WIA’s mission is preserving Indian heritage by cherishing culture, celebrating festivals and social milestones while nurturing youth. Hindu festivities are celebrated and regular programmes and activities are on offer whilst having a proactive public relationship with the wider community.
The Wellington Indian Cultural and Sports Centre is home to the Wellington Indian Association and Wellington Indian Sports Club. The Centre comprises of a large community Centre (including a kitchen, function room, temple, classrooms, and a large auditorium) and an indoor sporting arena (including an indoor training facility with an artificial turf, changing rooms/showers, and clubrooms). Due to its size, the availability of parking, and general accessibility, the community centre is very popular with a wide variety of community groups within the region, including local schools and colleges, Wellington City Council, the NZ Tango Festival, Wellington NZ, as well as numerous expos and shows.
The indoor sports arena primarily caters for hockey, cricket and indoor soccer. It is frequently used by a variety of local sporting clubs for training such as Wellington Rugby Union (Hurricanes) and Miramar Rangers (Football). The centre caters for many sporting codes with participants from different ethnicities reflecting the multi-cultural diversity of the community. The junior hockey programme caters for children from various schools throughout Kilbirnie, Lyall Bay, Miramar and Seatoun areas as well as the wider Wellington region.
Over the years, the sporting activities have diversified into many areas resulting in numerous high performance athletes representing NZ teams and many competitive sports such as soccer, netball, women’s cricket, and Tae Kwon Do. Social activities include a walking group, social volleyball, social goldies, hockey, and golf.
The centre is an integral part of the Kilbirnie and surrounding suburban landscape of Wellington with a historical attachment to the local community.
The building project is being led by a team of five experienced members of the community. Board Secretary and Project Leader Ashwin Gulab says, “In December 2019, a detailed seismic assessment of the building was performed as the first stage for a redevelopment plan. The assessment resulted in the building being below the minimum NBS (New Building Standard). The community requires a resilient building, that is strengthened to a high NBS. The grant application was made to NZCT due to a shortfall in funds for the project. Once the seismic strengthening work, designed by Dunning Thornton Consulting, is completed, we expect the usage to grow.”
“The centre is experiencing a high rate of venue usage up 28.5% within the last ten years that brings with it opportunities and challenges so much so that the centre requires an upgrade to support the various activities. The overall goal for WIA is to redevelop the facility as a multi-use complex as it will provide a range of spaces of different sizes to cater to a range of user requirements. This type of facility will increase opportunities for utilisation and to provide enough flexibility to respond to the future changing trends.”
Once the seismic strengthening work is completed, two of the next major refurbishments will be the kitchen upgrade and gymnasium resurfacing. The new development will include a full commercial kitchen and the new artificial turf will cater for a variety of sporting codes.
The Wellington Indian Association was established on 1st March 1925 with sixty-four founding members and officially incorporated in 1944 as a not-for-profit community organisation. The WIA currently has over 1,200 members living in the Wellington region and has a significant focus on community service.
The Indian Cultural and Sports Centre has been the hub of Indian arts, culture, sports, language, health/welfare, and religious activities for well over thirty years, catering to all members of the Indian and the wider community. It plays a central role in creating a sense of belonging and the services and programmes are run by almost 140 volunteers.
“We wish to extend our gratitude to the NZ Community Trust for the grant of $50,000 as it will ensure we complete the seismic strengthening work to benefit all users of the facilities” says Ashwin.