Will Key be chipping in for stadium today?

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2014

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John Key's campaign crew is expected to hit the city today but the big question is will he come to silence the rattling tins in the south?

ILT Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt confirmed the Prime Minister was scheduled to visit during the South Island secondary schools netball tournament today.

When Key officially opened the rebuilt stadium in May, the prime minister said the Government "might be able to find a bit of cash" to help make the stadium debt-free, provided "local tins were rattled" a bit more.

The challenge launched the Rattle the Tin fundraising campaign, which has now been in action for four months.

However, the stadium trust had no expectations about what might result from Key's visit, Skelt said.

So far, the community has chipped in $1.3 million to the campaign.

Support had trickled in from a wide range of people, from schools holding mufti days at one end of the spectrum to rest homes at the other, Skelt said.

In between, Lions clubs and women's groups, as well as several sports organisations, had given generously, he said.

For Skelt, one of the nicest surprises of the campaign had been the enthusiasm of southern children.

One little girl had emptied her piggy bank savings to donate $7.80 to the stadium, he said. "It's probably, from our perspective, the equivalent of a million dollars. That was a pretty special moment."

Skelt believed Southlanders were beginning to realise how versatile the venue was.

The new facility had offered new opportunities in Southland, like tai chi, and enabled growth of other sports, such as volleyball, in the region, he said.

lauren.hayes@stl.co.nz

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