Newtown Artificial Sportsfield

20 July 2010

Wellington's sporting community can look forward to fewer cancelled games as the city's newest artificial sportsfield is officially opened by Mayor Kerry Prendergast and All Black legend Andy Leslie on Saturday 24 July at 10.00am.

Children at the Newtown artificial sportsfield

Children at the Newtown artificial sportsfield

The field, built behind Te Whaea in what was the old Wellington Showground car park, 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 Parks and Gardens Manager Paul Andrews says the field will be able to be used in all weather and will take some of the pressure off other city sportsfields.

"Artificial surfaces can withstand more play than even the most robust and well-drained grass fields. It will provide a fantastic new asset for the city and help address the growing demand for sportsfields that can be used in all weathers."

The new full-sized field will be primarily used for community sport, but is being built to specifications so it can potentially be used for FIFA and IRB approved games. The pitch is likely to supplement adjacent Rugby League Park as a training venue during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

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 is planning to build another five artificial sportsfields between 2013 and 2019.