News & Events

Palmy’s newly redeveloped Arena opens on 24 April

Wednesday March 3 2021

Phase 2 of the Central Energy Trust Arena Masterplan is nearly complete and will be opened to the public on Saturday 24 April [new date].

This is the first major construction project to be completed in Palmerston North’s 150th year.

Construction for phase 2 commenced on 8 May 2020 and was the first major local government project to begin post-lockdown.

The opening event will have performances, food trucks, stalls and kids’ activities from 10am to 3pm.

Mayor Grant Smith says the completed work reflects the progress and growth of our city.

“There’s a real buzz in the city and these facilities are a place for us to come together as a community. After what our country has experienced over the last year, these significant upgrades are a welcome light at the end of the tunnel.

“Our community can come see our world-class venue with redeveloped speedway pits, plaza entrance, pedestrian bridge, ablutions block, south stand and food court.

“The venue has been host to the Rugby World Cup, Black Ferns, ENZED SuperStock Teams Champs and international rugby league tests. We’re excited to see what events our vibrant, redeveloped Arena will attract next!”

Palmerston North City Council Chief Executive, Heather Shotter, says this project isn’t just about making Central Energy Trust Arena better for stockcar fans, but rather it’s about enabling diversity of events that ensures our local economy thrives into the future.

“This project has a major economic benefit to our city. The upgrades have supported our local construction industry. The lead contractor, Humphries, is based in Palmerston North and so are 15 of the 24 sub-contracting companies and suppliers. It’s great for a construction project of this scale to be created by locals, for locals. We are proud this project is tracking to be delivered on time and on budget.

“The Central Energy Trust Arena complex holds around 3000 events each year and is home to 36 different sporting codes. This brings in around 400,000 visitors each year, many of whom live outside our region and come here for an event, stay the night in local accommodation, eat out, and enjoy our recreational activities. The Superstock Teams Championships weekend alone contributes an estimated $6M to our local economy. The upgrades will bring in new and larger events, which will create and sustain jobs in our hospitality and retail industries, and provide a significant boost to our local economy.”

The redevelopment process has a project steering group including representatives from Palmerston North City Council, Rangitāne, Robertson Holden International Speedway, Manawatū Rugby, Sport Manawatū and Marist Sports Club.

Rangitāne Tohunga Whakairo Warren Warbrick has been advising the cultural and heritage team in cultural expression. He says the whakatauki or proverb He aho tangata – the threads that bind us – was the key concept for cultural design elements in the Arena project. The proverb refers to the weaving technique for making kākahu, or cloaks. Some cloaks of significance include a taniko border, comprised of triangular configurations, known as niho. These intricate designs have inspired large scale, abstract formations that complement the landscape architecture.  

The culture and heritage overlay provides a heritage timeline of the Arena. When visitors walk through the entrance plaza they can learn about the site's historical significance.

There will also be the ability to experience voices from the past and present with a series of quotes from well-known personalities connected to the site and the region.

The cultural and heritage overlay reflects the thousands of sport, community, commercial and public events Central Energy Trust Arena hosts every year.

Please note, this event was originally scheduled for Saturday 10 April, and now has a new date.