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Pooling expertise to create a world-class aquatic centre

Designed to put Hawke’s Bay aquatic sports on the map, the recently opened Regional Aquatic Centre is a state-of-the-art facility for club sports and beyond.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre is a $32 million state-of-the-art facility in Hastings’ Regional Sports Park, which was officially opened to the general public in September 2022.

Truly world class, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Aquatic Centre (HBRAC) features a 10-lane, 50 metre Olympic-sized swimming pool, catering for swim meets and deep-water sports such as water polo and canoe polo, along with a 25 metre learn-to-swim and warm-up pool.

In addition, two hydrotherapy pools for rehabilitation and athlete recovery were added to the centre’s offering because the project came in under budget – no small feat considering COVID’s influence on building material availability, supply chain delays, and the labour market during its construction phase.

Largest aquatic centre in the country

Designed and built by Apollo Projects, HBRAC is open for public day-to-day use and has a strong focus on water safety programmes for all ages. But the hope has always been that it will significantly grow the region’s aquatic sports presence and entice major national and international events. And that it has.

“Water polo never existed in Hawke’s Bay previously, but the recently established Hawke’s Bay Water Polo Club has 16 teams registered and using the new facility already,” says Hawke’s Bay Community Fitness Centre Trust (HBCFCT) Executive Manager, David Nancarrow.

“Our main Olympic pool is fully compliant to FINA World Championship criteria with a total of 1,650 seats, making it the largest aquatic centre in the country.”

Within a month of opening, HBRAC had been confirmed to host four significant national swimming competitions, including the National Masters Water Polo Tournament and the 2024 National Swimming Championships, which will also serve as a selection event for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

person swimming in race

A destination for sports

The HBRAC is the third and final piece in the HBCFCT’s grand plan to make the Hawke’s Bay region a destination for sport. It has been a 360° view on the future of sports for the province that was envisioned by Founding Trustee Bruce Mactaggart and Founding Chair Sir Graeme Avery.

The new aquatic centre joins the $15 million EIT Institute of Health and Sport, which encompasses a gym, netball and basketball courts, meeting rooms, sport and health clinic, and a public cafe. There is also a brand new 72-bed on-site hostel for the use of visiting athletes across a range of sporting disciplines, or for kids on sports-focused school camps.

In total, the charity has been responsible for $85 million worth of sporting facilities constructed in Hawke’s Bay since 2016.


One team, working together

Given the significant replacement value of the completed structure, a co-insurance placement with several insurers was required when planning the HBRAC. The project was overseen by Crombie Lockwood Hawke’s Bay Branch Director, Trevor Beard, alongside Head of Crombie Lockwood Placement Services, Steve Kuun.

David says having Crombie Lockwood’s expertise on each project was essential, especially when the HBCFCT faced increased insurance premiums due to a building revaluation.

Trevor was able to provide a solution with the help of the quantity assessment services of Cost Construction Consultants.

“Working together as one team, we were able to provide our client with a competitive insurance solution, backed by leading commercial insurers providing sound protection for this valuable community asset,” says Trevor.

“We’re proud to be involved in a real local initiative that benefits local people. For sports development and fitness in Hawke’s Bay, we now have a world-class facility right on our doorstep.”

Trevor headshot 2

“We’re proud to be involved in a real local initiative that benefits local people. For sports development and fitness in Hawke’s Bay, we now have a world-class facility right on our doorstep.”

Trevor Beard, Crombie Lockwood Hawke’s Bay Branch Director

Published November 2022