Derek Shaw standing on the spot earmarked for a pole vault at Saxton Field. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Plea for pole vault support


Saxton Track is missing one crucial piece of equipment, preventing it from being a world-class facility.

Chairperson of Top of the South athletics charitable trust, Derek Shaw, says the next Eliza McCartney could well be somewhere in Nelson, but without a pole vault we will never find them.

An approaching strip and planting box were installed at Saxton 12 years ago when the track was laid.

However, without matting, bars, poles and uprights, it is unable to be used. Derek has called on both the Tasman and Nelson City Councils to help fund the completion of the project.

“It has just been sitting dormant, but they are quite expensive.”

Derek says the cost could be as high as $60,000.

“That’s certainly stretching the resources of the athletics fraternity.”

His hope is that the facility could be considered in the Long-Term Plan in hopes of it being ready for the 2024 South Island Secondary School Championships.

He says, by acquiring a pole vault, Saxton could even go on to host the New Zealand championships.

“It would be an asset, Nelson is the only all-weather track facility without a pole vault in the South Island, it is the last major piece of infrastructure needed to have the track fully functioning.”

Derek says it will ultimately benefit our young athletes.

“We have a few who have been interested in giving it a go with the rising stars of young New Zealand pole vaulters like Eliza and Olivia McTaggart, there is quite a lot of interest in it now.”