Some local sporting venues will get a boost with better facilities for female athletes as Hamilton Kirikiriroa is set to receive $1.15 million from central government.
This funding is a portion of $19 million announced today by the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Grant Robertson. It will support infrastructure and gender-neutral upgrades to match and training venues across New Zealand for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, the largest women’s sporting event on the planet.
These are essential upgrades to ensure the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 can be hosted in Aotearoa New Zealand, including the Play-Off Tournament taking place in Hamilton Kirikiriroa and Auckland Taamaki Makaurau in February.
Hamilton’s funding will be split between Waikato Stadium, Porritt Park, Gower Park and Korikori Park.
Rebecca Whithead Acting General Manager - Community said that this investment from central government will be a game changer for supporting our communities and groups that use these venues on a daily basis.
“Having these facilities available for our regular users will encourage more people to take part in community sport. Not just that, but this combined with the venue infrastructure upgrades puts Hamilton Kirikiriroa in a stronger position when we bid to host international events in the future.”
$600,000 will go towards ensuring the training venues will have the infrastructure required to host an event of this magnitude, while the remaining $550,000 will come from Sport New Zealand and has been committed to Waikato Stadium and Porritt Park to meet Sport New Zealand’s gender-neutral requirements.
These upgrades will - among other things - help upgrade our existing facilities to work for all of our athletes regardless of gender. This includes having individual showers, privacy screens, cubicle toilets, baby change tables, accessible bathrooms and gender-neutral changing rooms for both players and officials.
CEO of Waikato Bay of Plenty Football Karyn Walters says the impact of this funding on encouraging women into football in the Waikato region will be huge, particularly with the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 descending on Aotearoa New Zealand next year.
“Traditionally, changing rooms across our sporting venues have been geared towards males, but it’s important that all athletes feel comfortable in the changing facilities regardless of their gender. These upgrades to changing rooms will help remove those barriers,” she said.
“Waikato Bay of Plenty Football has a target of getting more than 4,000 of our young women playing football by 2024. This funding will make sure our facilities and stadiums enable and empower everyone who wants to play a sport to get involved.”
A major focus for Hamilton Kirikiriroa is making sure money spent and changes made in preparation for hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is to leave a positive legacy for the future of women in sport across the Waikato long after the final whistle is blown.
More about the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023:
The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 will take place from 20 July to 20 August 2023 – involving 32 teams from around the globe in 64 matches across nine host cities in New Zealand and Australia.
The event is set to be one of the biggest sporting events in Australasia since the 2000 Sydney Olympics, captivating an audience of more than one billion people across the globe. Tickets will go on sale online from 6 October 2022 with prices starting from $20 for adults and $10 for children.
More about the Government funding:
The Government is investing around $19 million to support upgrades at 30 of the 32 potential sporting facilities earmarked for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 including pitch, lighting and facility enhancements, and gender-neutral changing spaces.
The venues and local councils are also contributing to the costs of these upgrades.
The Government’s investment includes $5 million through Sport New Zealand for gender neutral changing room upgrades at some of these venues.