In a first for New Zealand, Hastings District Council has teamed up with Basketball NZ, Basketball HB and Sport HB on a trial initiative to make shooting hoops more accessible for the community.
A pilot programme to give people more places to shoot hoops in Flaxmere has seen new basketball courts installed at Flaxmere Park and Ron Giorgi Park III, and an upgrade of the court at Len Harlen Park.
The Hoops in Parks programme was a collaboration between Hastings District Council, Basketball New Zealand, Basketball Hawke's Bay and Sport Hawke's Bay. It is an extension of Basketball New Zealand's Hoops in Schools programme and the Flaxmere courts were a New Zealand-first trial.
The Ron Giorgi III court was officially opened in June 2021, with the community turning out to celebrate with on-court fun and Sport Hawke’s Bay’s loose parts play and tug-o-war for the littlies. The court drills and games were run by some of New Zealand’s top basketball stars, including international Tom Abercrombie.
The Flaxmere Park court was opened in December 2021, and the Len Harlen Park court refurbishment completed in May 2022. With the new courts completed most of Flaxmere is now just a 10-minute walk from a brand-new full-sized basketball court; quicker if you are on a bike.
To help decide where they should go, the Flaxmere community was asked in 2020 which parks would be good locations.
A number of parks in Flaxmere West were identified, of which Ron Giorgi III was selected. The new court is a family-friendly extension of the existing playground, and an already raised area of ground around the play area makes a great seating to watch the action. The court and playground are not lit, to discourage night-time use.
Flaxmere Park was a popular option and was selected as the site for the second court, and while it had been intended to build a new court in Len Harlen Park, since the consultation, nearby Kimi Ora Community School built a full-size court that is available to the wider community. Instead the Len Harlen Park court underwent resurfacing and line-marking.
The community also told us that access to seating, water and litter bins near the new courts were important, as well as some shade for spectators.
We received some fantastic ideas about how the community would like to use the new courts to encourage greater participation in the sport and to stay active.
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