Big numbers loving Splash

Yee haa: It is less than 20 weeks until Splash Planet opens again.

It has been another great year for Splash Planet, with almost 113,000 people through the gates over its six month season.

That was the highest number in four years and the second highest in 17 years.

The financial report for the season had not yet been completed and will be presented to Hastings District Council in September.

Season highlights included the annual Ngati Kahungunu Iwi day, bringing 3434 into the park, and a day during the national kapa haka competition Te Matatini, which saw over 2237 contestants and supporters making the most of the action.

As normal, the highest public numbers streamed through the gates between Boxing Day and the end of January, with more than 53,000 visitors in the month of January alone.

Almost half of Splash Planet visitors are local, at near 47 per cent, said acting mayor Sandra Hazlehurst. “It is wonderful that both our residents and visitors enjoy our amazing amusement and water theme park. We are all very proud of this much-loved facility.”

Outside of the norm was the booking of the park for four days before the season started by a company shooting a television commercial for an American audience.

Splash Planet manager Peran Hutchings said the project saw 80 cast and crew brought into Hastings for six days. “It was an impressive operation; and much more involved than we had expected. They wanted a different colour façade so they painted it to suit their needs, and then painted it back before they left. It gave us a nice freshened up paint job which was a bonus.”

The park is now undergoing its winter maintenance programme which this year includes the installation of a new water play structure. The pirate-themed play equipment is being installed into the outdoor toddlers’ pool.

Mrs Hazlehurst said continuing to upgrade attractions at the park was key to its success. “The new pirate ship themed play for toddlers, which will be opened this summer, will be enjoyed by all our young families; it is an exciting new addition.”

The next season starts on November 13, with the park open seven days a week until February 6, after which it will be open weekends only until April 2.