A new state of the art artificial hockey turf at the Manawatū campus is ready for action following its completion, this week.
An official blessing was held on Thursday June 25 and an official opening will take place in the near future.
The international size turf is the third of its kind in Palmerston North and was built as a result of a partnership between Massey University, Palmerston North City Council and Hockey Manawatū.
The turf was constructed through a joint agreement between the council, the University and Hockey Manawatū. Both Massey and the council contributed funds to the construction costs, with the balance being met through fundraising and grants, including from the Lotteries and Central Energy Trust. The facility will be run in partnership by Hockey Manawatū and the University.
The turf was laid by international company Polytan and mimics the one it built in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics, which is hailed as one of the most technologically advanced surfaces in the world. Several local contractors were used in the turf’s construction.
The electronic speed testing equipment that is installed within the turf is world leading. Other interesting features include the shock pad, which utilises recycled rubber, and the asphalt was laid with laser machinery. The straight lines were woven into the grass during manufacturing to allow a strong bond and there are two 30,000 litre water tanks to feed the sprinklers to keep the turf in top condition. The water will come from Massey’s bore and will be recycled.
The turf will be used for community sport, as well as exercise-related teaching and research and to help attract hockey-playing students to Palmerston North. It is the latest addition to the University’s breadth of existing sporting facilities, including the Sport and Rugby Institute, Recreation Centre, Equestrian Centre, Manawatū Community Athletics Track, netball and tennis courts and 11 rugby and football fields.
The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says the facility will be of great value to Palmerston North and the University.
“Hockey is popular in the region and with strong participant numbers, the demand was there for another top-quality facility to play and train on.” Massey’s accommodation, food halls and gyms also make it an ideal facility for national camps, programmes and international matches, she says.
The facility is a significant milestone within the University’s Sport Framework, an overarching strategic approach to promoting and developing sport and recreation for staff and students.
“The turf will have a positive flow on effect for our reputation as a hub for community sport
and recreation. It will assist with fostering excellence through providing a world class facility for hockey players of all ages to hone their skills, and for student and staff engagementas the turf will be accessible for Massey’s community to use as a further source of recreation.
Palmerston North mayor Grant Smith says the new addition has great benefits for the city and wider region, which is a powerhouse for national secondary school sports tournaments given its central location.
“Palmerston North has always been a hockey nursery producing many Black Sticks. This University facility complements our existing city facilities wonderfully, helping us become known as New Zealand’s regional sports hub. This new turf will be great for keeping our residents along with students active, but also will provide significant economic benefits to our city when there are major sporting events at the turf. After COVID-19, projects like this that directly keep our residents in jobs are more important than ever. “
Hockey Manawatū general manager Neil Ulrich says most major national tournaments require three turfs, which the city now has.
“This presents the opportunity to host the likes of the New Zealand National Hockey Championships, National Masters Tournament, Rankin and Fed Cup Secondary Schools tournaments, as well as more inter-city competitions with teams from around the lower North Island.
“We are so excited to have a third synthetic turf in the city. This gives us an opportunity to develop more participation and development programmes, and a talent academy we have not previously had space for.”
The turf was just weeks away from completion when COVID-19 sent New Zealand into lockdown, but contractors were able to resume work under strict health and safety measures at Alert Level 3.