For the last few years, players at the sports clubs have been playing on the coarse sand of busy Oriental Bay, the debris-full sand of Petone Beach, or the hard-packed sand of Lyall Bay.
Wendy Turton, Wellington City Council Sports and Clubs Partnership Advisor, says a number of beach players were having to travel throughout New Zealand to engage in their sport.
“These sports clubs have been itching to have a safe and affordable sand arena to train in and host tournaments, run local leagues for men and women, as well as coach and develop younger players.”
Jordan, a player and representative for both the national and Wellington handball federations, says she’s looking forward to having a place to train.
“The court we need is quite big and we haven’t been able to set up anywhere without playing in water, on a slope, or on rocks – so naturally, training became quite exhausting and unappealing. There’s only ever been individual options for training on sand around Wellington. Like sand sprints or jump training, not team training.”
In 2018, the need for a new space was evident and Wellington City Council partnered with Handball New Zealand, Netball Wellington and Volleyball New Zealand to put together a proposal for a sand court in Pōneke.
When it came to choosing a location, they looked to other established sports organisations to help them find the ideal spot – settling on a shared space in Hataitai with Netball Wellington, which welcomed the idea.
“The existing netball and tennis clubs have embraced the opportunity to have other sports join the area of Hataitai Park,” says Wendy.