Sir Graeme Avery says another $7.5 million in funding is still needed to fund to help the new EIT Institute of Sport & Health.
The smart new $15m facility based at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park in Hastings might almost be open, but Avery said at a launch on Friday that there was still plenty of work ahead.
The facility will open before Stage 1 - which is budgeted at an overall cost of $28m - is complete.
Avery spoke about the need to get people living healthier lifestyles, and how delaying funding would prove costly for the region.
"Today marks the start of a transformational journey for our region – one that'll see Hawke's Bay people live healthier lifestyles for a longer healthier life," Avery said.
"But the job is not yet finished."
Avery, chairman of Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust, said early support from the likes of Hastings District Council, EIT, Rodney Green, Pak'n Save Hastings, Royston Hospital and Royston Health Trust had helped immensely.
He said for the trust to realise its full vision, a further $7.5m needed to be raised, beyond the $3m grant recently awarded by the NZ Lottery Grants Board, and the $7m awaiting confirmation from central and local government.
That would ensure the full plans for stage 1, including construction of the Rodney Green Hostel and new wings at each end of the main building, were achieved at the earliest opportunity.
"Delays really will cost us all and we'd risk seeing another generation facing very poor health outcomes," Avery said.
"It is clear we have passionate community behind us, and together we will get there," he said.
Built by the Hawke's Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust, the doors to the region's new premier destination for sport and health will open on Monday July 8 after a public open day on July 7.
Avery said the opening would allow people from throughout Hawke's Bay to have access to a range of great facilities across the spectrums of health, wellbeing and sport.
"It will also enable the trust to deliver leading programmes across a wide range of targeted community groups, in a bid to help people on their individual journey's to be the best they can be."
EIT chief executive Chris Collins said it was a "unique opportunity" to be involved in a visionary project that would change the lives of people in our communities.
He said the their school of Health and Sports Science students would be able to engage with communities through programmes and research and be a part of helping lift the health and wellbeing of the region.
Collins said the partnership also posed a great opportunity for EIT to expand its footprint with new state-of-the-art facilities, so the tertiary provider could evolve its offerings and continue to ensure the ongoing needs of the region were being met.
"Just like Sir Graeme, we see this project as far more than just bricks and mortar – it's about the programmes and the people.
"The students, the staff and Hawke's Bay community at large."
A Public Open Day of the EIT Institute of Sport and Health is scheduled for Sunday July 7, from 10am to 2pm where the public can go on tours of the facility and see a range of activities in action.
Among the key activities:
1 A Hawke's Bay netball representative team training in action on the multi-sports court.
2. Pickleball demonstration – with the chance to give it a go. Pickleball is a sport growing in popularity, and one for any age or fitness level.
3. Pole vault training session on the indoor athletics track.
4. Weightlifting club training session over in the new Sports Performance gym, staffed by some of the regions most qualified Strength and Conditioning Coaches.
5. The Trust's Athlete Development training programmes in action.
6. ProTrainer demonstration – with the chance to give it a go. Unique in Hawke's Bay, the ProTrainer is a unique integrative training tool to aid cognitive thinking, reaction speed and memory to sharpen sports performance and decision making. It can also be used to help with certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease.