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Features of the new aquatic facility

Napier’s new aquatic complex will be a future-proof facility that caters for the needs of all users – even if you don’t like swimming. It’s not all about pools. We're making improvements in all areas, including ‘dry’ activities.

Pool comparison

What will the water-based activities look like?

There is considerably more space as you can see in the scale illustration above. Total lanes increase from 11 to 17, with built-in flexibility to extend to 19 when required. There are dedicated leisure pools and learn to swim pools and a zero-depth play area, perfect for children of all swimming abilities.

Lap pool

The 25-metre, 10-lane main pool is four lanes larger than the Ivan Wilson lap pool at the existing Napier Aquatic Centre. The design allows for this pool to expand to 50 metres if the need arises in future. The decision was made not to build a 50-metre pool in Napier, due to costs to build, the greater flexibility of use of the separate pools and the planned 50-metre pool at Hawke’s Bay Regional Sports Park. At present, there isn’t a need for two 50-metre pools in Hawke’s Bay. Read more about why we aren't building a 50-metre pool here.

Learn to swim pool

The learners’ swimming pool is much larger. Unlike Onekawa, where swimming lessons are split across three buildings, all swimming classes will be within a single area. The learn to swim pool will be larger than all current learn to swim pools combined, and will be larger than the Ivan Wilson pool.

Leisure and play pools

The leisure pool and play area will be a large dedicated space for play! It will feature a leisure pool, a 7.1m x 7.8m play pool and a 10m x 10m ‘zero depth’ playground - suitable for children of all ages and abilities. Our existing Aquatic Centre is closed to the public between 3-7pm every week day to enable space for swimming clubs and learn to swim. This means that anyone wanting to visit the pool after school or after work for health and fitness swimming, leisure and play or any other ‘unstructured activity’ cannot do so. This won't be the case at the new aquatic facility.

Warm water exercise pool

This pool will be 8m x 20m. This extra warm pool is targeted at people who have health, wellbeing and rehabilitation needs and anyone who enjoys activity in warm water.

Spa pool

The spa pool will be much bigger compared to the two at Onekawa. It will take 32-35 adults (6.5m x 6m). This compares to the two current spas of 4m x 3m and 2m x 2m.


There will be two hydroslides. These will be exciting rides, full of twists and turns. One will be for double inner-tubes or rafts, meaning the ride and the fun can be shared. The other will be a body-only slide.

What else? What other facilities can we look forward to?

Health and fitness facilities, a café, a party room and an outdoor play area are some of the new facilities that will be available – it’s not all about swimming!

Health and fitness area

A spacious health and fitness area will be targeted at people of all levels of fitness, particularly if you’re new to exercise and physical activity. The large group fitness room will provide spaces that can be used for a wide range of purposes and there will be a dedicated spin room for our passionate pedallers.

The health and fitness facilities will be a quality, professionally-run resource for the whole community, that Napier’s current commercial gyms don’t necessarily provide. Our aim for the health and fitness area is to provide opportunities to the very young, the elderly, the physically and intellectually challenged, those not yet adequately catered for by other gyms, as well as the community as a whole.  


The café will be accessible from inside the pool area and also externally for customers who don’t want to pay to enter the facility. It will have seating indoors and outdoors - a great pit stop for cyclists!

Party/group activity room

There will be a dedicated party room that can be booked in advance. This will be a fun and affordable option for birthday parties or other group bookings where a separate space is needed.

Outdoor area

Outside the complex there will be a fenced leisure/play area. The exact details of what this will include has yet to be determined.  

Pool facts - comparing the facilities


Prebensen Drive facility

Onekawa facility

Size difference


Main lap pool


25m x 25m lap pool (10 lanes plus ramp)

FINA compliant: 2.5m wide lane width vs Onekawa lane width which is 2.1m wide*. 


25m x 13.3m lap pool (6 lanes plus ramp)


Extra 4 lanes or 293m2

Larger than Onekawa's Ivan Wilson and Old Pool combined 


Learn to swim and additional lap pool


25 x 14m  Learn to swim pool (7 lanes plus ramp)


25m x 11.9m  learner pool (5 lanes, no ramp) 

6m x 4m learn to swim pool (shallow)


Extra 2 lanes 
or 29m2 of
pool space

Larger than all of Onekawa's Learn to Swim pools combined and larger than the Ivan Wilson Pool.


Leisure and play


**8.3 to 6.3 x 17.8 m leisure pool (varying width, no ramp)****

7.1m x 7.8m beach access play pool 

10m x 10m zero depth play area


14.4m x 6.25m play pool (no ramp)*** 

9m x 11m toddlers pool (no ramp)




Similar total
pool space but extra 96m2 of play space


Warm water exercise


8m x 20m warm water exercise pool (plus ramp)


No warm water exercise pool


Extra 160m2 of pool space

Big enough for 50 rugby players at once


Spa pools 


32-35 person spa pool (6.5m x 6m plus ramp)


4m x 3m spa pool (no ramp) 

2m x 2m spa pool (no ramp)


Extra 23m2 of
pool space or approximately 14 additional people




2 Hydroslides (one raft/inner-tubes, one body)


2 Hydroslides (both body)


* an 'apples for apples' comparison equates to 6 extra lanes. Investigation is underway to enable 2.1m lanes for training and recreation and 2.5m lanes for elite training and competition.
** subject to confirmation
*** is also used for learn to swim
**** can also be used for learn to swim


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