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Green Family Taradale Pool

Case Study

Green Family Taradale Pool

Case Study

 Taraadale Pool building

  • Owner: Ministry of Education (MoE)
  • Landowner: Ministry of Education
  • Operator: Commercial enterprise
  • Project Type: Renewal
  • Hierarchy: Local
  • Primary Function: Education
  • Secondary Function(s) if Applicable: Community Sport
  • Standard: Mid range
  • Date Planning Commenced: 2020
  • Total Project cost (excluding land): $1.3 million


The initial vision was to replace the roof over the Taradale Community Pool and to reopen the pool to the community. The ultimate vision is to improve the water safety and swimming capability of the community.

Project partners

  • Ministry of Education
  • Taradale Primary School
  • Taradale Community Pool Trust
  • Greendale Swim Club
  • Dolphin Academy

Taradale Pool project company logos 

Description of need/Challenge to solve

In December 2016, the pool on the grounds of Taradale Primary School was closed due to the deterioration of the building’s steel roof and it no longer complying with the revised Building Code. No alternative lane space could be found anywhere in Hawke’s Bay for the Learn to Swim and Swimming in Schools programmes, run by Greendale Swim Club from the pool, so these programmes were halted. The pool serviced a community of about 17,000 residents and this impacted about 4,500 participants (the number of children aged under 15 in the catchment).

Swimmers at Taraadale Pool

Project specification

A like-for-like replacement of the roof structure that enclosed the pool, encompassing the reception and changing facilities. The changing facilities were already deemed to be of sufficient size for the pool and range of uses, so there was no need to increase this footprint.

The existing 25m x 9.6m, 0.9m to 1.8m deep pool remained as is.

There was also a strong desire not to delay the build (with the need for a resource consent if the building envelope changed), so keeping the same building envelope, with some additional design features to enhance connection to the school, was the option chosen.

The new building structure has an enhanced specification for the HVAC system to solve an existing issue with humidity, which contributed to the decline of the previous building structure.

The key proposed users were the same as those who had been using the pool, including schools, the swim club, school families, and others from the community who accessed the Learn to Swim programme.

Project team

  • Project Manager and Architect: Marie Fleming, Studio 26 Architects (now with DCA Architects)
  • Project Governance Lead: John Verry, Taradale Community Pool Trust (volunteer)
  • Business Case, Planning Governance, and Fundraising Lead: Brendon Rope, Taradale Community Pool Trust (volunteer)
  • Engineer – Structural: Tim Pike, Sigma Consulting Engineers Ltd
  • Engineer – HVAC: Hamish Panton, Panton Consulting
  • Construction Company: Simkin Construction Ltd

Project overview

This was a community-driven project, with a dedicated group of volunteers collaborating with MoE, five local schools, clubs, and businesses to re-establish and renew a community asset. There was a community need, as the facility was already operating at good utilisation and there is limited other pool space in Napier to accommodate the displaced demand.

The rebuild initiative began with a community meeting of over 200 on the school field. From this, several working groups were established, and the project planning began.

A key part of this project was the new governance model, with the establishment of the Taradale Community Pool Trust (the Trust), responsible for the asset management of the pool and building. It was formed initially to fundraise for the replacement of the roof structure surrounding the pool, and then entered into a lease agreement with MoE as the ‘asset custodian’.

The Trust is made up of a mix of independent and representative trustees. The school and the operator have representatives and the swim club has a trustee position that has been vacant since prior to reopening. Initially, all trustees had children that were, or had been, students at Taradale Primary School.

With the purpose moving from project management to asset management, the Trust has recently developed a governance skills matrix and have since recruited an additional trustee.

There is a five-year, with three rights of renewal, third-party lease agreement in place between the MoE / Taradale Primary School and the Trust on a peppercorn rate ($1) which covers:

  • MoE ownership of the building and its improvements (MoE must approve any new renewal or improvements that the Trust proposes)
  • Trust responsibility for asset management and funding of renewals
  • Availability of the pool during the school day for the school and four other surrounding schools; Greenmeadows Primary, Tamatea Primary, Taradale Intermediate, and Taradale High School (all schools pay the pool operator for their bookings/programmes).

