Te Whakahou o te Kōpua o Olympic

Olympic Pool redevelopment

With the financial assistance from Central Government we’re building a pool that's fit-for-purpose for our community, now and for the future.

The completed facility will be a modern, year-round, temperature-controlled aquatic centre the whole community can enjoy. The building and its surrounds integrate modern and traditional features in the design.

This project has been discussed at Council level since 2006 and in 2017, we undertook a business case to assess the level of investment needed. Consultation on preferred options followed as part of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan. Delivery of the project was subject to securing external funding, with Council contributing $5.65m.

The Government’s announcement in 2020 of $40m towards the Olympic Pool redevelopment as part of its nation-wide shovel-ready stimulus package was a cause for a celebration.

The Government is funding the redevelopment through the Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) Covid-19 response. Council has committed $5.65m to the project and will make up the shortfall if another funding source cannot be found to meet the price tag.

Ngāi Tāwhiri hapu is providing cultural guidance, paying careful attention to the relationship of the building, the land and the people of Te Tairāwhiti.

At its 18 March 2021 meeting, Council approved moving the location of the new indoor aquatic facility to the greenfields site immediately adjacent to the existing outdoor pool area.

What moving the location of the new indoor facility will mean

This means the existing Olympic Pool complex can remain open and operational throughout the build process - a benefit for existing sport and recreation users of the facility.

The change in location reduces construction risk for the project and ensures the new pool located some distance from the eastern intercepter sewer line, which crosses the site.

The new indoor aquatic facility is expected to open in March/April 2023, with the outdoor phase intended to be progressively delivered following the opening of the indoor facility.

Early construction work includes a new permanent outdoor toilet and change room block, and the installation of infrastructure and ground works for the new site.

The indoor area will consist of a 50m x 20m multi-use pool, leisure and toddlers’ pool, learn-to-swim/hydrotherapy pool, indoor change rooms, administration and office facilities, pool plant, service areas, car park and associated landscaping.

The concept for the upgrade and enhancement of the outdoor pool area, following consultation with the community, may include elements such as a zero-depth wet deck play area, a new hydroslide, a basketball half court and improved landscaping.


Council approved a new location for the indoor facility of the Olympic Pool Redevelopment.

Site contamination and geotechnical investigations of Churchill Park’s green field area next to the current Olympic Pool site are already underway with preliminary results expected back by the end of April.

Relocating the indoor facility alleviates challenges associated with building new aquatic infrastructure over the top of an existing and aging network-critical sewer pipe.

It also respects the position of mana whenua with regard to the cultural and spiritual issues associated with human waste.

Council agreed at the meeting that pending problematic geotechnical investigation results, the contingency plan would be to decommission and reroute the existing sewerage pipe.

Council Chief Executive Nedine Thatcher Swann says Council is committed to building a facility which meets the needs of the whole community.

“The proposed changes are a result of this commitment. Our expert project team has been working with key stakeholders such as Ngai Tāwhiri and the Game Changing Opportunity Group to understand their concerns and long-term objectives.”

Sir Derek Lardelli and his wife Rose attended the meeting along with Ngai Tāwhiri hapū representatives Thelma Karaitiana and Stan Pardoe.

During a co-design process with Ngai Tāwhiri the proposal to relocate the main indoor facilty has received significant support.

Thelma Karaitiana of Ngāi Tawhiri, says Council and hapū representatives are working in the spirit of protecting the whenua.

“Mana whenua have a cultural duty of care to the people and the environment, and the relocation of the facility is an informed resolution to risk adverse matters".

Ms Thatcher Swann added that another advantage of relocation is the ability for visitors to keep using the existing pools while the new facility is built.

Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti (SGT) chief executive Stefan Pishief says the sporting community is excited by what’s planned.

“This will be an amazing facility that benefits everyone in our community. We commend the Council for listening to the voice of mana whenua, and for recognising the opportunities that the new site will provide. This is the right outcome."

How it's paid for

This project was one of several projects that Council submitted a funding application to the Infrastructure Reference Group through CIP for Covid-19 recovery funding. The Government is funding $40m, and Council has committed $5.65m towards the project.

Council set aside $37.7m for years 1 and 2 of this Long Term Plan.