09/09/2011 - General News
The country’s largest tennis centre in Christchurch will be known as the Z Energy Wilding Park Tennis Centre following a $1 million donation from Z Energy shareholder, Infratil, to help pay for the reconstruction of the complex.
The Wilding Park Tennis Complex has 39 tennis courts and is internationally renowned for the many high profile matches it has hosted over the years. The complex was badly damaged in the February quake and has been out of action since. It typically employs about 30 people.
Canterbury Tennis is the regional body for the sport with 109 member clubs.
Z Energy Chief Executive Mike Bennetts said Z was delighted to be publicly associated with the rebuild of the most significant tennis centre in the country, which supports and promotes tennis for school age children through to professional levels.
“Infratil has made $1 million available to help get this centre back on its feet through the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal, which was launched by the Prime Minister and led by Mark Weldon from the NZX. The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust has been established to make funding decisions.
“We have staff and significant operations in the Christchurch area and we are committed to continuing to invest in and support the city and its people. Z is really pleased to be a part of continuing to get Christchurch back up and running through helping one of the best most innovative sporting organisations in the country get back on its feet.”
Chief Executive of Canterbury Tennis, David Blackwell, said he was humbled by Infratil’s generous support for tennis in Canterbury and excited about the association between Z Energy as an emerging Kiwi company and the Wilding Park Tennis Complex.
“The $1 million of funding from Infratil will go a long way and we will also continue to work alongside the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Appeal in relation to their commitment to some additional funding. Current professional engineering reports will determine the exact configuration and location of the new facility.
“Once up and running again, we expect to have tens of thousands of school kids taking part in tennis development programmes every year, so this support will make a real difference for many Kiwi kids and families,” he said.
“The Z Energy Wilding Park Tennis Complex will serve as a symbol of the partnership between two leading Kiwi companies, the Government and the people of Christchurch towards something that really matters to Christchurch and to New Zealand.”
David said construction was likely to begin in the next five to six months with the facilities progressively reopened over the coming year.