From disappointment to delight: Community diving benefits from COVID-19 cancellations

Auckland diving has been given a boost following the decision to fund the purchase of specialist diving training equipment at WestWave dive pool.

The unexpended funding decision came about because of the cancellation of some events due to COVID-19 – leaving an underspend in the Henderson-Massey Local Board budget.

Both the 2021 Henderson Christmas Festival and Te Atatu Peninsula Santa Parade were canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Auckland, while there was also an underspend from filming revenue, leaving $48,000 available to be reallocated elsewhere.

dive pool

The board agreed to use the money to purchase a harness and camera system. The installation of the new equipment will take place during a planned shutdown of the facility for other work later this year and will be maintained and installed by Auckland Diving.

Henderson-Massey Local Board Chair, Vanessa Neeson says that while the cancellation of the events was disappointing, being able to utilize the underspend in this way softens the blow.

“In the uncertain times we live in, being agile and responsive to changed circumstances is really important.

“Both the Henderson Christmas Festival and Te Atatu Santa Parade are cherished by our communities and canceling them was very disappointing.

“However, despite that disappointment, being able to use the funding to help enhance the diving facilities at WestWave is a real bonus.

“The specialist equipment will help Auckland Diving develop its diving programme, attract more people to the sport and create more top-class divers from our area.

“In this instance, we are really pleased something so tangible has been able to be salvaged out of such disappointment. And we also are very hopeful that both the Henderson Christmas Festival and Te Atatu Santa Parade will be able to go ahead this year.”

Amazing opportunity

Auckland Diving Head Coach, Steve Gladding, says it is an amazing opportunity.

“There is only one other dive pool in New Zealand that has the harness equipment, meaning we will really stand out as a center of excellence for diving at WestWave,” he says.

“Having this equipment will make us a safer, more user-friendly environment that people can engage with. We already do a lot of work with schools and community organisations, and this will allow us to do even more.

“The camera system will offer us instant replays of dives to analyze technique immediately, but will also have benefits for water polo, synchronized swimming and other water-based sports.

“The ongoing support from the Local Board over a number of years has really helped us to evolve and grow, and this is another fabulous opportunity, so big thanks to them for that.”

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