• Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre exceeds visit expectations in first year

Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre exceeds visit expectations in first year

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre is celebrating its first year in operation with an estimated half a million user visits, exceeding all expectations.

Nate Manu, the general manager of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre Powered by PAK’nSAVE Hastings, said it was particularly pleasing to see higher than expected casual pool use; the explosion of participation in Water Polo - a new sport introduced to the region and the huge numbers in the delivery of learn to swim and water safety programmes.

To celebrate the centre’s first year an open day is being held this Sunday (September 3) between 10.30am-2.30pm with free lane swimming, free water babies swim lessons (babies 3-36 months), have-a-go Junior-Water Polo and water safety activities.

“We are thrilled by the use of the facility which has been incredibly popular for the public

over 40,000 casual swimmers have used the 50 metre, which also converts to two 25m pools, as well as the additional 25 metre pool over the last year.

“We’ve also completed over 75,000 swim school lessons and a further 1500 young children have had swim lessons and water safety training thanks to generous funding support from Royston Health trust and Hurford Parker, that importantly will save lives.”

The Hawke’s Bay Water Polo Club has been a huge success with more than 600 children and adults participating in regular competitions and the centre hosted a test series between New Zealand and Australia Under 20 teams. The centre will also host the New Zealand Water Polo Masters in November.

“Water polo needs a deep pool, which the region didn’t previously have, we now can play up to 4 games at a time and the sport is growing rapidly.”

The centre has also hosted three New Zealand Swimming national events with back-to-back New Zealand Swimming Championships and New Zealand Age Group Swimming Championships also confirmed for April 2024.

Manu says the aquatic centre team has learned a lot during the year and admits a setback was the recent New Zealand short course swimming championships which was marred by a technical equipment failure.

However, the problem has been resolved and processes are now in place to minimise this risk into the future.

“We still have the confidence of swimming New Zealand to host large scale events and importantly local swimming clubs such as Sundevils, which has also grown its member base.”

What’s on – Sunday September 3

Free public lane swimming and water safety activities between 10.30am-2.30pm.

Free Water Babies swim lessons (babies 3-36 months) at 10.30am and 11.30am. 

Have-a-go at Junior Water Polo for ages 8-12 years between 12pm-1pm. 

Sausage sizzle and cupcakes available for purchase.

All participants of the Water Babies lessons, Junior Water Polo and Water Safety activities will receive a token for a free cupcake or sausage sizzle.