Wakefield Park Opens

4 July 2011

The two new, full-sized, all-weather artificial sportsfields that open at Wakefield Park in Island Bay this weekend will help meet growing demand and mean fewer cancellations.

The new artificial sportsfields will mean fewer cancellations

The new artificial sportsfields will mean fewer cancellations

The $3 million transformation of the two previously grassed football pitches will ease the pressure on the city's and region's sports grounds, says Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who will officially open the upgraded facility at 10.00am on Saturday.

"The huge increase in people playing sport, coupled with the perennial challenge of managing Wellington's grass fields through the winter, means our sports grounds are often under pressure," she says.

"The all-weather surface means that grounds can be used for more than 60 hours a week, while grassed sportsfields are often only usable for six to eight hours a week.

"When the two artificial surfaces were opened in the 1980s at the National Hockey Stadium in Mount Albert, it freed up 14 sportsfields to cater for growth in football at the time."

Councillor John Morrison, the Council's Sports and Events Portfolio Leader, says the upgraded facility will be ideal for end-of-season and summer touch rugby, sevens and football tournaments.

"This will provide more time to prepare other grounds for the summer and winter seasons," he says.

The six-month project involved compacting the base, installing an extensive drainage system and lighting at one field, laying a rubber shock-absorbing pad and the artificial turf.

Council funding for the upgrade has been supplemented by generous support from New Zealand Community Trust, Island Bay United Football Club, Capital Football, Wellington Rugby Football Union and Wellington Community Trust.

Saturday's opening will include junior Rippa Rugby games on one field and player development football on the other, followed by scheduled football games. As well as the National Hockey Stadium, all-weather surfaces have been built behind Te Whaea in Newtown and at Nairnville Park in Khandallah.