Call to action for sport lovers
"Southlanders are lucky to have a world-class stadium on their doorstep."
Southland Sharks coach Paul Henare has seen many venues during his career and knows what it means to be world class.
"I have been lucky enough to have seen a lot of stadiums around the world and this one is right up there."
The Tall Blacks and New Zealand Breakers assistant coach said it was his goal to bring both teams to play at ILT Stadium Southland.
Fundraising gets under way today in an attempt to make up the estimated $5 million shortfall in funding for the stadium so that generations of Southlanders to come can enjoy the stadium.
Henare is proud to be associated with the stadium, and the Sharks team feel lucky to have it as a base.
The noise of about 2000 fans during each game - along with the big screen and the sound system - created a fantastic atmosphere. "It's an event, not just a game."
It was encouraging for the Sharks to see most of the courts filled with young people playing basketball, netball and volleyball.
Sport in Southland was going to benefit from having access to so many different sports, he said.
Born-and-bred Southlander Wendy Frew believes having a complex for young people to play sport in any weather was of huge importance to the region.
The Southern Steel vice-captain said she was lucky enough to play at the old stadium but the new venue was the next step up.
"We fell pretty lucky turning up and playing in a new stadium like this, week in and out."
Playing in a "flash new venue" also brought extra excitement to a game, which the Southern Steel had experienced this season.
The Southland Times