Avondale for Everyone
Avondale Jockey Club is open to everyone – you don’t need to be a member to enjoy racing at Avondale. On race days we welcome families and individuals from our local community as well as those who travel for some distance to join us. There are activities to entertain and engage people of all ages.
Outside of race days, Avondale Jockey Club plays host to many community clubs and groups, supporting their activities by providing venue facilities. The Henderson Pigeon Racing Club meet on a regular basis, and a number of times a week community members gather at the Club for Housie. The sporting fields in the inner field are leased to Auckland Council and made available for soccer, rugby, cricket, athletics and local activities such as fairs and carnivals.
Avondale Racecourse is abuzz every Sunday morning – rain, hail or shine. The Avondale Sunday Market has been operating from this site for nearly 40 years and is New Zealand’s largest one-day market. Attracting up to 20,000 visitors in a day, the Avondale Sunday Market has a strong Asian and Polynesian influence, offering a diverse array of products and fresh produce that you simply can’t find anywhere else.
Heart of the Community
Avondale Jockey Club is positioned in the centre of the rapidly changing suburb of Avondale, close to the Avondale Community Centre and Library, and only a short walk from the main shopping district and Avondale Train Station. It is a green oasis in the middle of a busy urban environment. Avondale Jockey Club provides a community space that is truly multi-purpose and accessible to the public; close to the motorway, and on major public transport routes.
Avondale racecourse is privately owned; gifted to the people of Avondale by the original landowners for the purpose of promoting thoroughbred racing. As Auckland’s population continues to increase, we are committed to ensuring local residents and community members, as well as the upper North Island racing community continue to have access to this land and the various facilities at Avondale Jockey Club.
As we look to the future, we have a strong vision for what Avondale Jockey Club can look like and offer the community. And we have a plan in place to deliver on this vision. As well as playing a key role in the Auckland racing calendar, we see Avondale Jockey Club as the heart of this community, providing a central location for sporting clubs, community activities, and private functions and events.
Racing Industry Review
The New Zealand thoroughbred racing industry is currently undergoing a review, commissioned by the Minister for Racing, Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, looking into the financial viability and sustainability of the New Zealand racing industry.
In parallel, the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing industry body (NZTR) has issued recommendations, called the NZTR Venue Plan, regarding the structure, organisation, and operation of racing venues across New Zealand.
Avondale Jockey Club is supportive of the ‘whole of industry’ review to ensure it is sustainable and can deliver a more vibrant and successful racing industry in the long term. But we are extremely concerned about proposals to consolidate racing venues and reduce the number of race days in Auckland and in particular at Avondale.
Our Vision for the Future
For the past five years, Avondale Jockey Club has been working with an internationally renowned racecourse consultancy firm to review the Club’s racing operations and develop a blueprint to guide the future development of racing facilities at Avondale.
We know we can’t stay the same; we have to move with the times, update our venue and facilities, and plan for an even more exciting future. Our plan will ensure Avondale is able to provide regular, high quality horse racing and continue to offer a range of sporting, cultural and recreational activities to support the Avondale and West Auckland communities.
We can self-fund the redevelopment of Avondale Racecourse to deliver a modern and attractive facility, ancillary to that of Ellerslie, and suitable for racing and trialling in all weather conditions on either the existing excellent turf track or a new synthetic track in the existing infield.
We are ready to turn this plan into reality.
Avondale Jockey Club 2030 Vision Statement:
“Avondale Jockey Club owns and operates a successful metropolitan race track playing a strong supporting role to Auckland’s main track, Ellerslie, whereby Avondale Jockey Club provides regular, high quality thoroughbred racing for Aucklanders, the wider community and visitors. Ancillary to horse racing the club provides a range of community or commercial activities (including leisure, recreation, leasing or housing) for the people of West Auckland and elsewhere. It hosts a variety of sporting, cultural or community events designed to appeal to and meet the needs of a broad cross-section of interests. As well as the primary functions of horse racing and event hosting, it functions incidentally as a commercial or business site on part of club land and the club derives substantial income from those operations.”
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Serving the community and racing industry into the future
New Zealand’s population is growing rapidly and the most significant population growth is expected to be in Auckland. Auckland is home to more than 1.65 million people, accounting for more than a third of New Zealand’s population. Auckland’s population could reach 2 million as early as 2033 and hit 2.3 million within 25 years.
Avondale Jockey Club is well positioned to serve this rapidly growing population, providing valuable community and recreational facilities, venue spaces, and access to regular thoroughbred racing events.
It makes sense that if the majority of New Zealand’s population is in Auckland, the racing industry provide race meetings where the people are. If the industry is to attract new owners and participants, it follows that the highest proportion of those people will be located where the highest proportion of New Zealand’s population growth will occur.
As an integral part of the New Zealand racing industry, Avondale Jockey Club can serve the North Island racing community well, supporting a viable future for thoroughbred racing in New Zealand.
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Informed by the outcomes of the Unitary Plan process, AJC has progressed an ongoing review of its land ownership requirements in order to fund and implement the redevelopment. Over the past few years, AJC has obtained subdivision consents for a number of small parcels of surplus land, including land at Sandy Lane (sold), Elm Street (under contract) and Wingate Street. This has freed up capital for the purposes of progressing with a redevelopment of the racecourse site and rationalisation of racing facilities.
AJC was about to transition from the planning/strategy/development phase into the implementation phase when the Messara Report and NZTR Venue Plan Consultation Document was released. We are seeking consultation and engagement with NZTR regarding the Venue Plan Consultation Document and have put forward our VIsion for the Future. We need to receive certainty from NZTR that Avondale will continue to play a significant role in the future of Auckland racing in order to progress with the redevelopment work.
One of our first priorities will be the demolition of the Old Public Stand and Public Stand. This will provide us with the opportunity to make additional space available to the Sunday Markets.
We will then renovate and extend the existing Marshall Stand, to house the Tote Hall, Stewards’ Room, Jockeys’ Lounge, Male and Female Jockeys’ facilities, weigh-in area and administration offices.
We will then move to undertake subsequent refurbishment and development works.
AJC propose to undertake a strong racing calendar throughout the programme of works.
We expect the redevelopment of the site to be implemented in stages over the coming years, ensuring we reduce any impact on the surrounding community and the clubs and organisations who currently utilise our facilities. We will be able to accommodate these clubs and groups in alternative venue spaces whilst the work in ongoing.
The timeframe for the development works will be dependant on a number of factors including council approval processes and building schedules.
We will keep the community updated as we progress.
The Avondale Sunday Markets are an Auckland institution and serve a valuable role in our local community. We aim to provide a more regular shaped site for the Avondale Sunday Markets, with easy access, a range of facilities, and room for additional stall holders.
We recognise that many Aucklanders rely on this market for their weekly fresh produce and for many household items. We propose to conduct our programme of redevelopment works in such a way that it will have minimum impact on the Sunday Markets, ensuring they continue to operate – rain, hail or shine.
The racecourse development provides us with the opportunity to better utilise the existing grounds and includes the addition of a new synthetic racing surface inside the existing turf track. We are committed to continuing to provide sports grounds for the benefit of the community.