Creating strong partnerships: The National Training Centre


AUT Millennium’s 50/50 partnership with AUT University in 2009 and subsequent partnership with High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) has brought together the very best in research and education, high performance sport and community sport, health and fitness.

Since 2011, AUT Millennium has been High Performance Sport New Zealand’s National Training Centre and according to CEO, Alex Baumann, the facility now caters to the requirements of New Zealand’s high performance athletes.

“The provision of world-class facilities, services, research and education contributes towards the success and the creation of a world-leading, sustainable high performance sports system”, says Baumann.

“Along with the network of world-class facilities around the country, the National Training Centre provides a one-stop-shop for athletes and coaches to train, recover and benefit from a suite of other services, all under one roof.”

hpsnz-2The first stage of the major expansion project was completed in time for the 2012 London Olympics and saw the facility add increased HPSNZ office space, a medical zone and gymnasium. In 2016 HPSNZ added a climate-controlled training zone to allow athletes the ability to train at different temperatures.

In 2017 the facility is now home to HPSNZ performance specialists and over 140 Auckland-based high performance athletes.

Athletes also have access to the Athletics Stadium, indoor running track, recovery pools, AUT University laboratories and, more recently on its completion in 2015, the National Aquatic Centre.

In addition to HPSNZ, Athletics New Zealand, Tennis New Zealand, New Zealand Water Polo, Swimming New Zealand and Canoe Racing New Zealand all base their national offices in the facility. Most of these sport organisations and athletes, including Paralympics New Zealand’s swimming programme, utilise the facilities and services available to them.

AUT Millennium CEO, Mike Stanley, explains that, through strong partnerships, AUT Millennium is creating an environment which is furthering the performances of New Zealand athletes.

“AUT Millennium is a thriving high performance centre which provides athletes access to world-class facilities, the very latest in scientific research and some of the best sporting minds in the world.”

The New Zealand high performance sport system is experiencing an unprecedented level of success. New Zealand has risen from 26th in the world with nine medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games; to 14th in the world with 18 medals and ranked 4th per capita, at the Rio Olympics. This is an increase of 5 medals from the 2012 London Olympics and is the single largest increase across consecutive Games in the history of New Zealand.

New Zealand Paralympians are also reaching new levels of performance with five world records broken in 2015. At the Rio Summer Paralympic Games New Zealand athletes achieved 21 Paralympic medals (up from 17 in London 2012) and maintained the number one world ranking per capita in both gold and total medals.

hpsnz-9A key driver for Stanley has also been the imperative from AUT Millennium to meet its commitment to all New Zealanders. Consequently, the vast majority of the facilities are also available to community sport, health and fitness and wellbeing.

“The inclusion of the whole community under one roof creates a wonderful, aspirational atmosphere and a coming together of some of the very best athletes in the country, school children, gym members and members of the public.”

In October 2011, Jacques Rogge, International Olympic Committee President at that time, visited AUT Millennium for the official opening of HPSNZ’s National Training Centre.

The Centre so impressed Rogge that he acclaimed it as one of the top three centres he has visited, owing to its connections with the community, education and research and sport.

“I’ve had the opportunity to visit around twenty centres that are based around your model. And I can tell you that you are definitely in the top three – don’t ask me for numbers one and two.”

“But this is absolutely unique. The first centre that I know where there is a university embedded in the building, bringing, of course, all the possibilities of science.”

“And this is also the first centre that I know that is not only open for elite sport, but it’s also for the community and for sport for all.”