Introducing Wai o Rua - Stratford Aquatic Centre
We’re excited to share with you the name gifted to Stratford’s new pool complex, due to open later this year.
‘Wai O Rua – Stratford Aquatic Centre’ was born out of collaboration between local iwi Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāruahine, and Ngāti Maru, who have been working with Council on a wide range of features for the new community facility.
When developing the name, iwi representatives drew inspiration from two local tupuna (ancestors), acknowledging Ruaputuhanga and Rua Taranaki (Taranaki Mounga), along with elements from the environment including the local awa (rivers).
Director Community Services, Kate Whareaitu says, “Wai o Rua directly translates to “Water of Rua,” referring to the two tupuna, however along with telling a local story, it also celebrates the energetic nature of the new facility, a welcoming space that will cater to all members of our community,” she says.
“The short playful title was thought to be most appropriate for a facility that is designed to deliver education, competition and health in a fun way.”
“From Wai Play babies to rehabilitation patients and competitive swimmers, this facility is for everyone and we hope our community will love everything about Wai O Rua – Stratford Aquatic Centre when it opens later this year,” says Ms Whareaitu.
The name was considered at a Policy and Services Committee meeting on Tuesday 28 June 2022, and received support from the majority of elected members. It will be formally adopted at the next Ordinary Meeting on Tuesday 12 July 2022.
Prior to Tuesday’s meeting elected members were given a tour of the new facility and provided with an update on construction. The project is tracking well and our community will be set to make a splash well in advance of the summer holidays. For updates on the project people can visit stratford.govt.nz
The Story of Ruaputahanga
Ruaputuhanga is remembered as a beautiful Māori princess, whose fame and beauty created interest among a number of tribes across Taranaki and in the Waikato. One day Ruaputuhanga was making her way home to South Taranaki, and on her long journey by foot she rested east of the current Stratford town after crossing the Kahouri Stream. While resting she gazed skyward at the starry night and this has been described literally as Whakaahurangi, meaning to “gaze toward the heavens.” Whakaahurangi will be well known to locals as the te reo Māori name for Stratford, and the name of our community marae. Ruaputahanga’s story is recorded by the Historical Society in a plaque that features near the bridge across the Kahouri Stream on the East Road, Stratford.
Check out the latest construction video below: