Mexteds' Turf Words Issue #25 - December 2021

Page 1



NZCIS — A World class facility in the making

Construction begins on the first three fields at the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport in Trentham. Images: Gillies Group, NTT, Holmes Construction

A transformation is underway at the former CIT campus in Trentham, Upper Hutt, where the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS), founded by Malcolm Gillies and Kevin Melville, is emerging as a state-of-the-art sports science and training facility that will be home to the Wellington Rugby Football Union, the Wellington Phoenix and other highperformance sports.

particularly rocky subgrade material, so the design by New Zealand Turf Management Solutions involves raising the surface level with 11,755 cubic metres of topsoil, giving a 270mm soil layer into which the drainage and irrigation pipes will be laid, avoiding all the rock.

The new facility combines accommodation as well as physical training areas, and will include four premier sports fields, currently being built by Mexteds Sports Turf.

“Above that will be an 80mm layer of drainage metal,” explains Chris Parkinson, Mexteds’ Construction Manager. “Then we’ll be laying 130mm of turf sand, which we’ll mix with 15% biochar to help retain moisture and nutrients, topped with a further 100mm of sand.”

Mexteds began work on site in November, after subgrade preparation by Multi Civil Contractors. The site sits on

Now that work is underway, Chris is regularly surveying the site to check on progress and quantities as our construction Continued page 2

NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport —


team spreads, compacts and laser levels the imported topsoil brought onsite by Dixon & Dunlop. Work has also begun on excavating a 1.6 metre service trench that will be shared by irrigation and collector drainage pipes, as well as data and power cabling. Leading our irrigation crew, Mexteds’ Irrigation Manager, Rob Willis, will have plenty to keep him occupied in the new year as we begin focusing on the irrigation submains, with over 4,000 metres of pipework and control cable to be laid in trenches across the fields. Once the pipes are in place and fusion welded, Rob will be looking forward to setting up the latest in Spreading 11,755 cubic metres of topsoil to build up a 270mm soil layer into which the Rainbird technology, an LX IVM Pro drainage and irrigation pipework will be laid Irrigation controller, incorporating 220 solenoid valves, which will allow 40 watering programs to be stored, with eight start times per program, giving great seasonal control. The water will be stored in two 25,000 litre buried concrete tanks, filled by a Lowara submersible pump. Mexteds will also be building a pump shed to house a second pump to draw water from the tanks to irrigate the four fields. “We’ll have enough water supply to run an impressive 18 sprinklers at a time,” says Rob. Once the irrigation trenches are backfilled, work will begin on installing the primary lateral drains. Unusually, the drainage design doesn’t include secondary sandslits, due to the platform being installed above imported fill. Instead, the spacing of the primary drainage laterals has been reduced from the usual 10 metre centres to 5.5 metre centres, which will see Mexteds trenching and laying 6,900 metres of 110mm primary drains in stage one. The design also includes a significantly deeper than usual sand carpet with a gravel raft that will ensure good percolation into the primary drains. The icing on the cake for this world-class facility will be NZCIS’ investment in performance tracking cameras, LED lighting and hybrid stitching technology. SISGrass™ stitching will be installed by Mexteds on completion of Field #1 and the adjacent training area to improve pitch stability and recovery times, bringing the expected performance in line with high-profile stadia and pitches all over the world.

Eden Park — Six60 Concert re-turfing

Dressing up with sand, prior to re-laying HG Hero Eden Park Edition turf The hallowed turf of Eden Park’s Number One field looked a picture in February after Mexteds and HG Turf Group had finished laying the new HG Hero Eden Park Edition hybrid turf.

But back to the turf. Mexteds team, headed by Chris Parkinson, our Construction Manager, used a turf saw to cut the edges of the damaged turf, before excavating it for removal.

But just a few months later Mexteds was back at the stadium to replace a 500 square metre area of turf, following the Six60 concert.

