Rugby club rebranded as community sports facility

Celebrating the newly-named facility on Friday were, from left, Pakuranga United Rugby Club chairman Rob Neil, Howick Local Board chair Adele White, PURC board member Donna Kinnane, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown and PURC general manager John East. Botany MP Christopher Luxon sent his apologies. Times photo Wayne Martin

Pakuranga United Rugby Club (PURC) has undergone a transformation and will now be the nexus of multiple sporting codes.

The club last week formally unveiled its new name – the Howick Pakuranga Community Sports Centre – and refurbished HQ at its long-time Bell Park home.

Among those present were Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown, Howick Local Board chair Adele White, local and regional dignitaries, PURC life members and members from other sporting codes.

PURC general manager John East said the name change had been a long time in the making and marked a new era in sports facilities, delivery and governance in south east Auckland.

“From our humble beginnings as the Pakuranga United Rugby Club in 1965, we are now the home of rugby, netball, badminton, touch rugby, American Football and baseball,” East said.

“Our new name now reflects the more diverse and inclusive nature of the sporting groups that call this facility home.

“We are situated on Lloyd Elsmore Park and enjoy facilities that are among the best community sport has to offer in NZ.

“We have recently completed a major upgrade of our facilities to support the 2022 Rugby World Cup which include changing rooms that are multi-gender and offer special multi-gender features such as individual private shower booths.

“We also now have baby changing facilities in the players’ changing room area – unheard of at rugby clubs in the past.”

Also speaking was PURC board member Donna Kinnane who headed up the branding and broke down the origins of the new logo, as well as PURC chairman Rob Neil who delivered an update on the capital initiatives the club currently has in play that will take the facility to the next level of community sport delivery.

MP Simeon Brown said the leadership of East and Neil in refurbishing the centre and bringing together other clubs into the facility to deliver what is an exceptional multi-sport facility is something east Auckland can be incredibly proud of.

“It was an incredible privilege to officially open the Howick Pakuranga Community Sport Centre on Friday evening,” said Brown.

“East Auckland has an incredible history of producing world class athletes and sports players. By renaming and refurbishing what was the Pakuranga United Rugby Club into a multi-sport facility will mean that this tradition will continue and grow for many decades to come.

“I wish every success to the leadership, staff, volunteers and players who will use this facility as they continue to represent Howick and Pakuranga in NZ and around the world.”