Home to a range of sports, the Ngāti Ōtara Park Multi-sport Centre opened on 8 May, offering local talent world-class space with modern equipment to train on.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says that the new $6.4 million facility transforms the previous facilities at the park.
“This investment by Auckland Council recognises that Ōtara deserves a decent 21st-century sports facility that encourages our young people into sport and inspires them to realise their potential,” he says.
“Five sports and more than 150 teams will enjoy these facilities. Auckland Council salutes the local people who over a long period have worked towards this day and is proud to have contributed to the achievement of this great new complex.”
Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia adds that it’s a big moment for the community.
“We’re proud to have enabled its delivery because providing quality sporting services in the community will help retain the sporting talent of Ōtara and the wider South Auckland area.
“I grew up playing on these fields. Our village would play kilikiti here every summer. I remember, as a kid, it was my job to fetch stray kilikiti balls that made their way on the deteriorating roof.
“The previous building was dark, old and no longer fit for purpose. It feels incredible to be able to provide a beautiful, brand new building to the community we can all enjoy and be proud of.
Ōtara Scorpions Rugby League Club chairman Willie Maea says it’s been a long time coming.
“Plans have been in the pipeline for decades. The Scorpions and the seven other sports clubs based at the facility will have purpose-built premises to suit their sports and how they operate. It's new and deserving of the clubs that call Ngāti Ōtara Park home.”
The park is connected to Ōtara town centre, the Manukau Institute of Technology and the residential end of Ōtara Rd – making it an ideal community hub.
Maea says alongside the sports facilities, the centre will be self-sufficient, with a range of in-house amenities, including a laundromat for sports kit, and for wider community use, a first-aid room and an in-house café/ bar.
“We need to be innovative in our thinking to ensure we can maintain and sustain the complex in the long run.”
The on-site Whanau Ora Medical Clinic will provide health services to the community, and Pacific Homecare will hold its Fia Ola programmes for older residents at the complex.
The multiple doors and entrances to clubrooms have a special significance.
“They symbolise that the facility welcomes one and all as a haven for them and somewhere that is safe, fun and where help and support can be found.”
Parks, Arts, Community and Events (PACE) Committee chair and Manukau Ward Councillor Alf Filipaina has been a strong advocate for the complex.
“I want to offer my congratulations to all those in our community who will benefit from this facility. For me, this has been a long journey that started eight years ago when I secured $4.2 million for the build.
“Everyone involved has worked to make this happen. Working with the local board has been crucial. This facility is truly something we all can be proud of.”
His colleague Councillor Efeso Collins says sport is one of the foundations of the South Auckland community.
“We are home to so much sporting talent and this facility gives codes such as rugby league, kilikiti, and netball a place to call home.
“Hundreds of gifted athletes have honed their sporting prowess at this ground and today sets the scene for our people to thrive even more.”