New Zealand eyes proposal for nation’s first wave pool

The Christchurch area on New Zealand’s South Island is one step closer to getting a Wavegarden Cove. The players behind the project are seeking to create an “aquasports park” with water-themed sports surrounding a central wave pool.

“The project has been in development for around six years and is a planned co-location Wave pool/Wake Cable/White Water Park with Aquaplay facilities, restaurant/cafe,” said Nicholas Mooney. “We have council support and land sorted.”

The Christchurch zone could use some positive news, as the area has been ground zero for heaps of misfortune this past decade. In 2011 an earthquake ripped through the town toppling businesses and homes. Most recently the March mosque shootings claimed 51 lives.

To help rebuild the area after the earthquake a red zone was established limiting the type of construction in quake areas. From the rubble the WHoW Charitable Trust has emerged to help develop and facilitate the park.

“The park will cater for people of all ages and abilities, from dabblers to elite sports people, including providing a training facility for Olympians and water safety training for school children,” the trust said in a statement.

A potential site for the aquasports park has been identified in the Kaiapoi, North Canterbury red zone, only 20 minutes from Christchurch International Airport.

The Waimakariri District Council and Enterprise North Canterbury have indicated their support for the project concept and for future funding. Their blessing comes with the condition that a pre-feasibility study gives the wave pool a thumbs up.

The study will include commissioning reports assessing transport, planning, land use, cultural, market research and financial assessments.

“We need to initially raise $125,000, to conduct the pre-feasibility study,” continued Mooney. “Excess funds will be rolled into the next stage of the project.”

If all goes according to plan the park will open in summer 2023.

What makes this project a departure from the resort wave pool developments, like those currently in Southern California, is the trust set up to ensure that the project contributes to the community.

“We have set up a trust to maintain some give back and governance moving forward,” added Mooney. “The trust has a number pillars around Community, health and wellbeing, Youth development and water safety, tourism and international events.”

Mooney’s team includes builders, marketing personal and planners – all Kiwi industry heavies. Mooney was at Quiksilver for a decade and his partner Tony Joseph owns Joseph and Associates, a Project Management and Quantity Surveying Co. Another partner Jason Mill owns Pivnice, an Architectural Co.

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