Karapiro Events Centre Hero

Karapiro Events Centre: showcasing New Zealand rowing to the world

With the 2010 Rowing World Cup fast approaching, the existing facilities at the Karapiro Domain were in dire need of upgrading and modernisation to accommodate national and international athletes, support teams and officials. The Karapiro Events Centre was born.

What we did:

Hawkins Construction was awarded the contract for the construction of a new state-of-the-art events centre on a lump sum tender basis, again proving our competitiveness in the market.

The new events centre has three levels (a basement, ground floor and mezzanine containing two function rooms), a full commercial kitchen, offices, a meeting room, first aid room and various amenities. At the heart of the building is a large multipurpose space, which extends from the ground floor up to the underside of the roof. The project also included the construction of a new car park, associated civil works and landscaping. Due to the sloping nature of the site, we had to construct various retaining walls.

The existing, primarily concrete block, events centre was demolished apart from parts of the basement structure, which were retained and incorporated into the new building. Hawkins elected to crush much of the concrete components from the existing structure on site for use as backfill. This reduced disposal costs and alleviated the need to purchase and import new material, which provided a substantial saving for the client.

The structure of the new building comprises a combination of stack bonded, honed concrete block work, precast concrete panels, steel and timber framing. There is a large amount of glazing to promote the entry of natural light and to provide optimum viewing of the lake.

Unique challenges:

  • As the building was constructed directly adjacent to a major waterway, one challenge was to ensure that all run-off created by construction activities was contained and not permitted to enter the lake. This was achieved through a series of earth bunds, silt fences and filters.
  • A large hydro power station turbine monument had to be relocated to make way for the new building. Hawkins carefully used a crane to relocate it, and its foundations, to its new resting place.
  • Late in the contract the client elected to construct new bleacher seating between the new events centre and the lake. Hawkins was awarded this contract comprising a sloping concrete slab with precast concrete seat units laid over. This posed a real challenge particularly around access, as the work on the new building was well into the construction phase. Despite this, Hawkins was successfully able to incorporate this extra work into its programme for early completion.

The outcome:

The hosting of the world rowing championships was prestigious for New Zealand rowing and the country in general, so it was imperative that the events centre was completed within the tight timeframe specified by the client.

Through careful and strategic planning and re-programming, we successfully shortened the construction time by one month, thus providing the client with more important preparation time.

At the 2010 world rowing championships the New Zealand team bagged a record number of medals: three gold, three silver and four bronze. New Zealand also placed third on the points table behind Great Britain and Germany with a total of 76 trophy points.

With 66,771 spectators turning up, the event set a record for public attendance at the Rowing Championships, eclipsing the previous record of 65,500 spectators set in Munich at the 2007 event.