Monday 19 December, 2022
Tall Black Ethan Rusbatch had to jostle for position at an event for Gisborne’s new basketball courts on Saturday.
The newly painted courts were a hive of activity as basketball was played well into the afternoon with a free sausage sizzle to keep everyone fed. Rusbatch said if he’d grown up with courts like this around the corner, “I’d be loving it.”
One Tairāwhiti mum who brought her tamariki down on Saturday said the courts would make a big difference to her.
“They can scooter along the walkway to come here and we know they’re safe when they get here.”
The new half-courts sit beside the two tennis courts at Waikanae Beach for public use.
With Basketball New Zealand’s fastest-growing sport it was time for Tairāwhiti to get some public courts for the young people to play on.
The project has been a partnership between Basketball New Zealand, Gisborne Basketball Association, Hoeā! Gallery and Council.
The artwork on the courts was designed by Melanie Tangaere Baldwin, of Hoeā! Gallery. Weather in the run-up to the event meant final touches were applied to the courts from 5.30am on opening day.
A second mural and line marking are scheduled for the other court in the new year.
The event called Hoops in Parks included giveaways of basketballs and a focus on having fun.
After an official blessing, Deputy Mayor Josh Wharehinga paid tribute to everyone in the Gisborne Basketball Association who worked in a voluntary capacity and gave a big mihi to Basketball NZ.
“Gisborne doesn’t often get things like this, we often get missed out. I’m very thankful to everyone who made it happen, including staff at Council for the mahi behind the scenes.”