Nixon Park’s hy­brid field ready in 2017

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

‘‘Flood­lights are also be­ing in­stalled, which will in­crease field ca­pac­ity from around 20 hours to 30 hours.’’

Nixon Park is the des­ti­na­tion for the first hy­brid sports field in New Zealand.

This is ex­cel­lent news to its users at the Kings­land site, in par­tic­u­lar Auck­land Rugby’s Mitre 10 and NPC Cup teams who will be based there from next year.

A hy­brid turf of­fers the ben­e­fits of both an ar­ti­fi­cial turf and a nat­u­ral field, with stud­ies show­ing that the in­te­gra­tion of both types achieves op­ti­mal lev­els of use.

The turf also al­lows for ex­tended use, ben­e­fit­ing Eden Rugby, touch rugby and lacrosse who will also share the space.

Work is al­ready un­der way and Auck­land Coun­cil’s sports parks man­ager Grant Jen­nings says the sports field is sched­uled to be com­pleted in Fe­bru­ary 2017.

‘‘This will make it the first hy­brid sports field in New Zealand,’’ Jen­nings says.

‘‘Flood­lights are also be­ing in­stalled, which will in­crease field ca­pac­ity from around 20 hours to 30 hours.’’

Cen­tral United pres­i­dent Ivan Vuk­sich says the new field will be fan­tas­tic, de­spite the fact they won’t be us­ing the ground any­more.

The club’s ju­nior teams trained at Nixon Park but have had to look else­where to ac­com- mo­date Auck­land Rugby’s move.

‘‘We had tra­di­tional rights at Nixon Park for more than 20 years and it was such a low stan- dard, es­pe­cially dur­ing win­ter, it re­ally wasn’t suit­able,’’ Vuk­sich says.

‘‘The new field will be fan­tas­tic there is no doubt about that, and we are still ne­go­ti­at­ing with the coun­cil on where we can be moved to.’’

Auck­land Rugby is ex­pected to build its new train­ing fa­cil­ity once the grass ren­o­va­tion is com­pleted by the coun­cil, and this will com­ple­ment the new sports turf.

Auck­land Rugby chief ex­ec­u­tive Andy Dal­ton con­firms the fa­cil­ity will in­clude chang­ing rooms, pub­lic toi­lets and a meet­ing room that will be avail­able for com­mu­nity groups to use.

Dal­ton says the prox­im­ity of Nixon Park to Eden Park was a big fac­tor for the move.

‘‘ARU has been based at Unitec since early 2000’s un­til 2015.

‘‘In 2016, ARU has ne­go­ti­ated a one-year lease to use the Gram­mar-TEC fa­cil­ity at Corn­wall Park.’’

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Auck­land Coun­cil is cur­rently lay­ing a hy­brid sports field at Nixon Park.

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