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Massey University, Palmerston North Polytan installed Poligras and SmarTracks

Polytan Installs First SmarTracks System for Hockey

At the beginning of June Polytan installed hockey’s first-ever SmarTracks System as part of the exciting new hockey facility at Massey University in Palmerston North.

The new hockey pitch, built on an old overflow car park, incorporated Polytan’s innovative in-ground SmarTracks System which can test and record fitness levels and precise performance diagnostics down to the millisecond. The system consists of SmarTracks timing gates that are invisibly integrated into the pitch, a wearable sensor weighing just 12g, and the SmarTracks diagnostics software.

The stand-out pitch was constructed using the same surface developed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Poligras® Tokyo GT – the most environmentally-friendly synthetic turf made of 60% regrowable raw materials, specifically sugar cane. The new pitch also features water harvesting and LED lights with hinging towers and Intelligent Play Pitch monitoring.

The Manawatu community is thrilled to be back playing hockey at this new Massey University facility now that restrictions have been lifted.

“It will assist with fostering excellence through providing a world-class facility for hockey players of all ages to hone their skills, and for student and staff engagement as the turf will be accessible for Massey’s community to use as a further source of recreation,” Vice-chancellor, Professor Jan Thomas.

For more information on Polytan’s SmarTracks System or world-class sustainable turf please contact:

Polytan NZ General Manager, Cody Linton
T: +64 4 802 3960
M: +64 21 831 061

optimal track running

7 Do’s and Don’ts for Optimal Track Running


Some people like to jog or run along footpaths; others prefer the track. What’s the difference? Well, pedestrian footpaths can be full of people that get in the way, as well as potholes, dog walkers, and traffic lights making you stop all the time. Tracks on the other hand, are perfectly smooth traffic free surfaces, topped off with the promise of a fabulous run for as long as you want!

sports surface industry imports

The real cost of imports in the sport surface industry


Home Advantage.

Playing on home turf is an uncontested advantage in sport. But does the same principle apply when it comes to purchasing decisions for new sports surfaces? Imports are often cheaper. On the surface at least. But can decisions around value be made on up-front costs alone?

These questions carry greater currency in the present climate as COVID-19 puts an unprecedented strain on global and local economies and international trade. World Trade Organisation economists predict that the decline will exceed the trade decline brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008/09. According to a recent report by Baker McKenzie;

“Global trade has already seen a significant downturn through reduced Chinese imports and the subsequent decline in activity.”1

This highlights the economic vulnerability of an over-reliance on China as ‘the world’s factory’.

The report goes on to say that;

“as of March 25, global trade is expected to fall over 4%, contracting for only the second time since the mid-1980s.”2

Against such a challenging economic backdrop, the answers are undoubtedly complex but this article explores some of the hidden costs and value that may not currently be part of purchasing decisions (and should be).

Economic Cost

The pandemic has necessitated a ‘buy local’mentality. But does this principle carry beyond the small, everyday purchases we make? And is the cost of not doing so, the same?

In Australia alone, manufacturing is a crucial part of the economy, representing the 7th largest sector for employment (approximately 7% of all employment) and the 6th largest for output.3 As of February 2020 The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 922,000 people are employed in the manufacturing sector in Australia.4 Furthermore, a report by the Australian Industry Group states that manufacturing remains one of Australia’s largest full-time employing industries with over 85% of the workforce employed full time (compared to a national average of 69%). As well as being a source of consistent and stable income for almost a million people, manufacturing GDP is $105 billion AUD, comprising 5.7% of Australia’s total GDP.5

These figures demonstrate the emphatic benefit of Australian-made, however, imports are seen as a significant threat with the same report revealing that 21% of manufacturing industry CEOs identified competition from imports and online sources as their primary business constraint.

factory making sports surface

In his 2015 research paper on the impact of international trade on employment, Razib Tuhan from the Australian Government Department of Industry and Science, concluded that;

“while over half of Australia’s manufactured imports by value are currently sourced from low-wage countries…the relationship between imports and employment is negative. On the other hand, exports have the opposite effect on industry employment.”6

APT and Polytan run the largest sports and recreational surfacing distribution facility in the southern hemisphere, employing a workforce of over 120 people across its three facilities in Melbourne. Buying local protects these jobs and boosts the local economy. Imports do the opposite. As we come out of containment, stimulating the economy and keeping people in employment will be key, and buying local, from groceries to green technology sports fields will all matter if communities are to survive and thrive again.

The question then, isn’t solely, what does this cost now, but what will it cost in the longer-term? What is in the broader best interests of the local economy?

