This weekend will be Sipthorpe's last in the capital before he takes up a new position as the senior operations manager for Recreational Services, which takes care of more than 400 parks for the Christchurch City Council.

What's this year been like with so much sport on in Wellington? You've had the Cricket World Cup, Super Rugby and the Fifa Under-20 World Cup.

It's been a hell of a challenge trying to keep a grass cover on a field that's getting hammered. We've done what we'd normally do in an entire year by the end of this weekend.

Do you cut certain patterns into the grass?


Rugby have got a pattern that they prefer so we generally stick to that. The A-League have got their 5m pattern that we have to adhere to, then we've got cricket where we've pretty much had an open slather ... that's where we can get creative. At the Cricket World Cup they had a stipulated 10m pattern, so we all had to abide by that.

Do you keep your own lawn in good condition at home?

I have the worst lawn in the street. It is all weeds. It gets cut with a dodgy rotary and it looks awful.

How did you get in to this work?

I went straight from school [in Melbourne]. My uncle was in the trade and I used to help him out during the school holidays and it was something I really wanted to do ... It was just something I had a passion for.

Do you talk to the grass?

No. You do get to know it pretty well. You know every blade on your field and I spend a lot of time walking over it but there's a guy down in Nelson we call The Grass Whisperer. He gets really up close and personal with it.

What's the strangest thing you've encountered in the job?


Weirdos coming through the Basin [Reserve]. We've had some interesting ones with the Sevens where we've had people running across the field naked on their way to the Sevens.

Do you get offended when people complain about your turf or pitches?

You've got to take a hit from time to time. You know yourself when it's not right. Cricket's normally the one if you're going to get any issues ... We've had the odd one with other sports, which are annoying because you know it's the coach trying to deflect attention.

Cricket's probably the main one, there's a five-day test match and if you don't get it right it's five days for everyone to comment on it. But we haven't had too many of those.