The Trust has a five-year, with three rights of renewal, operating agreement with a commercial enterprise (Dolphin Academy) for the operation of the pool facility and delivery of programmes to local schools and the wider community. This agreement covers:

  • Key requirements of the lease (that is, the facility to be available for school bookings during school hours)
  • The requirement for the pool operations to be third-party accredited through PoolSafe
  • The rental to be paid by the operator to the Trust in order to fund the renewal of the assets covered by the lease
  • Operator to pay all utilities including minor maintenance.

The rental paid by the operator is sufficient to cover forecasted renewals in the next 20 years. This was a key part of the business plan and is critical for the sustainability of the facility. Neither the pool operator nor the Trust receive any operational subsidy from MoE or local trusts. However, for specific improvements, the Trust may seek external funding on a project-by-project basis, as it has done for the roof structure.

The timeline below outlines the different phases of the project and the agreements (in blue) that were negotiated through the planning process to ensure good governance and operation of the facility.

Timeline for Green Family Taradale Pool Project

The new HVAC system in the complex has also enhanced both financial and environmental sustainability, with a decline in energy use and costs and markedly improved air quality. The Trust is considering options for solar power in the future. A learning from this aspect of the project was to seek more specialist advice around aquatic HVAC systems early in the project.

More details about the pool’s history and current operations can be found on Taradale Community Pool Trust  and Dolphin Academy websites.

User profile

The facility is run as a programmed only time activity (i.e. the doors are not open unless there is paying activity that generates sufficient income to cover costs). The programmes currently offered are Water Skills for Life, Learn to Swim, and squad training (run by a club via lane bookings).

The schools only access the pool through the Water Skills for Life programme, or as a specific booking for activities like swimming sports where lifeguards are required.

The leisure needs of the community are met by the Napier Aquatic Centre, which has three pools, a waterslide, and spray park.

Taraadale Pool building


While overall construction of the new roof structure went relatively smoothly, the project was delayed and costs increased after soil instability was discovered during the demolition phase. The Covid-19 lockdown also delayed the project by six weeks, and there were delays in sourcing materials from overseas. This also impacted the cost of the project.

Key elements that made the project successful were the volunteer community leaders who drove the project, who possessed the critical skill sets, as well as the collaboration of stakeholders.

The success of the project is measured by the participation numbers in programmes offered at the pool and the financial sustainability achieved by the operator in paying rent, which covers the anticipated facility renewals.

In the last financial year (2021/22), the pool participant numbers were:

  • 1,500 children from five schools completed the Water Skills for Life programme.
  • 500 children enrolled in the Learn to Swim programme, mainly from the local catchment. Some travelled from the wider region to attend.
  • 70 children participated regularly in squad training provided by the club via lane hire.

User voice

It is great to be back in the pool, the children are loving it. The best indicator of that is the number of kids that are bringing their togs to school now.

Mark Johnson, Principal, Greenmeadows Primary School.


Project Cost and Funding

Total Project Cost  (2020)



Total Operating Cost

$confidential per annum (2021/22)*


Project Expenses

Estimated Proportion Planning & Design Costs


Operating Expenses

Staff & Contractors



Estimated Proportion Construction Costs



Maintenance & Repairs



Estimated Proportion Fit-Out Costs





Project Funders

Local Philanthropic Trusts






Local government






Central Government






Gaming Trusts
























Rent (trust renewals provision)



Local Fundraising/Code Contributions





Other (sponsorship)



Total Operating Income

$confidential  per annum


Income Sources

Community User Pays



Commercial Activity






Local Government Subsidy



Commercial Events








*Only percentages are shown for operating costs and revenue due to the commercial nature of the company running the facility.

**The commercial activity was made up of:

  • Learn to Swim: 74.5%
  • Water Skills for Life: 9%
  • Clubs: 9%
  • Merchandise Sales: 3.1%
  • Other Hire: 2.3%
  • Other (Apprenticeship funding, and Covid wage subsidies): 2.1%



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