There are not many people who can say that they have had the best seat in the house to watch AUT Millennium grow from a grassy athletic stadium into an $85 million facility.
One of those people is Steve Lindsay, a man passionate about sport, swimming, people and his role as Chief Operating Officer at AUT Millennium.
“My passion is sport and success. I’ve been involved with AUT Millennium since the start and seeing the facility grow and the success which has come from it drives me forward”, he says.
“I love what we are about. Every day you come into contact with staff, members and the general public who are motivated individuals. It’s what AUT Millennium stands for: being the best you can be.”
Steve began life with the Millennium Institute of Sport and Health in December 2001, now known as AUT Millennium.
As his initial role as Aquatics Manager he was tasked with setting up the new 50 metre Olympic pool, Swim School and aquatic services, as well as employ staff before the official opening in February 2002.
Since 2002 the aquatics programmes at AUT Millennium have grown significantly. Buses arrive at AUT Millennium on a daily basis to drop young school children off for their water safety and swimming lessons and the swim school has grown from 200 lessons a week to over 3000.
In 2004 Steve stepped into the role as General Manager of AUT Millennium, but still kept a watchful eye on the aquatics programmes.
At lunch time you will find Steve in the pool keeping fit and in the mornings it is not uncommon to find him volunteering his time to North Shore Swimming Club, coaching young swimmers and passing on his knowledge.
In 2008 Millennium Institute of Sport and Health partnered with Auckland University of Technology (AUT), forming AUT Millennium. The partnership would see a synthesis of Millennium Institute’s health, fitness and sport initiatives and services with AUT’s world-renowned research and education programmes.
Steve explains that the partnership not only combined the organisation’s expertise, it also allowed AUT Millennium to double the size of the facility.
“A particular highlight whilst working at AUT Millennium has been the growth of the community gym from 500 members in 2002 to 2600 in 2017.”
“The expansion project allowed us to create a gym which is now home to students, business men and women, retirees and athletes. It is fantastic to meet people from all walks of life who love the unique atmosphere only AUT Millennium has.”
The $29 million re-development commenced in 2010 and was completed in 2012. Changes included the relocation and significant upgrade of the public gym, expanded conference facilities and the addition of sports science clinics, which service the public, research and education, and high performance sport.
The facility is now a second home to over 100 AUT students who are completing their postgraduate qualifications through two university research units: Sports Performance Research Institute of New Zealand and Human Potential Centre.
Many of these students will receive qualifications in the areas of community health, nutrition and sports science and you can find them working for some of AUT Millennium’s programmes, working for High Performance Sport New Zealand or moving into a research role with AUT University.
The National Aquatic Centre has been a recent addition to the facilities at AUT Millennium and opened in August 2015.
The existing 50m Olympic pool had been at capacity for a number of years and was required to meet the needs of the Schools Programme, Swim School, Gym members, North Shore Swimming and North Harbour Water Polo, as well as high performance athletes and various other users.
The new facility meets New Zealand’s growing demand for flat-water and is a world-class competition venue.
The centre is open to public swimming, national and international events, AUT Millennium Swim School and Schools Programme and is a training base for high performance athletes.
The opening of the National Aquatic Centre is a particular highlight for Steve due to its ability to boost aquatic programmes and allow for community swimming.
“Since opening the facility to the community, it’s been fantastic to see so many members of the public visiting for a swim”, he says.
“We’ve held some large national and international competitions, watched world-records tumble and been able to open our doors and make aquatic activities and sport more accessible to thousands more New Zealanders.”
Today when you visit AUT Millennium you’ll witness a vibrant and diverse community of people: gym members, swim schoolers, sports scientists, doctors and families.
In 2017 the organisation now boasts the National Aquatic Centre, Athletics Stadium, indoor athletics track, PowerZone Gym and sports hall, public gym, sports science facilities, as well as being the National Training Centre for High Performance Sport New Zealand.
At the heart of these facilities is a team of people who are focused on delivering programmes and services which make a difference to New Zealanders lives.
“I enjoy my current role mentoring and sharing my experience with fellow staff and users,” states Steve.
“I love giving our staff a pathway for growth and development and sharing in the success of achievement that you witness at AUT Millennium on a daily basis.”