New Hockey Turf takes Palmerston North to world stage

New Hockey Turf takes Palmerston North to world stage

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Palmerston North, July 11, 2020

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas, City Councillor Leone Hapeta and others at the Blessing Ceremony (Massey News)

A new state of the art artificial Hockey Turf at the Manawatū campus is ready for action.

An official blessing was held on Thursday, June 25,2020 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 through 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 prepared by international company Polytan and mimics a similar facility built in Japan for the Tokyo Olympics.

Interesting features

It 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 installed in 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 Turf is the third international-sized Turf in Palmerston North (Image by PNCC).

Great value

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said that 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,” she said.

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 engagement as the Turf will be accessible for Massey’s community to use as a further source of recreation,” Ms Thomas said.

Benefits to Palmerston North

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith said that 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,” he said.

Global tournaments possible

Hockey Manawatū General Manager Neil Ulrich said that most major national tournaments require three Turfs, which is now present in Palmerston North.

“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 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 for which we did not space until now,” he said.

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.

Text and Pictures Source: Massey News

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