Summer Swimming Pool for Quake Devastated Waiau

With warm weather on the way and School Holidays fast approaching, two communities hit hardest by the 7.8M Earthquake are about to be delivered an early Christmas gift. Santa’s North Island elves have answered the call and have freed up funds, sourced parts and carried out necessary tests before giving the greenlight for the gifts to be wrapped. Fixed onto a trailer and destined for the hearty South, Santa’s Reindeer in the shape of STL Linehaul Ltd, didn’t hesitate and have jumped at the chance to put a smile back on kid’s faces.

The Waiau pool, which is used by both the community and the school, was destroyed in the 7.8 North Canterbury earthquake three weeks ago, prompting the pool's former caretaker Verdon Kelliher to start a give a little page.

"I'm doing this because Waiau means a lot to me and I'd like to give back. I still have many friends there who I know are struggling," Mr Kelliher wrote on the crowd-funding page.

The give a little page has received generous donations to date of just over $65,000 towards the rebuild – but with the estimated cost being closer to half a million dollars the fundraising effort still has a long ways to go.

And it is the start of summer.

Enter Hurunui District Councillor, Julia McLean.

Cr McLean and Sport Tasman made an approach to the Adam Brown Trust which runs the PoolsiNSchoolZ programme, and they have sourced two 10m by 5.4m temporary swimming pools – one for the Waiau township and one for Kaikoura – where its community swimming pool was damaged in the quake. With the help of funding being diverted, the Infinity Foundation was able to give the thumbs up to one pool. The other, under the care of Sport Auckland was released by Mt Wellington Prinicpals as it wasn’t in use this term.

Trust spokesman Ian Calhaem says it’s been a tremendous effort from our suppliers and a network of people, and he’s pleased these pools can be made available. He says WaterCOLtd made space available in its warehouse for parts to be sourced and assembled, and Dominion Pool and Spa have offered to carry out vital tests on the filtration and heating system. It’s been a team effort, even so far as Pinto Trailers providing a new tyre for one pool trailer.

Sport Tasman CEO, Nigel Muir says due to damage to the Kaikoura Lions Pool, it made a request to Pool In Schools for a temporary pool for Kaikoura. Damage to school pools in the region had been reported but the extent of the damage was uncertain. Access to a temporary pool will take pressure off smaller school pools which are still able to operate over the summer season. "Getting Kaikoura’s youth back engaged with sport is one of our key priorities. Being able to help get these pools made available to those communities affected by the quakes is a fantastic way to support our young people to re-engage with sport activities over summer”.

Hurunui District Councillor Julia McLean says this is about the wellbeing of a community. With school holidays about to begin, fewer recreational activities on offer and all that the earthquake aftermath brings, hopefully having a pool back in Waiau will help to ease stress levels. Families and children need a place to unwind and have fun.

Waiau Board of Trustee member and parent Emma Duncan says she knows the benefit of having a school pool for children during the hot summer months.

“The pool and the swimming programmes run through the school, offer our kids confidence in the water while having fun. Being next to the Waiau River, it is so important we give our children every opportunity to learn to swim.”

Summer sorted.

For summer next year the small Waiau township still needs your help to rebuild their school/community pool. Donations can made to


For further information:
Hurunui District Councillor
Julia McLean