Dream big for our District

Published on 17 July 2023

Photo of Mayor Vince Cocurullo in the mayoral robe and chains.

Over the time of being in this role, I have noticed our sports fields are a hive of activity every weekend, regardless of the weather (which for many of us in winter is rather freezing and wet) our community are out there braving the elements for the enjoyment of sport or family.

Some wake up extra early to travel to other areas within Northland, or even other regions, just to play their sport of choice.

Our top athletes even need to live full-time in other cities to compete within their sporting code. 

We Northlanders are passionate about sport. Whether it's in a supporting role or being in the team, it's a key part of our social (and family!) life. 

What if we were to look at this slightly differently and picture Northland as the home of the Warriors, the Wheel Blacks, Māori All Blacks, the Black Sticks and the Silver Ferns just to name a few.

Imagine if the Tall Blacks trained here in Whangārei, what would that mean to Northland?  

What impact would that have on our sporting community, and on our District or region? Instead of our top athletes travelling away from home for their sporting success, they stay right here… And the rest of the world comes to our District to watch them play? It’s an exciting thought.   

So, what would it take to make this happen? We would need to modify the stadiums to provide additional seating.

We would be looking at transport options to get to and from events, and have more accommodation and training facilities, and (of course) the state of our roads would need to be greatly improved as we welcomed visitors from across New Zealand and the world.  

The hospitality and retail sectors would thrive, our local attractions would see renewed visitor numbers, our community sporting facilities would improve, and our young people would feel a sense of local connection to world-class sport like never before.      

Ok, so this might be a bit ambitious. Yet I believe it is worth thinking about, especially when the benefits would go beyond our District, and even Northland. 

Whangarei District Council currently maintains a total of 23 sports grounds and recreation facilities, and it’s obvious there’s a growing need for more, as basketball in Whangārei alone needs an additional 6 courts.

Why not dream big? Dreams only become reality when good planning is put in place and opportunities arise. Is this something that you want to see within our District?   

As part of our planning process, we will be asking for your feedback on our sports facilities (along with many other things), to help shape the 2024-2034 Long Term Plan (that is Councils 10-year plan that directs the future planning and financial commitment of the district).

I’ll be sharing more information about this as we get closer to consultation, and when the time comes, I hope that you’ll take the time to tell us what big dreams you have for our District.  


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