MacMillan said it was ``absolutely fantastic'' to have Sir Jerry open the new arena and to see all those involved in making the project coming together with those who will use it.

She said the project had definitely been a huge team effort and she wanted to say a ``big thank you'' to the project team and all RDA's supporters, including its 80 regular volunteer helpers and students from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Otepou who performed at the official opening.

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``It been a real community project and the people of the Western Bay have been fantastic in their generosity, particularly at this difficult time when there has been so many other demands, such as the Christchurch earthquake appeal and so many people struggling due to the recession.''

Demand for equestrian therapy services had grown massively in recent years and Tauranga RDA now operated six days a week.

Twelves horses were paired with 85 riders every week, and the centre had a waiting list. Mrs MacMillan said fundraising to cover the $200,000 operational costs needed to keep the facility running each year was always going to be a challenge. It included covering the cost of running the 6.7ha farm, paying professional staff and caring for the 12 horses.

Tauranga RDA Arena Charitable Trust was established in mid-2009 to complete the fundraising efforts and the trust raised $850,000 for the new building, roading, parking and landscaping.-->

- Bay of Plenty Times

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