Hockey's fields of dreams are taking shape

The transformation of the Tauranga Hockey Centre at Blake Park, Mount Maunganui into a world-class hockey facility is well under way and on schedule.

Tauranga Hockey Association general manager Clyde du Toit says they are six weeks into the construction of a new water turf to replace the 20-year-old sand turf, and to replace the carpet on the more modern water turf alongside.

"There has been a lot happening. The old sand turf has been demolished and is a thing of the past. The base course is nearly finished and was passed by the engineers last week, and will be rolled to 100 per cent flat and compacted, in preparation for the tarseal to be applied.On the extremities of the field we have started the irrigation for the watering system so the piping is being laid."

The long dry spell Mount Maunganui has enjoyed recently has helped all aspects of the project stay on track for the proposed opening for the New Beginnings Hockey Festival on April 6. A huge day of hockey from kids' Fun Sticks through to Black Sticks is planned.

The current water turf will host its last game on Tuesday night before it is lifted, with a UK-based masters team coming out to play a Western Bay masters team.

Du Toit is hopeful the replaced water turf carpet will be ready in early March for club training and trials so it can have some wear and tear before the season opens.

The project took 18 months of non-stop work to raise the $1.26 million needed which du Toit says was thanks to some fantastic community support.

"TECT gave us $800,000, Tauranga City Council $200,000, NZ Charitable Trust $100,000, Lion Foundation $75,000, Pub Charity $50,000, Western Bay District Council $50,000, and the hockey association has raised $96,000 from members and fundraising."

Major international series are proposed to come to Blake Park once the turf is ready, in a massive boost to the Western Bay economy and to the sport of hockey that continues to grow at all levels.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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