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 is on a roll, with a new court on Ron Giorgi Park III completed and the installation of the second on Flaxmere Park underway. Weather dependent, the court is expected to take about six weeks. Read the story here.
The Ron Giorgi III court was officially opened in June, 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.
"Once both new courts are completed most of Flaxmere will be just a 10-minute walk from a brand-new full-sized basketball court; quicker if you are on a bike," said Hastings District councillor (Flaxmere) Henare O'Keefe.
To help decide where they should go, the Flaxmere community was asked last year 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. The number of activities already on that park means the planning has taken a little longer. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, contractor availability-permitting.
It had been intended to build a new court in Len Harlen Park, but since the consultation, nearby Kimi Ora Community School had built a full-size court that is available to the wider community. The Len Harlen Park court will still get attention through the ‘Hoops in Parks’ programme however, undergoing resurfacing and line-marking.
Mr O'Keefe said playing basketball was already a popular activity for local kids and with one court at each end of Flaxmere and one in the middle, nearly everyone would have one not too far from their home.
In 2020, Flaxmere residents were asked which parks they would most like new courts to be built on, as well as what other facilities they would like to see at the courts.
Almost 200 votes were received, with 40 per cent voting for Flaxmere Park. That was consistent with community feedback on the Flaxmere Park Reserve Management Plan. Other parks that were popular were Lochain, Ron Giorgi II and Kingsley with about 10 per cent of the votes each.
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’ve also 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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