From Flaxmere youth to Finnish athletes, the new EIT Institute of Sport and Health is a world-class facility ready for the Hawke's Bay community to use.

The facility at the Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park, which is projected to cost $28 million once Stage 1 is complete, held an open day on Sunday, to invite the public into the space to see everything from pole vault, to pickle ball.

Sport and Health development manager Marcus Agnew said it was great to see people using the space.

"It's been a long road and today is a pretty special day.

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"This is the first day we are able to officially open it up to the public to come through and it is Hawke's Bay's facility, something all of Hawke's Bay can be really, really proud of."

He said the facility already had partnerships with different sporting codes, such as Hawke's Bay Netball, Hawke's Bay Rowing and Tennis Eastern.

The facility is set up to be used by both the local community, and athletes from further afield.

The pole vault training space is considered the best in New Zealand, and one of the best in the Southern Hemisphere, Agnew said.

"We've already had visits from the Finland pole vault team prior to this opening."

The facility is also partnering with schools, from the northern tip of Hawke's Bay in Wairoa, to the Central Hawke's Bay in the south.

Eight-year-old Vaan Boyd from Napier, trying out some of the equipment. Photo / Paul Taylor
Eight-year-old Vaan Boyd from Napier, trying out some of the equipment. Photo / Paul Taylor

"We're dealing with primary school kids in Wairoa and Flaxmere, so primary school kids through to emerging high performance athletes, the likes of Olivia Shannon who's already made the Black Sticks while still at school, through to elderly."

The space which is now open is only part of the plan, there are planned extensions including more court space and larger gym facilities, an international standard rock climbing wall, and a hostel.

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"It will be a 43-bed hostel, which is just really going to kick this thing off in terms of allowing groups to come from anywhere.

"It could be the kids coming from Flaxmere to stay over and learn healthy eating and lifestyles, through to international athletes coming and spending time here.

12-year-old Georgia Rope training for pole vault, with coach Murray Andersen. Photo / Paul Taylor
12-year-old Georgia Rope training for pole vault, with coach Murray Andersen. Photo / Paul Taylor

"We're still looking for community contributions and funds to get us there, and there is lots of opportunities for groups to get on board to help with that."

Members of the public who were seeing the space for the first time enjoyed it.

Two local residents, Judy Jude and Gay Osborne said they were definitely considering joining the gym, and described the facility as amazing, including the "world-class coffee" from new cafe 13th Stag.