It is great to see a bold vision unfolding right under our noses here in Hawke's Bay.

If you haven't been into Hawke's Bay's Regional Sports Park in a while, you'll be in for quite a surprise. For a start, it is now proudly known as Mitre 10 Park, thanks to great support from the Rickets family. But in terms of its actual facilities, the park is now home to the amazing new Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre.

If you haven't been into the centre, make sure you get in for a look. It is high quality, the jewel in the crown of our region's health and sport facilities, and considering our population size and isolation from the rest of the country, it is absolutely what the people of Hawke's Bay deserve.

The Sir Graeme Avery-led Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre already caters for the whole life cycle - from pregnant mums, through developing elite athletes, to a large number of our senior citizens.


But wait there's more. As of last Sunday, we now know that the facility is about to get seriously upsized, to include an incredible new Hawke's Bay Aquatic Centre.

As with the stunning new community fitness centre, the aquatic centre will cater for a huge number of people from all walks of life. There will be opportunities for everything from mums and bubs, through preschooler and learn-to-swim programmes, water safety and active recreation swimmers, through to regional and national competitions, to high performance and international camps.

For our region's users, the location is key. Particularly well positioned between the twin-cites of Napier and Hastings, the centre is equidistant between the schools of Napier and across the Hastings district into Havelock North.

The aquatic facility will feature an Olympic sized 50m pool, which opens up so much more opportunity in terms of events and activity. As well as that, a smaller 25m pool for dedicated community and learn-to-swim activities, even when the 50m pool is booked out with competitive swimmers, swimming events, or for other aqua sports like waterpolo.

Water space is continually a challenge, and an obvious need for the pure water safety of our people, let along the healthy physical activity and competitive sport pathways the facility will cater for.

Having the aquatic centre onsite, ties so much together with all the other sports and health groups. For an athlete to be able to supplement physical training with aqua recovery, and for health groups to have clients accessing water onsite for the zero impact movement and therapeutic effect that water provides is gold.

With confirmation of the impending construction of an onsite hostel and extension to the already impressive building, and now with this aquatic centre, the emerging collection of health and sports organisations will all synergise and feed off each other, and collectively continue to evolve into a world-class health and sport precinct at Mitre 10 Park.

Thanks to Sir Graeme Avery and his team having a strategy and plan ready to go, and thanks to a support cast of Hawke's Bay's regional leaders working together, the Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust were ready to work with the Government and their shovel-ready project funding initiative, to deliver a world-class facility to the people of Hawke's Bay and New Zealand.


It all adds to building the general reputation and brand of Hawke's Bay as well, already known as the Fruit Bowl of New Zealand, and Wine Country. Now, combined with our ideal weather for developing sport, this stunning health and sport performance complex will also become a jewel in the crown for marketing groups showcasing the calibre of Hawke's Bay, and what we have to offer for national and international visitors.

Marcus Agnew is the health and sport development manager at Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust and a lecturer in sports science at EIT.