Over the next week Whangarei will demonstrate its ability to host international sporting figures.

The West Indies one-day international cricket squad are in town, playing a one-day warm-up match at Cobham Oval on Saturday, and an international one-dayer against the Black Caps on Wednesday.

Cobham Oval is a world-class pitch and outfield with a pavilion set-up modelled on Lord's in London — all that stands in the way of success of the two matches is Northland's variable weather.

Next door to Cobham Oval is Okara Park — another world-class sporting facility and stadium that has hosted international matches.


And likewise in Kensington where we have hosted hockey internationals.

How is that we have world-class sports facilities in Northland but arts and culture are yet to catch up?

The Hundertwasser Art Centre will go towards redressing the balance, but such is New Zealand's obsession, and therefore support, for sport, we are able to easily achieve world-class facilities in our region, which are used mostly for club or domestic matches.

And occasionally for international matches.

A good portion of the support comes from national bodies aligned with grassroots clubs.

A third industrial revolution is upon us, dominated by technology.

The life balance that humans will need to live healthily in the future will come from sport and performing arts.

Indeed, any activity that promotes people escaping internet-dominated reclusivity and getting outside, talking and socialising will provide valuable balance.


Right now though, sport and arts/performing arts are imbalanced.

It's a situation that needs to be redressed and an arts centre won't do it.

Never has a multipurpose conference/events (and sure, no reason why it couldn't include indoor sports) centre been so vital to Northland, to all our towns.

Without one, our future health is at risk.