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Wai O Rua - Stratford Aquatic Centre

It's been more than a year since the new Wai o Rua – Stratford Aquatic Centre opened in central Taranaki, replacing the town's former swimming pool complex.

"The old TSB Pool Complex was redeveloped in 1986 as a hub for schools, swimming lessons and holidays. As you can imagine, it was becoming a little tired," said Donna Woodmass, Administration Coordinator.

Funding of $500k from the Toi Foundation helped enable the Stratford District Council to build the new $20 million aquatic facility that will serve the broader community for decades.

"We've got the main pool, the programme pool, which is a bit warmer at 32 degrees, a learn-to-swim pool, a toddler pool and a splash pad. There's a growing fitness programme which is going from strength to strength, and we're getting sports teams involving themselves in that as well."

Wai o Rua was designed and built with the whole community in mind.

"The facility provides better mobility support, with the main pool and programme pool both sporting accessibility ramps, the learn to swim pool has a hoist available, and all six changing facilities cater to wheelchair uses. We're getting a lot of retirees in our aqua aerobics and strength and balance classes and physios tell me they're impressed with our facilities. We've seen a lot of schools come on board with our swimming lessons programme, too," said Donna. 

"We're seeing more and more requests from the community around activities that they would like us to offer or explore. For example, we started an Aqua Natal class because there wasn't anything else like it around the district, and it has proved very popular," said Chade Julie, Acting Director Community Services.

"The benefit is far and wide, and not just within the Stratford district.” 

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