Small areas were dressed up and levelled with sand, then re-laid with HG Hero Eden Park Edition turf, which was harvested by Readylawn from Eden Park’s turf farm.

Mexteds’ return had been factored in to Eden Park’s planning, as the 24 April concert attended by a capacity 50,000 crowd was a much-anticipated event. It was the first time the popular band had headlined a concert at the venue, after Eden Park was given permission to hold up to six concerts a year without having to gain individual resource consents, and was the first music concert held at Eden Park since 1975 when Donny and Marie Osmond put on a show! The show was broadcast to 11 Pacific Islands and millions around the world are estimated to have tuned in to the livestream.

And now you’d never know the difference.

Upgrading Fraser Park

Installing the sand carpet and laser levelling to finished grade Going into winter Mexteds began the upgrade of Lower Hutt City Council’s Fraser Park #1 field, converting it from a soil-based field with no drainage into a top-grade sand carpet field. While COVID lockdown interrupted the work, we were able to return at Level 3 to complete the job. The contract began with Mexteds surveying the area to come up with the best design to fit in with existing grass wicket heights, outfields and hard surfaces. We then sprayed out the existing surface before powerharrowing 100mm to cultivate the surface and win soil on site. A further sustainability win saw Mexteds use 550 cubic metres of recycled sand from another sports venue, which was blended into the existing material. The 9,600 square metre subgrade area was then consolidated and laser-levelled before Mexteds’ construction team began on the drainage works, including installing 180 metres of collector drains and 960 metres of primary lateral drains, which were dug with an excavator due to the underlying river boulders. Mexteds’ Irrigation Manager, Rob Willis, also designed and installed a fully-automated Rainbird decoder irrigation

system, with 1250 metres of pipework and cabling, sharing trenches with the primary drains. “We installed 54 perimeter sprinklers and 13 stations, giving full coverage for the sand field, without water spilling over on to the soil field next to it,” he explains. The irrigation was also linked up to an existing cricket wicket irrigation system, incorporating it into the one system for ease of use. Once we were back at work in September at Level 3, it was all hands to the pump to install 9,600 metres of secondary sandslit drains with our SWM 200 dual wheel trencher, before installing the 50mm sand carpet layer and laser levelling to the finished grade, sowing and fertilising. Our Fraser Park groundsman, Andrew Searle, has been looking after the grow-in of the field which will be used as the premier ground for the Avalon Rugby Club. Over the summer season Fraser #1 is used as the outfield for the adjacent cricket block. Fraser Park Sportsville manager, Liz Le Prou, says they’re looking forward to a fine weekend so they can get on the pitch. “It looks fantastic,” she says.

New #1 block for Fitzherbert Park, PN

Checking the final levels for the new wicket When your practice wicket out-performs your #1 cricket block, it’s time to consider a rebuild. That was the thinking of Palmerston North’s City Council’s Andy May, Turf Manager at Fitzherbert Park, as a warrant of fitness check with New Zealand cricket loomed.

“We don’t have to spend so much time preparing now, giving it a light roll over a 12 day period.”

Mexteds upgraded Fitzherbert Park’s practice wickets in March 2020 and they're performing well. But the #1 block was around 15-20 years old and had originally been built with a 300mm depth of clay, which made preparation a long and difficult process. “The cleavage plane was building up a hard pan, and we would have to start preparing a block a month out because of the depth of the clay,” explains Andy May. Mexteds excavated out the old wicket and imported basecourse to build a new base. We then brought in and compacted 110mm of clay before sowing the new wicket and reshaping the edges. Andy is very happy with the outcome. “Mexteds has done an outstanding job as far as we are concerned.

Laying the basecourse

Hutt City Sports Parks—one year on In October, Mexteds celebrated the first anniversary of looking after the maintenance and preparation of Hutt City’s 27 sports grounds and 200 sports fields.

Anthony Bryant has been promoted to Operations Supervisor for our Hutt City contract, after doing an outstanding job for Upper Hutt City Council overseeing their sports parks preparation and maintenance over the past year.