Environmental Cost

The business of transporting sport surfaces between countries has a high negative environmental impact, especially if they are coming from low-wage countries like China, that typically have a more carbon-intensive energy mix.

Beyond the carbon footprint of transportation, there are also vital environmental factors at play from the raw materials used to the manufacturing processes followed. Granted, the local product may not always score more highly on this front, but asking the question is key to understanding value.

sport surface locally manufactured

Green R&D, like Laykold’s Gel Court system which is made from 60% renewables, and Poligras Tokyo GT, which utilises filaments from over 60% renewable raw materials derived from sugar cane, also tip the environmental scales favourably.

Performance Cost

It is true that quality comes at a price. But so does lack of quality. And even where imports and local products meet the same international standards, the local bar is often higher because international standards, by necessity, cannot account for every local nuance.

Each local environment comes with its own unique challenges that require local expertise and knowledge to be answered most effectively. Take the harsh Australian climate. It necessitates products that have climate innovation baked into their DNA.

The Allunga Exposure laboratory in Townsville, QLD, where the tropical heat is high and the UV content of natural light is intense, provides an extreme research facility for yarn fading and tensile strength loss development. Polytan & APT’s 25+ years of continuous testing at Allunga has led to proprietary in-house yarn formulations that provide unmatched heat stability and resistance to the degrading effects of UV light. This in turn, makes for much higher artificial turf durability standards than are being met anywhere else in the world. It is a product of strong regional production and teams, and international R&D investment – something that Sport Group, as a parent company, champions through all of its product brands.

Interestingly, the manufacturing industry invests in R&D more heavily than any sector in Australia.7 As such, the benefit of innovation extends beyond simply product performance, to the wider economy, and as we’ve witnessed above, often to the environment too.

local yarn

Keeping everything in house with a fully integrated supply chain is another way of ensuring consistent quality you can trust – particularly as we experience the disruptive effects of COVID-19. Extended shutdowns as regions, countries and individual states look to contain COVID-19 is impacting business supply chains. Sport Group is unique in the sports surface industry in owning its entire global supply chain, providing protection against supply chain shortages with third party suppliers.

According to Anne Petterd of Baker McKenzie:

“Enhanced supply-chain management has never been more important. Companies with well-considered supply-chain risk management processes will be better-placed to identify the impact of disruptive events on their supply-chain and product-offering, providing them with an opportunity to assess how to best respond in tough circumstances.”8

A Home Win

When you consider the cost to the local economy, the environment and performance values, then the true cost of imports is higher than their price tag. This cost is extenuated by the pandemic we currently face. Meanwhile, the ‘home advantage’ of Australian-made becomes more valuable than ever.

If you are in the market for a new synthetic sports turf for football, rugby, hockey or multisport use, we would love to hear from you to find out how we can deliver the best value to you and your community.

Phone 1800 663 812 or contact us for more information.


1. [“Beyond COVID-19: Supply Chain Resilience Holds the Key to Recovery”, Baker McKenzie, 2020]
2. [“Beyond COVID-19: Supply Chain Resilience Holds the Key to Recovery”, Baker McKenzie, 2020]
3. [ “Australian Manufacturing in 2019: Local and Global Opportunities”, Australian Industry Group]
4. [“Labour Force Australia, Detailed Quarterly Feb 2020”, Australian Bureau of Statistics]
5. [“Australian Manufacturing in 2019: Local and Global Opportunities”, Australian Industry Group]
6. [“Impact of international trade on employment: Evidence from Australian manufacturing industries”, Razib Tuhan, 2015]
7. [“Australian Manufacturing in 2019: Local and Global Opportunities”, Australian Industry Group]
8. [“Beyond COVID-19: Supply Chain Resilience Holds the Key to Recovery”, Baker McKenzie, 2020]

Image of Paralympic Champion, Christie Dawes on Fearnley Dawes Athletics Centre Track

Polytan, Closing the Gap for athletes with disability

Polytan strives to break down barriers to promote inclusivity for athletes with disability at a local community sporting level. Polytan is the leader in custom-designed sports facility construction, offering the full-service of design & engineering, construction and facility maintenance.

Polytan recognises the importance of catering for sports people of all abilities. In May 2017 they developed the Fearnley Dawes Athletics Centre in Newcastle, NSW, which included a custom designed outside running lane of greater width than the average athletics track lane, to allow wheelchair-using athletes to compete against competitors without disability. Scott Westcott, Fearnley Dawes Athletics Centre Facilities Manager, marvelled as participation rates increased dramatically – in its first season the Newcastle City Little Athletics Club doubled its numbers since the resurfacing, growing from 110 to 220 Little Athletes!”

