The Counties Energy Heat will boast arguably the best changing facilities in the Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse thanks to a collaboration with national hotel group Sudima and local trade suppliers.
The new facilities were unveiled on the same day as the Counties Energy Heat season launch in Pukekohe today.
Sudima Hotels has donated time, resources, and money to refurbish the women’s changing rooms at Navigation Homes Stadium.
Ignite Architects donated their time and expertise to design and manage the build, alongside the hotel’s own in-house tradesmen, who have previously built hotels for Sudima, leading the construction and fit-out.
The original changing rooms were bleak, missing some basic features such as mirrors, and the showers afforded no privacy. Many team members are mothers and were going home to shower. The new changing rooms are repainted and refloored with shelving, a three-door fridge, three shower cubicles, a double vanity, bath towels, and toiletries including period products. The main room, with provision fora laptop and a 55-inch TV positioned for game analysis, also offers multiple power outlets for mobile phone charging and a high-end multiuse sound system.
The wi-fi infrastructure capability has been upgraded to cater to the music system, which has had the unexpected benefit of improving the signal for emergency services (such as Hato Hone St John) under the stand.
“We have been fortunate to form a rewarding partnership and to achieve something here which goes beyond the changing room,” Sudima Hotels Chief Operating Officer Les Morgan. “We met with the Heat players 14 months ago to consult them and take their needs onboard when looking at the changing rooms and asked what was important to them. Among other things, they told us they wanted a secure safe space to connect before they go on the field and that meets their needs as a team. And as Hoteliers in conjunction with one of NZ’s leading design companies we couldn’t help but want bring some touches of luxury to the space as well.
“In a broader reflection of inequality, women’s rugby has long suffered from underinvestment, despite our world-beating players and the increasing popularity of the women’s game. The lesser state of the women’s changing rooms was symptomatic of that and having put up the women’s team in hotels over the years and become invested ourselves in their comfort and the quality of their travel facilities – we even gave them personalised robes! – we decided to lead an upgrade that would make their home changing rooms the best in Aotearoa for the level of luxury and comfort.”
Sudima Hotels has also donated $10,000 in education grants. After the formal opening of the facilities, the players will stay at Sudima Lake Rotorua during their training camp in the city.
“We have thoroughly enjoyed unpacking what the team desires for their space and interpreting this into a design that helps drive success on and off the field,” said Audrey de Filippis, Associate Director and Sector Lead at Ignite. “Continuing our relationship with Sudima and cultivating new connections with the CMRFU team for this positive initiative has been incredibly rewarding.”
“We are really proud to finally bring this project to fruition,” said CMRFU Head of Commercial Andrew Philips. “An upgrade to the change room was well overdue but I think it has all worked out for the best and through due process and being able to spend the time consulting with the team we have been able to deliver a top-quality result that will not only meet the team’s needs but gives them the space we know they deserve.
“Of course, none of this would have been possible without the incredible support of Sudima Hotels. Les and his team have gone above and beyond on this project and as a Union we are really grateful to have such passionate partners that have a true desire to see the women’s game grow at all levels.”
The trade suppliers which contributed to the project are:
Carpet Court Pukekohe
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