To fulfil the contract, we doubled our number of staff, taking on a whole new grounds and mowing crew - and it’s been a rewarding journey. Hutt City Council’s Sportsgrounds Assets Manager, Aaron Marsh, has been getting a great response from the users of the sports grounds, and says it hasn’t gone unnoticed at the highest levels of council. “The feedback from the cricket clubs after the first season was really positive. Mexteds has made an impression at the political level as well, because the feedback the clubs have given us has made it through to the Mayor and councillors, and the Mayor commented on Mexteds’ good performance at a council meeting.

Anthony Bryant

He’ll be looking after our team of Hutt grounds staff and will be supported in a 2IC role by our Petone Rec groundsman, Tim Boggiss.

“Mexteds know what they are doing and they are doing what they are saying. It makes our jobs easier.” Our highly knowledgeable staff include veteran groundsman Kevin Wakefield, who is based primarily at Hutt Recreation Ground, a facility he’s looked after for the past 16 years, after spending 25 years as groundsman at Bryan Heath Park in Wainuiomata.

Tim Boggiss

Tim joined Mexteds after greenkeeping in Tauranga, and while this summer’s weather might have him scratching his head about that decision, he’s been a great member of the Hutt maintenance team, and is currently finishing off his Level 4 Sports Turf qualification with Primary ITO.

At Fraser Park, Andrew Searle’s extensive experience as a groundsman and greenkeeper has drawn praise from Taita Cricket Club’s president, Dave Gillespie, with whom he has worked closely.

His passion for sports turf preparation bore fruit Kevin Wakefield this year when Hutt Recreation Ground was named Cricket Ground of the Year by Cricket Wellington at its 2021 Awards night. The pitches are rated by captains and umpires each week during the cricket season to select the winner.

“Andrew Searle has been our groundsman, and from Taita Cricket’s perspective he has Andrew Searle been absolutely amazing. He is dedicated in getting the cricket block the best he can and is an incredibly accommodating guy.”

We’ve also made some internal promotions which will see changes in roles in 2022, giving career progression for our staff as they’ve grown in experience and expertise.

In 2022 our groundsman Campbell Webster will be looking after Upper Hutt City Council’s Maidstone Park A keen cricketer himself, Campbell has upskilled in the last 12 months both on the job and through his sports turf studies with Primary ITO.

Caleb Ladbrook will become our Operations Supervisor at the NZ Campus for Innovation and Sport, which we’ll be maintaining after building the four new fields.

Caleb Ladbrook

Campbell Webster

Campey Turfcare Systems—Distributor The tractor mounted scarifier and dethatcher has been designed by turf care experts to accurately maintain natural and synthetic grass, including hybrid surfaces, offering high-intensity grooming that can be calibrated in its severity, as required. Mexteds can offer practical guidance and expertise both in the operation and maintenance of this equipment.

Mexteds is now the New Zealand distributor for Campey™ Turfcare Systems' Australasian product range. This innovative machinery is regularly used by leading turf care professionals on some of the world's finest sports surfaces. Mexteds recently brought four Campey™ UNIRAKE ™ machines into New Zealand. We’ll be keeping the first one for our own use, and have pre-sold another unit, so have a further two units for sale.

To find out more or to request a demonstration, please contact Cameron Mexted: and check out our video on You Tube:

David Farrington Park — Surface Renewal Working around the summer rain, Mexteds is renewing the surface at David Farrington Park, home of Miramar Rangers FC, for Wellington City Council. Using our planer we’re striping off and removing the top 100mm in three layers with the spoil removed offsite to Ian Galloway Park, in the nearby suburb of Northland. We’re then bringing in nearly 800 cubic metres of sand, spreading, grading and laser levelling it, before seeding and fertilising. In one of its first outings after arriving in the country, we’ll be stitching 560 square metres of the field with our new SISGrass Universal machine, after the grass has grown in. The stitching will add to the durability and recovery rate of the pitch, with stitching to be installed at a depth of 180mm at 2mm spacings in high wear areas.

