Aranui boxing gym fights back


VIDEO: Geoff Sloan and Ashleigh Monk

Aranui’s A-Town Boxing Gym wants to buy its base off the city council.

A-Town’s Jamie Roberts says the club cannot progress until it takes charge of its own destiny – hence the bid to buy the Hampshire St premises.

The gym was badly damaged by an arsonist three years ago, wiping out half of the building.

The damage remains unrepaired even though boxers still train there.

Mr Roberts has helped many at-risk youths to get off the streets and into the ring.

Mr Roberts says the city council should sell the premises, a small two roomed building, for a token price of about $1.

“It was decided that they (city council) weren’t going to repair it, but that they would give us the opportunity to buy it and repair it. Buy it for something like a dollar, something cheap.

“With the council, I guess they have massive stuff to fix in the city and that takes higher priority, which we understand. With the latest quake, we sort of got nudged down the line a bit, which is expected.”

Mr Roberts said what is left of the fire damaged gym was not enough to accommodate the 15 to 20 members who used it each day.

He will try to raise the money to repair it himself but he does not know how much it will cost.

“We are going to use our contacts, and goodwill through funding and people who want to help. We’re pretty confident that we can make it work and be better than ever.”

“We just want to get it up and going to the full potential.”

City council staff were unavailable to answer questions form the Pegasus Post about the idea.

Aranui-based police officer Senior Sergeant Lyle Pryor said getting the gym repaired would mean a lot to the community.

“Quite simply, for this community it’s huge. This is one of the few places where anyone from all walks of life can come in and get involved,” he said.

“They can take kids from all walks of life, troubled kids, good kids, what have you, and give them direction and focus.”