Massey University and Council are providing up to $500,000 each towards the cost of the turf, which will be located at Massey 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 hockey's popularity, they're 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 host significant tournaments and competitions,” says Grant Smith, Palmerston North 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 Council and Hockey Manawatu on a facility that will greatly benefit the community.
“Hockey is extremely strong in 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're very much looking forward to having the Massey turf available to accommodate the large growth in player numbers over the last few years across 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.