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New Carpet, Drains Laid At Soccer's Home

North Shore City Media Release

New carpet, drains laid at soccer's home

October 11, 2002

New 'carpet' and drains are being laid at the North Harbour Stadium to ensure the new home of NZ Soccer provides a top playing surface in all weathers.

A combination of intensive use and an especially wet Auckland winter, led NZ Soccer to transfer the final of the Chatham Cup, the country's club knockout competition, scheduled for July 21 at Albany, to Napier.

North Harbour Stadium's operations manager, Murray Dick, says the $50,000, nine-day project* will ensure such prestigious games - and the revenue that comes with them - are not lost to the city.

"We waited until the whistle blew on Harbour's final NPC (rugby) home game against Southland last Saturday, before starting what is a long overdue project," he says.

"We've totally ripped up the field and replaced everything from the sand base to the turf, providing improved drainage and a more hard-wearing surface.

"The other key part of the project has been installing more efficient drains around the perimeter of the field to catch the rain that comes off the grandstand and terraces.

"By mid-July we had hosted the Maori-Barbarians rugby match, the reunion of the All Whites' World Cup class of '82 and the current national soccer team's win over Dunfermline. And this was before the Nations Cup tournament came to town when we held six matches within five wet days in early July.

"Soccer may be known as 'the beautiful game' but the weather wasn't at all beautiful and our pitch just couldn't cope with the deluge," Murray Dick says.

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Stadium staff sought specialist advice from the North Shore City Council's parks department in developing the best approach for laying the natural 'carpet', or turf.

The council's new parks operations manager, Mike Weaver, is a nationally recognised groundsman with 15 years' experience in sportsfield management.

"Best practice suggests that fields such as North Harbour that attract such intensive use should be renovated every four years. In this particular case, seven football seasons and a range of concerts have taken a heavy toll," Mr Weaver says.

"It's in both the city's and stadium's interests that we can guarantee the likes of NZ Soccer and the rugby union a much improved playing surface all year-round. This is a great facility that needs to attract sports and other entertainment events to the city and boost the city's reputation and coffers. We're competing in an increasingly tough market, particularly in the football codes, and the Stadium is wise to invest in this project at this time to set it up for a more lucrative future."

The next game at North Harbour Stadium will be New Zealand's Under-20 World Cup (soccer) qualifier, most likely against Australia, in mid-December.

Mike Weaver says the experience gained from the current project at Albany will be applied when renovating the council's own sportsfields throughout the city.


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