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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
Swimming pool.

History of Moana Pool

This page contains a brief history of Moana Pool.

The early pools become too small

The Tepid Pools, built in 1914 and situated in lower Moray Place in the central city, was Dunedin's main aquatic facility. By the late 1940s, user numbers were starting to increase, putting pressure on the old facility. A long range forecast report recommended a new pool be built as the Tepid Pools could no longer adequately meet the growing needs of its users and certainly would not be able to cope with future demand.

In the early 1950s the push to build a new Olympic-sized complex began. Progress was slow as there was minimal information and knowledge available about Olympic-sized pools and money was also a concern. Research and investigations took place into design and overall cost with a variety of schemes, designs and facilities being looked at.

The plan for a new improved facility

One of the first proposals that arose envisaged a main pool, diving pool, learners pool and a gymnasium all surrounded by a large sun terrace. The focus was on the use of the facilities by families but progressive ideas like the provision of a restaurant for public use were also incorporated. Recreation was the primary use as it was estimated, at the time, that 60% of users fell into this category.

A second proposal was released to the public in late 1959. It showed an Olympic-sized main pool and a learners pool but had the diving pool situated outside on the sun terrace. This plan was later altered, bringing the diving pool inside. This change was due to the efforts of the Dunedin Jaycees who, with some ingenious fundraising, managed to secure the funds for this. A plaque near the old diving pool acknowledges their efforts on behalf of the city.

Finally the Dunedin City Council agreed to this proposal and a loan was approved. The chosen site was the Old Moana Tennis Club (hence the name Moana Pool!) on Littlebourne Road. By May 1961 the designers had completed their initial work and tenders were called for. The contract was let to the Downer & Company Ltd. Major earthworks started soon after.

The new pool opens

The pool was finally opened on 14 November 1964, with a final cost of 450,000 pounds. It included a 165ft by 58ft main pool of Olympic standards and a diving pool 44ft by 24ft wide. The diving pool had two 1metre boards, a 3metre board and a 5metre platform. The Learners Pool was completed in 1965. A restaurant was also added that catered for up to 120 people.

The great foresight of the initial designers has provided a general shape, layout and space that allows for upgrade, modernisation and refurbishment without major rebuilding. At the time, and for years afterwards, Moana Pool was seen as a very modern pool that was by far the best in the Southern hemisphere.

Continuing improvements to our pool

A bulkhead was added in the late 1960s to convert the main pool from 55 yards to 50metres. This also gave the ability to increase pool space allocation and use.

The waterslides were built and opened in December 1984. Some of the longest queues ever were seen at Moana during those summer holidays. The waterslides were privately owned and operated until 2001 when the DCC took over.

New Learners Pool change rooms were built and a Early Childhood Centre added in 1990. In 1991, several redevelopments were carried out including the conversion from seven to eight lanes, addition of a new bulkhead and introduction of pool covers as an energy saving measure. The restaurant was converted to a circuit gym and the sauna and sunbeds were added and the reception area refurbished.

More facilities for Moana Pool users

During the 90s, several contractors started up businesses within the facility including personal trainers, massage and physiotherapy. Aqua Fitness classes were also added to the range of services on offer.

In 1995, the DCC commissioned a feasibility study into increasing facilities at Moana Pool. This was undertaken after the DCC was approached by a group of concerned pool users that believed the facility no longer met the needs of the community. As Dunedin's main aquatic facility, higher demand from schools, increased interest in health and fitness within the community and the introduction of new sports and activities all contributed to the need for more water space.

A project control group made up of interested sporting groups, DCC staff and members of the public began the process of designing a facility that would best suit the growing needs of the city. The group came to the conclusion that the community would best be served by the addition of a leisure pool and a deep-water pool that could accommodate sports such as Water Polo, Synchronised Swimming, Diving and Aqua Jogging.

The new century brings new design

DCC architect Robert Tongue was given the brief of designing the additions with a major emphasis on retaining the centre's abundance of natural light and its sweeping views over the city, coastline and Dunedin's green belt. This was successfully achieved with ample glazing providing a visual connection between the interior of the building and its physical surrounds. The new design departed from current trends in pool design of boxed in, artificially lit, Disney World like facilities.

Overlooking the city of Dunedin, with expansive views of the Otago Harbour and St Clair beach, the expansions have encapsulated the aesthetics of the Dunedin town belt and complimented the original architecture of Moana Pool.

Ventilation and filter upgrades

During the 2000/2001 redevelopment, the facility's ventilation system weas upgraded and the pool now uses DE filters.

The leisure area

The Leisure Pool area incorporated the wish list of the people of Dunedin with features such as interactive water fountains, wave generator, rapid river, spa pool and toddler's pool. A beach finish added to the appeal of the pool while at the same time making access easier for young families and water wheelchairs.

Swim and diving areas

In July 2001, six months after the official opening of the new leisure pool, the 25m x 14m dive/lap pool was opened and quickly became the centre's most versatile area. With FINA and Olympic standard diving facilities that include 5, 7.5 and 10m platforms, 2 x 3m springboards and 2 x 1m springboards, the pool also has the ability to become a 6 x 25m lane swimming pool.

Work out facilities

2006 saw the completion of a $1.3 million upgrade to the circuit gym due to an increase in members and queues for equipment putting pressure on the small space. The circuit gym increased by four times its original size. The new floor space allowed for the gym to be divided into 4 areas - Cardio, Circuit, Free Weight and a Stretch/Core area. Included in the upgrade was the purchase of brand new cardio equipment and weight machines. The makeover included 6 plasma screen televisions and a state of the art surround sound stereo system.

Heat recovery system

Indoor aquatic facilities such as Moana Pool use an enormous amount of energy. In 2006 the Dunedin City Council and the Government, through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), worked in partnership to find an effective way to recycle the facility's wasted energy and reduce humidity levels at the centre.

The solution

  • We installed a heat recovery system that uses up to eight heat pumps to extract the heated air from the facility.
  • The extracted air enters the heat pumps at 26 degrees Celsius and once the energy has been removed leaves the facility at about 1.5-2 degrees Celcius.
  • The extracted energy is used to heat four of the centre's six pools and its domestic hot water.

Savings generated by the system

  • By June 2008, the system has been operational for three months and has reduced LPG consumption by about 43%.
  • It is estimated to save approximately $150 000 - $200 000 per annum.
  • Additionally, it is estimated to cut annual carbon emissions equivalent to 100 cars.

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