Since this revolutionary project, Polytan began making accessibility a priority in all of their projects. More recently Polytan worked with Christchurch City Council to design and construct an all-inclusive facility at the Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub in Christchurch, NZ. This facility included a seated throwing frame for discus and shot-put. This frame included ties to stabilise a wheelchair, but still allowing athletes to spin in their wheelchair to complete their throw. Polytan also designed and installed a long jump sand pit, which was widened by 720mm to provide those with a visual impairment more space for landing their jumps.

Pull Down Ties

Image of Pull Down Ties to lock in seated throwing frame

Long Jump Sand Pit where the width can be extended to help those who are visually impaired.

Image of Long Jump Sand Pit. Width can be extended to help those with a visual impairment.

Polytan has noticed that participation rates at inclusive facilities increase significantly amongst both athletes with and without disability, as communities want to support and encourage everyone to participate in sport and recreational activities.  Polytan is dedicated to educating local councils and sporting clubs/organisations on the benefits of inclusive sporting facilities and recommending features that encourage inclusivity.

“We want to see every state and territory in Australia embrace athletics tracks with dedicated wheelchair facilities.  Polytan will provide advice and education to any facility looking to become inclusive and wishing to increase sport participation for the entire community,” explains Paul Kamphuis, General Manager of Polytan Asia Pacific.

Polytan is aiming for every athletics project they design and construct to include facilities that cater for athletes with a disability to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in and enjoy their local sporting activities.

If you would like to know more about affordable ways to make your sporting venue more inclusive, contact Polytan on 1800 663 812.

Athletics Track Cleaning and Maintenance


Is your track looking under the weather? Don’t spend a fortune on resurfacing! Polytan also provide expert cleaning you can trust for regular pressure cleaning for your athletics track – making it look new again.

Polytan recommend a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to extend the life of your surface, plus we service Australia wide!

Polytan’s professional and reliable maintenance service will provide:

  • Full track inspection and condition report
  • Recommended Repairs (identified in the report)
  • Communicate with onsite maintenance personnel
  • Annual Professional Pressure cleaning
  • Visual inspection of athletic equipment such as take-off board, pole vault inserts, etc

Give your track the tick of approval it deserves!

Download the Polytan Track and Cleaning Maintenance Flyer.

Contact our friendly team today!


Australian officials selected for FIH Pro League in 2019!

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The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced that within the team of officials for this year 2019 FIH Pro League there will be eight Australians who will be involved in the kick off of this year’s event. Congratulations to Adam Kearns and Aleisha Neumann (umpires), Shayley McGurk-Davy, Joshua Burt, Tammy Standley and Adam Webster (technical officials) and Minka Woolley and Don Prior (umpire administrators).


Top 7 athletes who might emerge in 2019!

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In the light of 2018, we have witnessed many spectacular performances that make us believe that we will surely see the rise of new stars in this amazing sports industry that will woo us with their transcendent moves and stellar performances.

You may have seen many athletes in 2018 that have got national prominence. Some breakout players also waited until championship games to make their stamp. Around the world, there are lots of fresh personalities waiting for a big mark on their sport.

Here’s a list to keep an eye on some emerging athletes who seem ready to have breakout performances in 2019.

1. Kyle Brazell: He is the most popular Australian cricketer who has won the award for Young South Australian picks up player-of-the-tournament. He always tries to hit to the fence when it comes to batting.

2. Izak Rankine: He is a professional Australian rules footballer who plays for the Gold Cost Football Club in the Australian Football League.

3. Frenkie de Jong: He is an international soccer player and a midfielder for the Netherlands who could play an important role at the inaugural Nations League finals in June.

4. Vashti Cunningham: She is an American track and field athlete who has expertise in the high jump. She is a daughter of retired National Football League quarterback Randall Cunningham. She will be a most loved at the world track championships in Doha, Qatar, which is starting in late September.

5. Dallas Mavericks guard/forward Luka Doncic: He is a professional basketball player of the National Basketball Association.

6. Nick Bosa: He is recognized as the pass rusher of Ohio State. He is anticipated by some to be the outstanding choice in the NFL draft.

7. Jin-Young Ko: She is also known as Ko Jin-Young and a South Korean professional golfer who wraps up the LPGA Rookie of the year. She has won four times on the LPGA of Korea and has been included inside the main 30 in the Women’s World Golf Rankings.

Every great athlete among these has one thing in common that they all indulge in a competition that bounces them to an important aspect that is often overlooked and that is the turf they are performing on. Being one of the best and most reputed artificial turf providers, Polytan offers a wide range of high-quality synthetic turf and sports pitches

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