Artificial Sportsfield to Officially Open in Newtown

13 July 2010

The city's newest artificial sportsfield, built behind Te Whaea in what was the old Wellington showground car park, will be officially opened by Mayor Kerry Prendergast and All Black legend Andy Leslie on Saturday 24 July at 10.00am.

The field is the city's third park with an artificial surface and has already been given the thumbs up by Capital Football, Wellington Rugby and Wellington Rugby League who have used it for some games and training.

Opening festivities will include an official plaque unveiling by the Mayor and a celebrity 'ripper rugby' game involving Hurricanes players Jacob Ellison and Jeremy Thrush and All Whites James Bannatyne and Andy Barron.

Wellington City Council's recreation portfolio leader, Cr John Morrison, says the opening of the new field will be a welcome relief to the sporting community following yet another wet winter.

"Growing demand and wet winters are putting our grass fields under increasing pressure, with cancellations frustrating for players and their parents.

"This field will be able to be used in all weather, can cope with high levels of use and takes some of the pressure off other city sportsfields. It will also be a fantastic asset for the 2011 Rugby World Cup."

The new full-sized field will primarily be used for community sport, but has been built to specifications so it can potentially be used for FIFA and IRB approved games.

"Teams playing matches in Wellington during the 2011 Rugby World Cup - including the All Blacks, South Africa, Australia and France - could train at the ground. It won't be the main training ground but will supplement Rugby League Park."

Cr Morrison says the artificial turf sportsfield has had a varied history. "It was originally a rubbish tip (known as 'Jam Tin Gully'), then a recreation ground, then car park and is now back to a sportsground."

The 100 metre by 65 metres playing field also features a warm-up area, pavilion (relocated from Cobham Park) consisting of changing rooms and toilets, floodlighting, perimeter fencing and native plantings around the park.

The Council approved the $2 million project in June last year as part of its Long-Term Council Community Plan. The Council is planning to build another five artificial sportsfields between 2013 and 2019.