The Waimana Domain has been given a significant upgrade thanks to the efforts of a team of agencies, trusts and individuals. And further on-site enhancements are planned.

The improvements include the installation of new sportsfield floodlighting and a power upgrade funded by an $80,000 grant from Eastern Bay Energy Trust to Whakatāne District Council.

A $50,000 grant from The Lion Foundation to Te Waimana Kaaku Trust paved the way for resurfacing of the all-weather court, while a grant of $19,554 from Southern Trust enabled the court to be extended and marked.

The unformed carpark next to the Waimana Rugby and Sports Club has also been spruced up. Timber edging now defines 850-square-metres of hardstand parking. In addition, the club is proposing an upgrade of the clubrooms and changing room facilities.

Te Waimana Kaaku Tribal Authority, General Manager, Lee-Anne Tuwairua, says the trust is involved with hosting the Tūhoe Ahurei Festival in April 2020.

“Our kaupapa is about supporting the wellbeing of our whole community. For Waimana, sport is a big part of that. Having the lights means all our sports teams finally have a safe place to train and our marae, schools, and community have a venue to hold events such as the Ahurei,” she says.

Chairperson, Melissa Edwardson, says The Trust is really pleased with the outcome.

“We thank Eastern Bay Energy Trust for the funding and Mike Naude and his team from Whakatāne District Council. We wanted to ensure we were prepared to host the Tuhoe Ahurei. This has meant establishing multicourts, which are now almost complete thanks to the funding from Lion Foundation and Southern Trust.”

Tamahou McGarvey, Chairman of Te Komiti Whakahaere o Te Hui Ahurei ā Tūhoe, says the committee is extremely pleased with the developments – the fruits of collaboration across the community – and its various stakeholder groups and individuals.

“The festival is one of the premier cultural events in the region, where thousands of people converge on Waimana. The addition of the field lights will assist not only with hosting of the Ahurei, but for generations of Waimana descendants to come,” he says.

Whakatāne District Council Group Manager Community, Mike Naude, says the upgrade works were a win-win for all involved.

“The community gets improved, safer, sport and recreation assets; Te Waimana Kaaku Trust have a great venue for holding cultural and sporting events and activities; and the charitable trusts get to support exciting community projects.”