Hutt City Sports Parks —


Apart from cricket block preparation, the winter codes have also appreciated Mexteds’ goal of delivering top quality service in the Hutt.

And over at Capital Football, Operations Manager Blair Duncan appreciates Mexteds’ flexibility and approachability.

Michael Langley of the Wellington Rugby Football Union, which has around 450 teams playing on Hutt’s sports parks, says “The service from bookings to dealing with the grounds staff to the sports surfaces is exceptional. Mexteds are incredibly easy to deal with.”

“Mexteds are good at responding to last minute things and have always been available to talk to, which is always helpful. They are probably the best in the game around looking after turfs and doing renovations, so we’re happy to have them on board.”

SISGrass turf stitching—coming soon Mexteds is excited about the opportunity to deliver a world class hybrid turf system in New Zealand with the imminent arrival of our own SISGrass Universal stitching machine. SISGrass offers the best hybrid playing surfaces in the world today, and has been installed at every major football tournament in the last few years including the Europa League finals, UEFA Champions League and the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Seven of the eight World Cup stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup have been stitched with SISGrass and the extensive list of grounds and stadiums using this technology - from Lord’s cricket ground in London to the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow - is certainly impressive. Once Mexteds’ machine arrives onshore in 2022 it is already booked for its first major project, stitching at the new sports fields Mexteds is building at the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS) in Trentham, and it will also be used to stitch the high use areas at the renovated David Farrington Park in Miramar. For Mexteds, moving forward is part of our philosophy, and SISGrass offers another important step in our vision to deliver world-class sports surfaces in New Zealand. In 2019 we brought a SISGrass Universal machine to New Zealand on a trial basis, undertaking a nationwide tour to demonstrate the machine to key players in the sports turf sector. We stitched around 1500 m2 at high profile venues including the Basin Reserve, Eden Park and the Bert Sutcliffe Oval as well as council parks in the Wellington region, focusing on goal mouths, high wear areas, centre fields and cricket wickets. The results of these trials lived up to expectations, with clients convinced that SISGrass has great potential for reinforcing cricket pitches, stadiums and sports fields to improve the durability and stability of the turf profile and delivering a consistent playing surface. Steve Tsukigawa, NZ Cricket’s High Performance Centre Turf Manager, says the SISGrass stitched run-ups and cricket blocks at Bert Sutcliffe Oval are performing well two years on. At Porirua Park #1, SIS Grass was stitched into an area on the halfway. Since then, Tim Bargh, Porirua City Council’s

Turf Manager, says the area has shown no signs of wear, as it had in previous seasons, and performs well in any conditions. A SISGrass pitch comprises 95% natural turf and 5% soft polyethylene monofilament MN Ultra yarn, which is UV stabilised, stitched to a depth of betwen 90mm and 180mm. It is soft, durable and resilient, maximising player comfort and ball performance. The SISGrass Universal machine itself ensures total accuracy, with a laser-guidance system, and electric operation. Weighing in at 3-tonnes, the machine is easily manoeuvrable, giving the ability to stitch small or tight spaces, and the smooth drum roller drive causes no surface disturbance. With very low noise output, stitching can take place 24/7 and even when fields are in partial use if need be. The benefits of a SISGrass pitch will please any groundsman or turf manager – increased pitch stability, giving you considerably more playing hours each year, faster recovery after play and promotion of deeper grass root penetration and water infiltration.

When it comes to stitching, no job is too big or too small. If you are interested in finding out more about how SISGrass can add value to your sports park, please get in touch with Cameron Mexted:

Mexted Sports Turf | 27 Ulric Street, Plimmerton 5026 | PO Box 54-236, Mana, Porirua

P: (04) 233 0703 | Cameron Mexted, Managing Director M: 027 4953 963 |


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.