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National “Hoops in Parks” pilot to be trialled in Hastings district

william nelson court

The half-court and hoop in William Nelson Park has been a popular addition since it was installed in April last year.

In a first for New Zealand, Hastings District Council has teamed up with Basketball New Zealand, Basketball Hawke’s Bay and Sport Hawke’s Bay on a trial initiative to make shooting hoops more accessible for the community.

“Hoops in Parks” is a pilot programme being run in Hastings – an extension to Basketball New Zealand’s “Hoops in Schools” programme.

This schools programme aims to address the lack of suitable facilities and support the growth of basketball by placing more basketball hoops on school grounds. To date three local schools - Mayfair, Tamatea High and Kimi Ora Community - have received hoops through this initiative and it’s hoped the “Hoops in Parks” programme will follow in the footsteps of their success in local parks.

Basketball is one of the country’s fastest-growing pastimes, said Basketball NZ manager basketball development and technology Daniel Dawick.

“Basketball New Zealand’s vision is to see a hoop in the heart of every neighborhood. We’ve been working with communities throughout Aotearoa and have seen 56 high-quality street hoops installed in Kiwi schools within two years.

“The benefits of these new facilities are now proving to get more kids active and foster a wonderfully positive community spirit.

“We wanted to look at other ways to provide more hoops – this is the first Hoops in Parks pilot that we’ve done thanks to the cooperation and vision of Hastings District Council. The pilot will help us show other regions that these facilities in parks do make a big difference and investing in these is a no-brainer.”

There are currently basketball hoops available in eight parks in Hastings district – three in Flaxmere, three in Hastings, one in Whakatū and one in Haumoana. 

Most recently a full basketball court was put into Kirkpatrick Park and a half-basketball court in William Nelson Park – both of which are very popular and well used.

Hastings District Council public spaces planning manager Rachel Stuart said that given these new courts were recently provided in Hastings, and that the Flaxmere and Flaxmere West community plans identified new sport facilities and equipment were needed in this area, the pilot programme will be centred on Flaxmere.

“We already pitched the idea to the community at last week’s inaugural Flaxmere Night Market – asking people for their ideas on what parks they would like hoops in.

“There’s a lot of excitement about the proposed upgrade from a half court to full court at Len Harlen Park and we got lots of other ideas as well.

“It’s really important that the community tells us where they would like the courts to go, and we’ve had ideas ranging from Flaxmere Park to Chatham and Kingsley Parks.”

The aim is to install two new full courts and one half-court in three Flaxmere locations in the next six months. Funding for the pilot programme will be secured through fundraising and sponsorship opportunities.

The team is keen to hear the community’s views and people can either have their say online at www.myvoicemychoice.co.nz or fill in the feedback form at the Flaxmere Community Centre.

While this pilot project is proposed to initially concentrate on Flaxmere, if successful it could be rolled out to other communities, including Hastings’ rural communities.

4 November 2020

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