Sport and Recreation
The Hugh Hayward Domain is the sporting and recreational hub of the Hauraki Plains. Used for rugby, football, athletics, cricket, netball, league, touch and hockey, the Domain boasts the only Astroturf playing surface in the greater Coromandel and Thames Valley area.
Ngatea Public Swimming Pool is alsolocated in the domain.
Pioneer Park is situated at the front of the Hugh Hayward Domain.
The recently redeveloped park boasts a large modern playground, a street style skate park, a basketball hoop, plenty of seats, and state-of-the-art public toilets.
Other features of the park include Remembrance and Ashes Walls, an impressive bronze sculpture by world renowned New Zealand sculptor, Paul Dibble, and a row of five mature London Plane trees (Platanus x hispanica), which have been listed as significant trees by the Council.
Plains Pioneer - a top park feature
Plains Pioneer – sculpture by Paul Dibble (located in Pioneer Park).
Having grown up in the small Hauraki Plains settlement of Waitakaruru, world renowned New Zealand sculptor, Paul Dibble, now based in Palmerston North, was the perfect choice to create an artwork to mark the 100 year anniversary of the land ballots in the Hauraki Plains; where settler’s names were randomly drawn out of a hat to determine who could purchase land plots.
Possibly best known for his successful commission of the New Zealand Hyde Park Corner in London in 2006, Dibble has emerged as a significant figure in contemporary New Zealand sculpture over the last two decades. His bronze works are sought after locally and he also has an increasingly strong international following.
In a recent Dominion Post interview, Dibble traced his preference for sculpture back to his childhood on the Plains and the big bronze sculptures that were plonked around the place after the war. He recalled being gobsmacked by one at the back of the football field and likening it to something from Mars. His large, figurative work, Plains Pioneer, unveiled in November 2010, represents the drain diggers, who dug the enormous Plains drain system by hand, allowing the land to be used for farming.