The Sod Turning for the Waikato Regional Theatre took place on Tuesday 30 November 2021.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate joined other Theatre supporters and the Momentum Waikato and Waikato Regional Property Trust teams in the courtyard behind the old Hamilton Hotel to officially mark the start of site work.
This ceremonial milestone had twice been delayed by Covid restrictions, meaning it occurred after demolition on site had already begun, and numbers were restricted - any other year it would have been a public-facing event with a much longer invite list.
Protesters outside the site gate shouted at the Prime Minister and the attendees throughout, even during the karakia by the mana whenua from Ngaati Wairere, ensuring the event was certainly memorable. Despite that background noise and heavy rain beforehand, proceedings took place without a hitch and that 'first sod' was turned with a ko and a spade.
See our photos and video below.
See Waikato Times story and video at 'Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern turns turf on Waikato Regional Theatre build'.