Taiora, QEII Sport & Recreation Centre
The site previously known as Queen Elizabeth II Park was home to the QEII Sport and Recreation facility constructed for the 1974 Commonwealth Games. The much-loved complex closed in 2011 due to significant earthquake damage and was later demolished. Taiora is the result of a long and hard-fought battle by the community to get a pool rebuilt at QEII Park.
Designed with input from the community, Taiora boasts an impressive array of aquatic facilities, including a 130-metre long hydroslide, 25-metre lap pool, leisure pool, learn-to-swim pool, hydrotherapy pool, spa, sauna, steam room, fitness centre, café, meeting rooms, and parking for 200 vehicles and 160 bikes.
Taiora was the first planned project to bring life back to the East of Christchurch following a number of devasting earthquakes and as a result, held a high level of public interest. The design brief was to create a sustainable public building that restores and grows participation in sport and contributes to wellbeing within the community. Very extensive public consultations and stakeholder engagement were undertaken throughout the project with Matapopore, the local community board and wider Eastern suburbs to ensure the design of the new facility had their involvement and blessing.
Taoira, gifted by Ngāi Tuahuriri embodies the vision of the project. Tai means coastal waters or a collective gathering of people, and ora means wellbeing, health, nutrients, energy source.
The multimillion-dollar Taiora was opened on Queen’s Birthday weekend – ahead of schedule and under budget. The centre hit maximum capacity, with an estimated 22,000 people through the door on that first weekend, clearly demonstrating the community interest and support for this project.
After losing the previous QEII facility post the Christchurch earthquakes, there was a real loss felt by the locals. This facility has “Brought Life Back” to the area. Given the facility has been running well above projected numbers since opening, the statistics speak for themselves that the local community have embraced this facility.
“Work on the centre has progressed ahead of schedule and we can’t wait to welcome people through the doors and to see them enjoying the new facilities. It is going to be a major milestone for the east and cause for celebration,” says Christchurch City Council Head of Recreation, Sports and Events John Filsell.