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New lighting, pitch in Yarrow Stadium revamp

The status of Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth, New Zealand, as one of the nation’s leading regional venues will be cemented with state-of-the art hybrid turf and LED floodlighting to be installed.

The contracts are exciting news for all Stadium users – local, regional, national or international, says David MacLeod, chair of Taranaki Regional Council which owns the venue through the Taranaki Stadium Trust. He added:

Installing hybrid turf and LED lighting required highly specialised skillsets, and we’ve chosen contractors with a solid record of success at major projects all over New Zealand. We’re sure to get an excellent outcome.

The main pitch will get ‘GrassMaster’ hybrid turf – a blend of natural turf grown through and among artificial fibre that give the pitch a longer life with shorter recovery times that can triple the amount of weekly playing time compared with conventional turf.

Hybrid turf is already in use at top venues including Auckland’s Eden Park and ASB Stadium, Hamilton’s FMG Stadium, Wellington’s Sky Stadium, Christchurch’s Orangetheory Stadium (formerly AMI Stadium) and Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium.

The Yarrow Stadium contractor is Auckland-based FieldTurf, supported by design consultancy New Zealand Turf Management Solutions (NZTMS). FieldTurf have installed the GrassMaster product at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Orangetheory Stadium and FMG Stadium.

GrassMaster hybrid turf offers a lifespan of up to 15 years and up to 1,000 playing hours a year. It is used on more than 640 pitches worldwide including 80% of the UK’s Premier League clubs. MacLeod said:

What’s really exciting about the hybrid turf is that while it’s particularly favoured for top-level fixtures, its quicker recovery time will make the main pitch more readily available for local and regional users. So it’s a win-win.

The timing of the installation is still being finalised, but the new pitch is likely to be laid by early 2022.

LED floodlighting

The LED floodlights will be installed on the existing light towers and grandstand roofs by Arnold Jensen Electrical, a long-established Christchurch-based contractor, and Signify (formerly Philips Lighting). The new lights will increase illuminance by 50% while reducing power consumption by 30%.

MacLeod says the lighting upgrade was overdue even before both grandstands were declared earthquake-prone in 2017 and 2018.

The old lights were already well past their use-by date. And it’s fantastic that the new lights will be better but will need less power. That means we can continue using the existing main switchboard and lighting connection.

The existing lights will be removed from the lighting towers in August and the new ones will be commissioned and operational early 2022.

MacLeod says procurement procedures for the Yarrow Stadium Redevelopment Project are robust and best-practice. Final decisions are made on the basis of technical ability and capacity, experience, methodology, environmental quality assurance and pricing. The project remains within budget.

The overall project budget is NZ$50 million, of which NZ$20 million is coming from the Government as one of its COVID-19 response infrastructure investments.