Apollo was engaged by Gisborne District Council as the design and build contractor for the $42m Kiwa Pools in Gisborne in early 2021 with the project being funded under the Crown Infrastructure Partners "Shovel Ready" programme. The purpose-built facility boasts a 50m competition pool, leisure pool, learn to swim pool and hydrotherapy pool together with all associated amenities. The projects works were completed in September 2023 and delivered a facility that exceeded all client and community expectations, both in functionality and in the cultural design integration.
A standout feature of this project is that, not only is it a space to swim, but also a place to learn; swimming, of course, but also the rich history of the area and the cultural significance of key features in the facility. Apollo worked closely with Sir Derek Lardelli, of Lardelli Arts throughout
the design process, to ensure Te Ao Māori principles and values from the region were deeply integrated in the design of the building. The triangular features of the building represent the woven pattern of sails of the Waka that brought tangata whenua to the area many centuries ago. Alongside traditional artwork such as the carved taniwha ceiling feature and building structural details another example of how Te Ao Māori design principles were integrated is that the plant room has glass windows as its walls, so that the public can observe the manawa (heart) of the facility in this place of learning.
The undeniable success of this project was not without its challenges. The project commenced under the challenges brough about by Covid and, during the construction process, our on-site team faced a state of emergency caused by Cyclone Gabrielle which caused further supply chain issues, a lack of water and cell phone coverage and meant contractors who would normally travel 3 hours to site were now travelling 10 hours each way. Despite these challenges, our team showed great resilience, and it became clear that this was a great opportunity for learning and growth for our team.
Since the opening of this facility, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and Apollo are absolutely delighted to have delivered yet another shining community asset.