Hamilton's two biggest sports stadiums have gone under the knife to receive major upgrades to maintain their high quality internationally recognised status.

When fans descend upon Seddon Park for the Blackcaps' second Test against England in late November, they will immediately notice something different.

Four new, state of the art floodlights and towers were installed in late October after the project was given the green light in December 2018 following a decision by the Hamilton City Council.

The new floodlights feature new structures, LED technology and lamps, very similar to what can be found at Mt Manganui's Bay Oval.


The previous floodlights had been in use for 18 years since cricket under lights began at Seddon Park, formerly known as Westpac Park (Trustbank Park before that) in 2002.

Sean Murray, HCC's General Manager of Venues, Tourism and Major Events, says it is estimated that the new floodlights will save costs over time as well as address health and safety concerns that the previous towers presented, namely a possible collapse under high winds.

Furthermore, the new floodlights won't feature a "warming up phase", meaning they can be switched on and used for cricket immediately.

The $4.7m cost to replace the floodlights was covered under existing council budgets, says Murray.

"Seddon Park is an important city asset and when international games are broadcast from the venue it reinforces Hamilton's reputation as a city that can deliver," Murray said.

Seddon Park has a busy summer of cricket ahead, hosting various Northern Districts domestic games and five international engagements split between the Blackcaps and White Ferns.

Just down the road at FMG Stadium, work is also under way to completely replace the playing turf after more than 10 years of use.

The new turf will feature special Desso Hybrid technology, the first venue in the North Island to use it.


Features of the technology include 5 per cent artificial fibre and a stabilising effect, also allowing ground staff to measure moisture levels more accurately to give insight into the irrigation needs, says Turf Manager for FMG Stadium Karl Johnson.

Plans for the replacement had been in the pipeline for several years and work began last week, starting with complete removal of the existing turf, drainage and irrigation prior to laying the new turf and an artificial road around the playing area to help with digital signs and broadcast technology.

"This project is a new chapter in the venue's history and it's exciting for the Turf Team to be a part of it", Johnson says. "We have built a reputation as producing world-class playing surfaces and this will enhance that."

The project is due to be completed in time for Hamilton's third hosting of the HSBC Hamilton Sevens in January.

FMG Stadium was named New Zealand's best sporting venue in 2018 after its successful delivery of the Rugby League World Cup in 2017 and the inaugural HSBC Hamilton Sevens event in February 2018.

Michael Pulman is a freelance journalist based in Hamilton.