Community, Council · 1 Jun 2021

Boost for Sports, Community Initiatives and Arts

News Desk

News Desk


From BMX to basketball, Matariki to Les Mis, the Invercargill City Council Community Wellbeing Fund is supporting events, developments, and organisations likely to reach everyone in the city.

At the latest round of decision-making for the Community Wellbeing Fund Committee, more than $90,000 was allocated to 12 applicants.

Committee Chairman Graham Lewis said all of the 22 applicants were clearly passionate about their projects, having applied for more than $240,000 in funding all up.

“Our Committee was certainly faced with a tough task of selecting a few projects or organisations to receive part of the funding we had available to allocate, and we’re delighted with those which have been successful,” Cr Lewis said.

“We’re confident that there will be something which will have a positive effect on the wellbeing of every Invercargill resident from this latest allocation round.”

Two of the exciting projects to receive funding were the Southland BMX Club’s new track at Elizabeth Park and the 2021 Matariki Festival, to be held at Queens Park in July.

Southland BMX Club Committee Member Ngarita Te Patu said the club’s plans for a new BMX track at Elizabeth Park will put Invercargill on the map for BMX enthusiasts nation-wide.

The new track will put Invercargill near the top of the list for national competitions, with the club having already applied to host the South Island championships following the completion of the new track.

“Recently, Kaiapoi had 400 riders at their event, which is big for a small town in New Zealand. We could potentially do more than that. Nationals is 600 riders, plus families, so for the region, it’s going to be massive for us,” Ms Te Patu said.

“Normally when we go away, we take a week and check out the region we’re going to, so that’s what will happen with this as well. Usually, they [riders] come down a week before an event so they can check out the track.”

Best of all about the project, is that Southland BMX riders and community members alike will be able to continue using the old track while the new one is being built.

Of a total cost of $385,000, the club has managed to secure most of the funding for the new track, $20,000 of which was awarded from the Community Wellbeing Fund

“I think the really important thing is that it’s not just for us as a club, it is actually for anyone. Hopefully Invercargill sees it will be part of the bigger picture – for the whole community,” Ms Te Patu said.

The club hopes the track will be completed during summer 2021-22, ready for the BMX season starting later in 2022.

Meanwhile, one of the city’s favourite winter events, the Murihiku Matariki Festival in Queens Park, has also received a funding boost of $15,000.

Tuurama Trust Chairman Jay Coote, Photo: Supplied

Tuurama Trust Chairman Jay Coote said this year’s festival in Queens Park aims to be better, and more inclusive, than ever before.

“The theme this year is Te Waka Kohikohi – The Gathering Fleet. It’s about encouraging our community to come together, as a fleet, get involved with the art projects, or just come along to the gathering at Queens Park to celebrate Matariki,” he said.

Throughout the weekend, people can go on a journey of discovery – to learn about Matariki and hear the story of the atua (gods) who created the star cluster.

“There’s going to be storytelling in the Rose Garden, dance and storytelling in the band rotunda … over at the duck pond people will find some waka, and children will be able to move the waka in the pond using a pulley system,” Mr Coote said.

“For the youngsters, there will be sensory overload – a bit of dark, next minute fog and lights and sounds. It will be cool to activate the senses – imagine walking past the pond and you hear a horn … then a waka is coming towards you across the pond.”

Mr Coote said Festival Coordinator Sharne Parkinson was busy throughout the region teaching workshops in the leadup to Matariki, including with kindergarten teachers.

“A lot of the teachers want to know a lot more about the meaning of Matariki, so it’s important to approach it appropriately with the right kaupapa – a good background. We don’t want to bombard them … it’s like training for a marathon, you’re not going to do 42 kilometres straight away.” Residents are likely to see one small change to the festival this year – increased access for older people and people with disabilities.

“One change that’s really important to us is to make it more inclusive, so we’re hoping to introduce tours by cars or golf carts. This year, we’re considering it and making sure we can manage any risks around that.

“Rain, hail, or shine, Queens Park will be amazing. You can expect a spectacle, that’s for sure,” Mr Coote promised.

For more information about the Community Wellbeing Fund, including application information, visit

Community Wellbeing Fund Round 2 Allocations

  • Southland BMX Club Incorporated for Elizabeth Park BMX Track: $20,000
  • Tuurama Trust for Matariki Festival 2021: $15,000
  • Invercargill Musical Theatre for Les Miserables production: $15,000
  • Southland Multicultural Trust for Cultural Celebrations: $10,000
  • Stadium Southland for Christmas Variety Show: $8,000 each year for three years
  • YMCA South for Raise Up Youth Leadership Programme: $7,500
  • Stadium Southland for Schick 3 x 3 Basketball Cup: $5,000 each year for two years
  • South Invercargill Urban Rejuvenation Charitable Trust for South Alive School Holiday Events: $5,000
  • South Invercargill Urban Rejuvenation Charitable Trust for Drive in Movie Nights: $2,000
  • Southland Social Sciences Fair: $2,000 each year for three years
  • Parent to Parent for Renew Workshop: $1,000
  • Greenlight Innovations for Random Acts of Art Workshop: $500