Minor melts won't stop the ice rink fun

By Genevieve Helliwell

1 comment

Clear skies, hot temperatures and wind gusts are causing the temporary ice rink in downtown Tauranga to melt, but that hasn't stopped thousands of people from enjoying the Bay's coolest summer activity.

A thin sheen of water could be seen on the surface of the 35m by 15m portable ice rink yesterday as temperatures in the city reached 30C.

"The generator is working pretty hard to keep things chilled," said Ice World NZ shift manager Matt Beazley.

"It's the wind that's having a bigger effect on the melting than hot temperatures."

The slightly melting rink was not an issue and the generator was continually working day and night to keep temperatures low and ensure the 35,000 tonnes of ice remained frozen, Mr Beazley said.

At the Harcourts Outdoor Ice Rink yesterday, which is owned by Ice World NZ and operated by Douglas Webber Events, more than a hundred people - young and old - were skating on the ice.

Open from 9am until 10pm, Mr Beazley said the busy time was at midday and after 7pm.

"It's a novelty thing for Tauranga and it's been very well supported," he said.

"I don't know how many come through each day but it would easily be a couple of hundred."

Tauranga City Council city events manager Peter Melgren said the cost of establishing the temporary attraction would easily be six figures. Although it hadn't cost the council anything, Mr Melgren said the upkeep would be substantial, with money being spent on power, staff, security, hiring the gazebo and more.

"These guys have put quite an investment into this place and they've taken a big risk, but it seems to have been supported extremely well and we're very happy.

"This activity has a novelty factor and it's wonderful to be able to bring such a fantastic activity to Tauranga on a temporary basis."

The ice rink opened on December 13 and will stay in downtown Tauranga until early February, when its 60-day consent expires.

Jason and Simone Bowie, from Wellington, said it was nice to get out of the sunshine for a couple of hours while their two daughters, Marseille, 10, and Pascale, 7, spent time on the ice.

"It's a fantastic facility, this is a great thing for Tauranga and any city.

"[The price] is comparable to the hot pools and other activities we've been doing ... and they can go as long as they like so it's great," said Mrs Bowie.

Out on the ice, Paengaroa teenager Heath Campbell told the Bay of Plenty Times he thought the ice rink was "the coolest thing to do this summer".

However, not everyone has been impressed, with one person complaining in a post on the Bay of Plenty Times website that the rink was covered in water and saying the experience was a debacle.


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