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A new water-based hockey turf at Ngātea will be hockey ready by mid-May. Photo: GORDON PREECE

Ngātea turf upgrade planned

More than 1000 Thames Valley hockey players will soon be able to dribble and sweep at an upgraded Ngātea hockey facility.

Thames Valley Hockey Turf Society and Thames Valley Hockey Association announced a upgrade to its facility, worth close to $1 million, on March 10 with the replacement of its existing sand turf for a specialised water-based synthetic turf.

Society chair Julie Stephenson told The Profile the upgrade would allow hockey to be played in all weather conditions and was needed for health and safety reasons.

“The surface that has been down since 2007 has been quite severely affected by the subbase…it’s affecting the playing surface basically and it’s become a health and safety issue,” she said.

“It’s been so bad in fact that other associations wouldn’t come and play on the turf.”

Julie said funding for the project included $400,000 from the Lottery Community Facilities Grant, $164,220 from Grassroots Trust, $156,700 from Hauraki District Council and $135,000 from the association.

“We’ve been absolutely delighted with the response we’ve had this year and I think that in previous years the turf society has carried a mortgage to meet the costs of installation initially, and then the rest of the first resurfacing,” she said. 

“This year the funders have really seen the need for us and hopefully we’re going to be in a situation this time where we don’t have that kind of loan hanging over our heads.”

Julie said the new turf installation would begin in April and was expected to be hockey ready by mid-May.

“When the [first] turf went in [in 1993], the numbers of people playing hockey probably trebled so I’m hoping with the upgrade… we’ll be looking at attracting a greater number of people back to the game or who are new to the game,” she said.

“It’s an awesome opportunity to market what is going to be an international facility and get all our local people playing on it.

“Then we would welcome back our neighbouring associations as well which opens the door for mini tournaments, secondary school games, senior games and intercity,” she said.