Basketball New Zealand’s community hoops drive is continuing to thrive.

Their Hoops in Schools project is consistently getting hoops into regional schools with South Auckland, Tauranga, Hastings and Gisborne enjoying new installations in targeted schools. Now Basketball New Zealand is working on ‘Hoops in Parks’.

Hoops in Parks is an initiative devised by Basketball New Zealand and Hastings District Council earlier this year, in collaboration with Basketball Hawke’s Bay and Sport Hawke’s Bay. This collaboration followed the launch of two new hoops at Kimi Ora Community School in June 2020 – a recipient during the Hoops in Schools. The Hoops in Parks pilot is being run in Hastings. Much like Hoops in Schools, Hoop in Parks aims to address the lack of suitable facilities by creating quality, sustainable, long term opportunities for the local communities to participate and play basketball across several outdoor locations.

Hastings District Councils has already invested in their hoops infrastructure with installations in eight parks – three in Flaxmere, three in Hastings, one in Whakatū and one in Haumoana. Most recently a full basketball court was put into Kirkpatrick Park and a half-basketball court in William Nelson Park.

Hastings District Council public spaces planning manager, Rachel Stuart, says the new Hoops in Parks pilot programme is targeting Flaxmere as it was identified that new sport facilities and equipment were especially needed in this area.

“We already pitched the idea to the community at the inaugural Flaxmere Night Market, asking people for their ideas on what parks they would like hoops in.

“It’s really important that the community tells us where they would like the courts to go, and we’ve had ideas ranging from Flaxmere Park to Chatham and Kingsley Parks.”

In the next six months, the project is working towards another two full-courts and one half-court in Flaxmere locations. Concept plans for the redevelopment of Len Harlen Park’s new court are already underway. These plans will be shared with the community and nearby residents early next year.

Funding for the pilot programme is secured through local fundraising and sponsorship opportunities, using detailed plans, briefing documents and advocacy from Basketball New Zealand.

Basketball New Zealand Manager of Development and Technology, Daniel Dawick, says this work is a key project to Basketball New Zealand’s vision of ‘a hoop in the heart of every neighbourhood’.

“We’ve been working with communities throughout Aotearoa and have seen 56 high-quality street hoops installed in Kiwi schools within two years. The benefits of these new facilities are now proving to get more kids active and foster a wonderfully positive community spirit.

“We wanted to look at other ways to provide more hoops – this is the first Hoops in Parks pilot that we’ve done thanks to the cooperation and vision of Hastings District Council. The pilot will help us show other regions that these facilities in parks do make a big difference and investing in these is a no-brainer.”