Te Awamutu Swimming and Events Centre Opening Ceremony
Shortly after 10am this morning local Kaumatua welcomed the official ceremony party into the SECTA complex. The party included Waipa District Council Members, sponsors and major supports, Mayor Alan Livingston, Sir Brian Lochore and Dame Silvia Cartwright.
With former Waipa Mayor John Hewitt as Master of Ceremonies, the 2-hour ceremony included speeches, entertainment from the Te Awamutu College Choir, and a tour of the complex.
Brian Trebilco, representing the Te Awamutu Christian Leaders Association, lead the large crowd in a commitment prayer.
Waipa Mayor Alan Livingston thanked everyone involved in the project and expressed the community's excitement.
John Hewitt, Waipa Mayor during the centre's construction, relived the long series of events over a number of decades which led to today's opening. Mr. Hewitt noted that many people have waited a large part of their lives to see this day.
SECTA 2000 Trust Chairman Mervyn Gyde spoke about the project's controversial history. Whilst acknowledging that not everyone had been supportive, he quoted surveys which had shown a majority of local residents were behind the project. Mr. Gyde thanked everyone involved in the development and construction process.
Major sponsors Trust Waikato were represented by Trust Chairman Neil Clarke, who complimented the building's design and construction. The audience was most amused to hear how the SECTA 2000 Trust had gradually increased their funding applications from $200,000 to $800,000. Mr. Clarke explained that such increases were usually frowned upon, but Trust Waikato had been so impressed by the applications, as well as the fund-raising efforts of the Te Awamutu people, that the full amount was granted. "When a community helps itself, the Trust will pitch in and help also" he said.
Mike Livingstone spoke on behalf of Livingstone Building Ltd., major contractors for the facility as well as sponsors. Mr. Livingstone provided an insight into the various challenges faced during construction. He also praised the architects and Livingstone Building staff, in particular Site Manager Nigel Carrington for his untiring efforts.
Ian Farrelly, representing sponsors ASB Bank, gave an impassioned speech extolling the virtues of setting ambitious goals and striving to achieve. Quoting the SAS motto "Who Dares Wins", he said the Te Awamutu community had done just that.
1st keynote speaker was Sir Brian Lochore, Chairman of the Hillary Commission and legendary former All Black. Sir Brian regaled the audience with a few personal anecdotes before talking about the vision, commitment and energy required to undertake a project such as the Events Centre. The Hillary Commission is strongly supportive of multi-sport complexes and believes they are the way of the future. Sir Brian emphasised the need to adapt to changing times and to create facilities to cater for the demands of younger people and generations to come.
2nd keynote speaker, NZ Governor General Dame Silvia Cartwright began by pointing out that she used to work in Te Awamutu and knows the area well. She noted the large turnout for today's ceremony and spoke very highly of the local community's support of this project. Dame Silvia then unveiled the plaque which will be mounted at the entrance to the complex, and declared the Te Awamutu Swimming and Events Centre officially open.