News | 27 April 2023
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Prepping Pōneke for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 coming up in July, Wellington has been preparing for thousands of people to flock to the city. While exciting, this event comes with a lot of preparation, and our Parks, Sport and Recreation team have been hard at work behind the scenes getting our facilities ready.

FIFA World Cup players.

In Pōneke, while all official games will be played at the Sky Wellington Regional Stadium, there is a requirement from FIFA to provide facilities for match day minus one, which refers to visiting teams training the day before a game. 

Wellington City Council FIFA Project Coordinator Wendy Turton has been busy working on the upgrades to Newtown Park and Martin Luckie Park, which are the designated facilities for the world cup.

This work began in November 2022 and will be completed in time for the tournament in July. These facilities all need to match certain specifications to make sure they are playable and up to a standard for use, she says.

“A lot of work has gone into these facilities – we needed to install floodlights on the two nominated grounds and renovated both fields to FIFA standards. In Newtown Park we’ve installed brand new gender-neutral changing rooms, allowing players to have full privacy. 

“We’ve also worked on heating and ventilation in these facilities. The aim is to provide a secure and safe place so that they can bring out the best of the athletes coming into our country.”

New changing rooms at Newtown Park.
New changing rooms at Newtown Park.

While there are a lot of building works, the work touches all aspects of Parks, Sport, and Recreation says Wendy.

“There are people within our Sports Field team who have been working hard to get the grass ready. FIFA grass must be specifically 24mms, healthy, and has to be mowed in a certain pattern so the team have been preparing the grass for that.

“Our Horticulture and Gardens teams have been doing work to look at how our plants in the city will be affected by more people than usual, and our Arborist Team are trimming trees that could be impacted by buses coming in and out of Newtown Park. It really is a team job!”

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is the biggest event to be held in New Zealand and is a chance for people to see some of the best sports women in the business, says Wendy. 

“We have a chance to step up as a sporting community and show what our city has to offer. We get to not only see some of the top tier athletes from all around the world in our backyard, but we get to upgrade facilities that will be around for future New Zealand athletes. 

“Next year we’ve got events like the New Zealand nationals for Athletics here again, so we’re going to see athletes like the likes of Tom Walsh and Jacko Gill. It’s not just for this event, it’s here for future codes.”

Wellington’s nine matches include seven group matches, a round of 16 fixtures and a quarter-final clash.