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A new $30 million indoor sporting facility being built as part of a $80 million redevelopment project at Heretaunga in Wellington, New Zealand, will position the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS) as a global leader in innovation and high performance sports, its developers said today.

“We can’t wait to welcome our first teams in 2021,” said developer Malcolm Gillies. NZCIS will bring national benefits and create a unique experience for sports and others.

Wellington Rugby, A-League football club the Wellington Phoenix and Baseball New Zealand have all committed to use the facility.

The first ”sod turning” event held today is for the new 18 metre high building that will include a 70×50 metre indoor sports field along with features such as a watt bike studio, hot and cold team plunge pools, sauna, cryotherapy chamber, 1000m2 gym and hydrotherapy pools.

The facility also has commercial grade food preparation, onsite dining and accommodation of 300+ rooms.

“I love being part of projects that enhance communities and help people grow and reach their potential,” said Gillies.

“This 17ha campus has integrated facilities that are simply not available in one convenient place in New Zealand.

This, along with the integration of innovative technology, data and physical features, will mean access to the best performance analysis. For example, our grass sports fields will also be data enabled with sensors and cameras that are built into the field’s infrastructure. This will enable measurement so that the sports codes using it can gain insights on how to best improve performance.

“Every sports team needs a heart, an identity and culture, so we’ve looked at innovative ways to enhance team identity and culture using technology that is integrated into the campus,” he said.  
The project sees the repurposing of the old CIT campus into an integrated high performance sporting campus that brings together leading edge technology, scale, accommodation, transport links, an attractive physical environment, and prospective partners such as sports organisations, global technology providers, the armed services and universities.

Jamie Tout, a partner in the project said; “We wanted to benchmark against the best globally. We consulted with Manchester United, visited football and rugby powerhouses in Europe, the New York Yankees and the Singapore Institute of Sport to see what they are offering. We asked many sporting teams and bodies what they wanted and have incorporated that feedback into the design of this facility as well.

“The outcome is an innovative, world-leading facility right here in our back yard and privately financed. It’s inspiring actually.”

Comments from sporting organisations
Matt Evans, CEO at Wellington Rugby said, “Wellington Rugby is excited by a 2021 move to the state-of-the-art sports hub being developed by NZCIS in Upper Hutt.

“The union is excited to partner with NZCIS who have demonstrated a strong backing for sport in the Wellington region, spanning elite and high performance teams right through to community and junior groups.

“The facility being built will allow the union to be on the same campus as other leading sporting brands from the region whilst providing the perfect environment to further develop international academy activities.

“This exciting opportunity is set to change the way sporting brands and unions interact with each other and the wider community and I look forward to what the future holds.”

David Dome, General Manager of Wellington said, ”We strongly believe in the potential of the new NZCIS facility to re-shape competitive sports in New Zealand.

”The planned development promises to be world class in its scope and technology, making it potentially one of the very best high performance units anywhere in this part of the world.

“In the extremely competitive environment of professional sport, initiatives such as the NZCIS will enable Wellington Phoenix to compete, and indeed gain competitive advantage, against our A-League competition as well as see the growth and further development of our Academy system which is already producing some of the very best young talent in the Hyundai A-League.”
Kris Richards, Coaching Development Manager at Baseball NZ said, “‘If you build it they will come’. Everyone knows this quote yet many forget that this is from a baseball movie.”

“The NZCIS facility in Upper Hutt is a game changer for baseball in New Zealand, from grassroots through to high performance. This will be the first year-round baseball specific training facility in the country. This facility will include the first baseball fields in the greater Wellington region which will assist in accommodating the rapid growth of baseball throughout the area.

“NZCIS will also serve as a high performance centre for Baseball New Zealand and be the hub for National team camps and tournaments.

“The team accommodation on the NZCIS campus will prove ideal for hosting National and International events.

“This is an exciting time for baseball. Within the span of two years, we have acquired a professional baseball team, the Auckland Tuatara, and now are on the verge of building a high performance centre. With the prospect of another professional baseball team coming to New Zealand in the near future, it is important that we are forward thinking to accommodate our rapid growth throughout the country.

“We congratulate the developers who have shown an amazing vision for New Zealand sport. Exciting times ahead for baseball in New Zealand.”