The Central Hawke's Bay community's contribution to the new multi-sport turf under construction at Russell Park in Waipukurau now sits around the $1 million mark, following a recent $30,000 donation from the Waipukurau Rotary Club.

Immediate past Rotary club president Pat Portas and club treasurer John Marshall presented the donation - raised by the sale of timber from the club's pine-tree plantation which was recently felled on regional council-owned land on the banks of the Tukituki - to Pat Gallagher, chairman of the CHB District Community Trust, which has spearheaded the $1.8m project.

Gallagher described the Rotary club's contribution as "very generous".

"It's a terrific contribution. As good as any, better than a lot, and very welcome," he said.


Featuring a full-sized artificial hockey turf and three asphalt netball courts and illuminated by six lighting towers, the project was fully funded and scheduled to open by November, Gallagher said.

"The effort of raising $1.8 million for the facility has been successfully achieved, which is quite an effort for a moderately sized community like CHB."

He said the project had attracted a $500,000 Lotteries Grant; CHB District council supplied the land and $250,000 in funding while main contractor Higgins had also provided "plenty of in-kind support" to the facility, which had secured Centralines as a naming sponsor.

A fundraising drive to encourage people to become a "foundation supporter" by buying a $500 tile engraved with their name to be placed alongside the pathways at the turf had raised $50,000, he said.

Outside of the major gaming and charitable trusts, he was pleased to report most of the funding had come from local sources.

"If you look at the total community contribution, it's at the thick edge of $1 million, which is terrific," said Gallagher, who praised the efforts of trustee and chairwoman of the project steering group, Di Petersen.

Sporting groups already confirmed to use the turf are hockey, netball, football, futsal and softball. The trust says it further enhances the Central Hawke's Bay's sporting hub at Russell Park, and will be available for multiple sporting groups and codes in all weather.

Schools would also use it during and after school.

The facility will be owned by the trust, which also owns nearby AW Parsons Stadium. Like the stadium, the turf would be operated by Aqua Management under a user-pays system.

Pat Portas said the Rotary club was pleased the pine trees planted more than 25 years ago would contribute to the facility.

"While the $30,000 might seem like a drop in the ocean, we just think it's a great investment in CHB and with the other developments in Russell Park, we felt it was a good project."

Some of the proceeds from the plantation would be returned to the ground, Portas said, with the regional council giving the club permission to invest in another plantation further down river.

"So some of [the proceeds] are going to replanting and some will go to cleaning up. There may even be some left over to invest in other projects as well."

Portas said the regional council had earmarked the felled area next to the Tukituki Bridge on SH2 to be redeveloped into a recreational area with picnic spaces and native trees.