Stadium management pushes development of Southland Hall of Fame

ILT Stadium Southland General Manager Nigel Skelt is keen to see a Southland Hall of Fame develop. [File photo].

Kavinda Herath / Tips

ILT Stadium Southland General Manager Nigel Skelt is keen to see a Southland Hall of Fame develop. [File photo].

An attempt to lure the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame to Invercargill has failed, but there is now pressure to establish a Southland version at ILT Stadium Southland.

ILT Stadium Southland General Manager Nigel Skelt has launched a bid for the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, which is currently located in Dunedin.

It has been located at Dunedin Station since 1999, but Sport New Zealand withdrew its annual grant of $ 100,000 due to concerns about the viability of the Sports Hall of Fame at the station site.

The consultants suggested that it would be better suited in a stadium or museum.

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The Sports Hall of Fame Museum includes items such as the kayak in which Ian Ferguson and Paul MacDonald won Olympic gold medals, and the arm protector Colin Meads wore when he performed a test with a broken arm, among other sports memorabilia.

Invercargill has joined Auckland, Christchurch and Cambridge as the locations from which expressions of interest have originated to take over the Sports Hall of Fame.

It is understood that it has been narrowed down to a preferred location outside of Dunedin, but that location has yet to be revealed.

Skelt confirmed on Monday that it was not Invercargill.

“We were certainly in the race, but we missed it. They gave us a good shot, but it was a bit of a locality issue.

Skelt said attention has now turned to the prospect of creating a Southland Hall of Fame at Southland’s ILT Stadium, which he said would actually be more appropriate than hosting a national museum.

The Southland version would take on many aspects, not just sports.

“I think the Southland aspect is the key. We have so many musicians, people from the arts and culture, we have so many very good students that we have to recognize.

“It’s a unique opportunity that I think we should seize. In my mind that would be a great community project, ”Skelt said.

“That positive attitude is what we need in life, so let’s go ahead and do it.”

Basic infrastructure was in place at the stadium where a space above the squash courts could be arranged to house a Southland Hall of Fame.

Skelt said they would need to work alongside various community funders to make the project work, but he believed there were individuals interested in coming forward as benefactors to help raise the necessary funds.


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