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Olympic-Grade Aquasports Park One Step Closer to Calling Kaiapoi Home

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An Olympic-level Aquasports park is one step closer to calling Kaiapoi home after the concept demonstrated through the pre-feasibility study the potential to be commercially viable.

The WHoW Charitable Trust plan a New Zealand first by co-locating surf wave, whitewater and cable wakeboard facilities together in an Aquasports Park parks alongside the Kaiapoi River on former red zoned land.

Trust Chairperson, Tony Joseph says the study has shown the project ‘has legs’ and gained the support from Waimakariri District Council, who will provide the Trust a short term lease on the former red zone land, so they can continue to progress towards making the park a reality.

“We’re really excited about this project. This park could transform the Aquasports scene in New Zealand by creating perfect conditions year-round for surfers, kayakers and wakeboarders to become the best of the best. At the same time there is space and scope for participation at all levels of several aqua sports that are growing rapidly but hindered in reaching their potential through lack of facilities.”

Surfing is now an Olympic sport and this facility, which could become the first surf garden facility in New Zealand, would provide a much-needed training facility for Kiwi and Pasifika qualifying athletes.

The park would provide water lovers with perfect waves, whitewater and cable wake at any time of year, and would be within easy reach of Christchurch international airport and main transport routes servicing the Canterbury region.

Last year the trust shared early concepts with the community before launching a Give A Little campaign looking for local support to help them undertake a pre-feasibility study.

“The feedback we got from both the Kaiapoi and Canterbury community was outstanding. People opened their pockets and helped us find over $100,000 to get to this point – there’s a real excitement about this project and how it could be a catalyst in Canterbury becoming an all-round adventure destination,” says Tony.

“Having got to the point of ‘proof of concept’ our focus now turns to putting together a more detailed proposal for investors which, if successful, will bring us one step closer in making this become a reality.”

Christchurch based mother and daughter surfing sensations Donna and Ava Henderson are ecstatic the proposal has got to the next step.

“I am stoked for the team at WHoW to see all their hard work paying off. The journey has been exciting to watch as a surfer, a surf school owner and a surf comp mum,” says Donna.

“The positive impacts on the wider surfing community and the opportunities a facility like this provides, not only our local kids but all kiwi kids regardless of abilities, are limitless. The wave park will provide a training ground for young up and coming surfers to fine tune their craft, wave after perfect wave and create opportunities for kids to learn how to surf in a safe controlled environment.”

The park would provide a perfect training ground for daughter Ava, who at 14 is the New Zealand women’s champion.

“Sometimes the waves aren’t ideal here in Christchurch so it would be great to be able to train in a wave pool where the waves are perfect every time,” says Ava.

Waimakariri District Council have granted the Trust a short-term lease of the regeneration land so they can continue to work on the project.

Mayor Dan Gordon says this is an exciting proposal for our District. The Council is in support of the proposal as the ethos of the Trust matches the regeneration aims the Council has in Kaiapoi.

“While still subject to full feasibility testing, the potential of this project to make a positive contribution in coming years to making the Canterbury region an adventure sports hot spot as well as aiding the economic recovery of COVID19.”

“Because of this the Council supported entering an agreement with the Trust to give them confidence to continue to develop their proposal.”


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