Two years after the completion of the Central Otago Sports Turf’s $1.7m upgrade, the Cromwell facility is firmly established as an international amenity, evidenced by the recent women’s tri-series featuring 2018 Commonwealth Games champions the NZ Black Sticks and Australia and Japan.
The Central Otago Sports Turf Trust, led by chairman Mike Paardekooper, was responsible for the overhaul of the 20-year-old turf – a four-year project involving fundraising, design of the new turf and its accompanying amenities building and finally its construction.
“I’m pretty proud of what we’ve achieved and what we’ve managed to build for both the hockey community and the wider Central Otago community. The tournaments we have at the turf attract hundreds of people to Cromwell.”
With Cromwell located in the centre of the region, Mike says it was the ideal place for the hockey turf, making it accessible for players from Queenstown and Wanaka through to the Maniototo and the Teviot Valley.
“We were lucky that the Central Otago Sports Turf Trust had the drive to do it and we had massive support from the Cromwell community board, other funders and local businesses to get the money for the project.”
Mike says the original sand-based turf was built in 1996 and was expected to have a lifespan of 12 years – but, due to careful management and maintenance it lasted for 20 years.
“We always knew we would have to eventually replace it and we wanted to do that with a water-based turf. What we have now is the same turf which was used at the 2016 Olympics.”
Mike says the amenities building, which includes changing rooms, an office, a meeting room and a viewing area was a priority, because previously players were forced to change in the car park and use the toilet amenities at the neighbouring swimming pool.
The new turf has a lifespan of 15 years, and with the number of people playing hockey on the increase, the trust is confident the turf will continue to be supported in years to come by both the local community and for national and international hockey fixtures.