Four teams of students have missed out on playing as part of a sports league this year due to a lack of a recreation centre on Massey’s Wellington campus.
Student leaders have now started a petition and are seeking support from 500 students who would like to see a rec centre built on the capital’s campus.
Massey’s Wellington campus is currently the only of Massey’s three campuses to not have a recreation centre.
This means options when it comes to physical activity and sports are limited for students. Massey Wellington had a Recreation Centre, but it was closed in 2015 and converted into a space for the campus’ Bachelor of Commercial Music programme.
In 2016 Massey University’s then Vice Chancellor, Steve Maharey, told Massive Magazine there were plans to re-introduce a recreation centre on the Wellington campus.
“The College of Health is on the campus; sports people are on this campus – we want students to be able to have recreational facilities,” Maharey told Massive.
He went on to say the University Registrar at the time, Stuart Morris, would be re-introducing a Recreation Centre as quickly as he could.
Two years later, Massey appears to have back tracked on this promise, with Massey University spokeswoman Louise Vallant quashing rumours a rec centre could be on the way.
“There are no immediate plans to build additional recreation space at the Wellington campus,” Vallant says.
“The university continually considers new facilities on campus as part of the campus development planning process.”
While Massey Wellington has a gym available to students, Massive has learnt that many students have been turned away from taking part in team sports due to a lack of space.
Students can participate in the university’s volleyball, netball and soccer sports leagues, which are hosted near-by at Wellington High School.
However, this year four teams across the three sports leagues were turned away as the programme had reached full capacity.
The current capacity is 32 teams, with a minimum team size of 10 players.
When asked what other options were available to students who missed out on joining the sports league, Vallant pointed students towards the gym.
“The Wellington campus features a gym with very competitive membership rates for students and yoga and dance classes and self-defence workshops are offered on campus.”
However, the Massey gym does not offer dance classes and self-defence workshops, these are offered through the Massey at Wellington Students’ Association (MAWSA).
Third year communications student Leilani Baker says playing sports has always been a huge part of her stress control.
“So, you can imagine my disappointment when I came to Massey and discovered there was no rec centre. I went and played netball for Victoria University because they had the ability range and facilities I was looking for.
“I’m not alone in this- heaps of students play for other clubs,” she says.
“Even just having a Massey league in a place which actually belongs to Massey rather than a school gymnasium would be more appealing,” says Baker.
MAWSA President Emma Pearce agrees, saying students on Massey’s Wellington campus need a rec centre.
“Massey students are having to use Wellington High School's building as there isn’t enough space.
“This to me seems proof enough that a rec centre on campus would definitely be worth the investment.”
Pearce says she believes students need their own place on campus where a sense of community and belonging can be created.
“Massey places a focus on wellbeing and having students who are physically healthy having a rec centre will only help students in these areas.”
Pearce has now created a petition and she is asking students to show their support of a new rec centre.
“Once we have gathered 500 signatures I will pass this on to Stuart Morris,” she says.
“I would encourage any students who are keen to see a rec centre on campus to sign the petition online or pop up to MAWSA and sign in person.”
On Massey’s Manawatu and Albany campuses, students pay a recreation centre levy, which goes towards the costs of running a Recreation Centre. In 2018 students in Albany pay $153.20 and students in Manawatu pay $74.40.
Vallant says the cost of the Auckland levy is higher because it is being used in part to cover the recreation centre’s construction costs.
She says currently there is no intention to introduce a recreation centre levy for the Wellington campus.
In December 2015, the recreation program was displaced from building T21 to temporarily relocate academic programs during the upgrade of Block 1.
Prior to this the space was used to deliver social sport, group fitness, and provide space for the MAWSA clubs programme.
The MAWSA clubs programme is now operating out of various smaller spaces on campus, many of which aren’t big enough to host monthly club events.
Massey at Wellington Students’ Association (MAWSA) Clubs Coordinator Tim Kendrew says the lack of space is making it difficult for clubs to meet on a regular basis.
“As an example, the Ultimate Frisbee Club currently meets at the Wellington High School field,” says Kendrew.
“There isn’t much time available to hire the school’s gym and there is a cost associated with that which is prohibitive to the club. If we had a rec centre they could be using that.”
Kendrew says there was once a basketball club, but it died because there was nowhere to play.
“It’s not just sports clubs. The Dance Club would use it,” says Kendrew.
“The Dance Club are using a theatre lab space, which is the only place on campus with an appropriate floor. Their timing is limited to the very few spots where that room is available.”
Kendrew says Massey Wellington students should be offered the same opportunities as students on Massey’s other campuses.
“Having space for students to build community is vital to their well-being,” he says.
To sign the petition, head to the MAWSA website or pop in on Level two of the Student Services Trust Building on the Wellington campus.