History of the Sports Centre

Ākau Tangi Sports Centre aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the community by increased physical activity through participation in sport and recreation.

The sports centre during construction

In June 2007, after 7 years of investigation and planning, Wellington City Council approved construction of an indoor community sports centre at Cobham Park in Kilbirnie.

The Cobham Park site was chosen ahead of alternative locations including land opposite the Westpac Stadium known as Harbour Quays. The Harbour Quays site was not adopted due to the prohibitive construction cost and potential conflict with regular events at the stadium.

The Cobham Park site allowed for a 12-court facility with the potential to increase capacity by three further courts in the future. There are around 40 schools close to the site, many of which did not have their own sports facilities.

Mainzeal Property and and Construction Limited began building the centre in January 2010.

Naming of the centre

In 2011 Wellington City Council entered into a 10-year naming rights sponsorship with ASB Bank and the centre became known as the ASB Sports Centre. 

In 2021 Council worked with representatives from Taranaki Whānui, staff, Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Nga Mokopuna, and sporting codes who operate out of the centre to explore a new name and identity for the centre.

Through this process Ākau Tangi emerged as a fitting name for the centre due to its proximity to the coastline and the way in which the name encapsulates its essence and community. Ākau Tangi speaks to the sound and energy of the wind and waves crashing along the coastline. The name is made up of two parts – Te Ākau, meaning the coast, and Tangi, to make sound, cry out.  

Like the coastline of Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the centre is a place of constant energy, movement, and sound and has its own distinct and unique rhythm throughout the day. 

Why the centre was built

Existing demand and the growing popularity of netball, basketball and volleyball highlighted the city’s need for more indoor sports capacity.

The sports centre courts provides the public with quality playing and training facilities for a variety of indoor sports.

Wellington schools now have access to the sports centre for a range of sports development and physical activity programmes. The sports centre is also a great destination for regional and national sports tournaments.


The sports centre cost around $47.5 million to build.

The average net operating cost over the life of the asset (50-60 years) is approximately $2.089 million per annum. The Council approved a targeted rate in June 2006 to cover the additional costs of increasing the development from eight to 12 courts.

Independent review of location

In March 2009, Mayor Kerry Prendergast offered an independent review to Councillor Andy Foster following his appeal to the Environment Court against the resource consent that had been granted for the Indoor Community Sports Centre at Cobham Drive Park. The Council agreed to this review on 5 March and noted that Councillor Foster said he would withdraw from the appeal as he agreed with the Terms of Reference.

Respected business and sporting community leader Sir John Anderson agreed to carry out the wide-ranging review into the proposal to build the centre and compare the proposed site at Cobham Drive Park in Kilbirnie with an alternative site on the Westpac Stadium Concourse. His report, released 15 April 2009, confirmed Cobham Drive Park as the preferred site.

Report to Council - 20.04.09 (522KB PDF)