New city hockey turf to soon be developed


Mr Smith, Professor Thomas and Hockey Manawatu general manager Kevin Nicholson stand at the future site of the hockey turf


The development a new international level hockey turf is soon to commence following the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Palmerston North City Council, Massey University and Hockey Manawatu.

Massey University and Palmerston North City Council has agreed to provide up to $500,000 each towards to cost the turf which is to be located at Massey University alongside the Sport and Rugby Institute and existing tennis and netball courts.

Currently the city has twin turfs at Fitzherbert Park, but with the growth in the popularity of hockey, they are operating at maximum capacity.

“Having an additional turf, with great proximity to our existing turfs in Fitzherbert Park will allow for the increase in hockey competitions and for the city to play host to significant tournaments and competitions,” says Grant Smith, Palmerston North City Mayor. “Council encourages and supports physical activity, sports and recreational activities and this location also adds value to Massey University personnel and students. It’s a win for the city for many reasons.”

The artificial turf is a dual community/university facility that will fill a gap in local hockey facility provision. It will also be available to Massey University for teaching and research, and help attract aspiring hockey playing students to study in Palmerston North.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says she is pleased to partner with the council and Hockey Manawatu on a facility that will greatly benefit the community.

“Hockey is extremely strong in the Manawatū region and this new facility will help Massey create New Zealand's pre-eminent hockey development centre. It also provides students and staff with yet another recreation facility on campus, alongside the existing Recreation Centre, the Equestrian Centre, the Manawatū Athletics Track, the Sport and Rugby Institute and numerous outdoor courts and playing fields,” she says.

Andrew Bethwaite, Chair of Hockey Manawatu says, “We are very much looking forward to having the Massey turf available to accommodate the large growth in player numbers we have experienced over the last few years across both the summer and winter competitions.”

“Having a third turf in the area will provide opportunities to attract larger national tournaments to the region and we are excited by Massey’s aim of creating a high performing athlete development centre which will continue to strengthen hockey in the region.”

Design work is underway, and Massey University, Hockey Manawatu, and Council will work on fundraising for the balance of the costs. 

Ownership and the daily operation of the turf will remain with Massey University with agreed availability for Hockey Manawatu.

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