The new indoor curling rink in Alexandra

The construction of a separate indoor curling facility which was opened in 2021, was the second in a three-stage enhancement of Iceinline Central’s facilities, which included the installation of a new ice making plant and heat exchange unit completed in 2018, and will end with the construction of a roof for the outdoor rink as the final stage.

The Vision

Iceinline committee members went public with their idea – two curling lanes, under cover to benefit curlers of all ages and abilities. Members attended an Alexandra Clyde and District Business Group breakfast to discuss the concept, which was attended by representatives of various curling clubs including Lowburn, Alexandra, Manorburn, Naseby, Becks, Cambrians, Chatto Creek and Rough Ridge.

Curlers who attended the meeting said they believed more facilities at Alexandra would only better the sport and provide an extra asset for the community. Overall, the response was positive and the project was supported.

Those behind the project explained the new rink would be for curling only and would ease the pressure on the existing rink, which was always full to capacity. The original rink would remain available for ice-skating, ice hockey and curling.


By 2018, Iceinline had received an interest-free loan of £100,000 from the World Curling Federation, through the NZ Curling Association, on the proviso that the new lanes would be used for curling only.

This financial backing, along with community support meant the project was set to become a reality. There were many groups and individuals who supported the new facility, many of whom made significant donations. Among them are the Central Lakes Trust, Otago Community Trust and Lotto NZ.



A Community Endeavour

Local business were also acting behind the scenes and contributed a combined $80,000 in products and services to help complete the project. There have also been a lot of things in kind, that’ve been donated, including time and materials. Local tradespeople and volunteers have played a big part of making it come together.

The Design

The project started with humble ambitions, but has evolved and improved. We originally thought we would just do a fabric tent structure over a couple of sheets of ice, but as we worked on it and figured out what could be possible, that transformed into a proper all-weather structure for a two-sheeter, then into a plan for a two-sheeter that could be expanded into a four-sheeter in the future using the same plant and roof structure.

Rink Construction

By February 2020, work to prepare the land next to the existing outdoor rink was under way. This included clearing trees at the northwest end of where the rink would eventually go.

However, just one month later Covid-19 threw a spanner in the works, forcing Iceinline committee member and project manager Robert Kvick to down tools. Planned visits from Canadian engineers to install some of the equipment had to be cancelled because of border closures and consultation was held online. There were a lot of Zoom meetings, emails and a lot of working it out for ourselves on how things go and not go. When restrictions lifted, Mr Kvick went straight back to work to finish ground preparations and insulate pipes.

Concrete was poured for the lanes in March. The refrigeration system was turned on to slowly cool down the concrete flooring of the curling lanes.

Once the concrete was at the correct temperature we were able to start layering water onto the concrete and start building up layers of curling ice. Laying the ice for the Olympic-level rink involves a careful process of timing and temperature. We were very fortunate to have Reece Aiken, New Zealand’s premier curling ice maker, come up from Dunedin and lead the ice making work.

When we had a few layers of ice down it was time to place the houses, hog lines, tee lines, centre lines and the hacks. For the final layer he used a type of nozzle with very small holes to create tiny frozen pebbles of ice, like miniature ball bearings. Reece tested the new ice groomer and gave the rink a close shave before we lay the final layers of ice.

The finished the ice is around 20mm-25mm thick and has a temperature of about minus 6degC.

Curling equipment

Curling stones ordered from Scotland arrived during the last week of Alert Level 4. All of the new curling stones had their handles screwed on and were left to acclimatise to the rink temperature.

It isn’t just a matter of screwing a handle on to any old stone. Every stone in the 4 sets (32 stones) have been weighed and calibrated to ensure that each pair of stones that each player uses are matched as close to perfect as can be expected from natural granite stones.

All the rest of the required playing equipment arrived. A full range of grippers and brooms were purchased along with the required measuring and maintenance gear.

An Icemaster Boss direct drive ice groomer/scraper was also purchased and acclimatised to the rink temperature.

The opening of the rink


The Alexandra and Manorburn curling clubs christened the rink with two hard fought games.

Open Day – 2nd of May 2021

The open day on Sunday was a huge success, attracting a wide range of people. Experienced curlers and coaches were available all day to show newcomers the ropes and prove that curling is a game that the whole family can enjoy. We had people who had curled overseas that came in and we had young people that realised now they can do it.

We really enjoyed showing off our great new facility and sport and loved seeing all the smiles as people took to curling with vim and vigour.

“It’s so much easier indoors – it’s so much easier to get a stone down, it’s just going to grow the sport.”

Official Opening – 28th May 2021

The celebrations were large in scale, catering for about 80 people. We had a great group of people that have contributed to our great new asset along with our amazing funders.

New Zealand Curling president Graham Sinnamon had the honour of cutting the red ribbon.

Earlier in the day, Southland National MP Joseph Mooney labelled the rink a great community asset as he tried his hand at throwing stones on the indoor rink for the first time.

A huge Congratulations to John and Barbara Campbell for their life membership awards for their contribution to Iceinline.

Informal Tournaments

As part of our official opening celebrations a hack tournament was played on Sunday.
After a hard days battle the eventual winner on count back was a family affair with the Campbell’s (Thurlow) and Becker’s taking the day.

M’Lord, Brother Jack Davis, took part in an informal tournament and threw the first ceremonial stone to to mark the official opening weekend and celebrate the opening of the new indoor curling rink in Alexandra.

The tournament wrapped up with a dinner featuring the traditional piping in of the haggis, toasts and speeches from New Zealand Curling president Graham Sinnamon and former New Zealand Cricket coach Warren Lees.

With the right level of funding from community groups, World Federation of Curling and very generous donations from local businesses and individuals we have developed a really great asset for the Central Otago community. Something everyone that has been involved with to be very proud of.

In the Press


Pam Jones (June 2019) $186,900 in grants for curling rink project, Otago Daily Times
Facebook Post (Feb 2020) Central Otago District Council
Rowan Schindler (Feb 2001) Alexandra Curling Rink takes shape, Central App
Facebook Post (March 2021) New Zealand Curling
Alexia Johnston (March 2021) Curling rink could be ready late in April, Otago Daily Times
Hans Frauenlob (March 2021) New Kiwi Curling Facility, Sports Illustrated
Simon Hendersen (April 2021) Ice Work, Otago Daily Times
Alexia Johnston (May 2021) Slide Time, Otago Daily Times
Alexia Johnston (May 2021) Two-lane indoor curling rink opening a success, Otago Daily Times
Alexia Johnston (May 2021) Rink boost for curling, The News Central Otago
Jared Morgan (May 2021) New indoor curling rink officially opened, Otago Daily Times
Jared Morgan (May 2021) Lord of the stones carrying weighty responsibility, Otago Daily Times