Ross Jamieson – If you build it, they will come
We sat down with Ross Jamieson and chatted about his role in building the Toitu Poneke Community & Sports Centre, rugby, and travelling post-Covid.
When Ross Jamieson first laid his eyes on the Poneke (Rugby) Football Clubrooms, they looked a lot different than they do now. Established in 1883, the club is one of the oldest in Wellington. However, where some people saw a crumbling, under utilised building, Jamieson saw an opportunity. While the club was indeed ageing, financially draining, and had a diminished volunteer base, Jamieson recognised they were also in a key location surrounded by growing communities where there existed a demand for a proper sports facility. With the support of the rugby club, Council, the Community Trust and even Lotto, Jamieson’s vision of an updated community hub began coming to life.
“We thought ‘What if we renovated this and actually made it fit for purpose, and then made it available to the wider community instead of just being a rugby club’ – that journey began in 2011.” When asking around the community to get an idea of interest for the Hub, around 30 clubs came forward to say “If you do it, we will come.”
The renovation cost 2.45 million dollars. “It took us four years to raise the money. It took us a year to get the council to believe that we were serious.” Together, interested sports clubs and various other associations formed a working group, so that everyone could have their say as the plans for the Hub were developed. Now, the facility has been completely transformed. It is home to seven significant sporting and community clubs and features a large deck, a new spacious reception area, air conditioning units, a modern lift and other accessibility features.