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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]


Big Stadium Hockey Wins SAPCA Prize and Shortlisted for Cutting Edge Sports Industry Award

Polytan Turf a Key Player in Hockey Innovation

It’s not every day that you find a hockey pitch sharing the same space as a two-hour marathon and finishing top in the innovation awards. But then neither is it every day that you see world class hockey being played in front of record crowds on what, just days before, was a rugby pitch.

Revolutionising sport and spaces, allowing the game to be played anywhere, in front of new and bigger crowds, in new environments and in a far more sustainable way, is at the heart of Big Stadium Hockey.

This is how Big Stadium Hockey earned its way onto the shortlist for the Cutting Edge Sport Award at this year’s coveted Sports Industry Awards and scooped the prize for ‘Most innovative Project’ at the Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) future-gazing conference on 24 February. It’s a new space for us to play, and that’s entirely appropriate.

A game-changing solution

Big Stadium Hockey – a collective initiative spearheaded by England Hockey – drew on specialist expertise from Polytan, STRI Group, Permavoid and the FIH to provide the answer to one of hockey’s big questions. The sport’s high tech, high spec, perfectly flat surfaces have traditionally restricted the game to smaller, hockey-specific venues. A game captive to its own performance standards, how could it break free of its own walls without sacrificing the quality of its pitch and play?

It was a big challenge and Polytan – a Sport Group Company – were delighted to be a leading part of the answer. Because the answer has been a game-changing one.

The world’s first elite level portable pitch system for hockey

As part of this collaborative partnership, we developed the ground-breaking pitch technology which transformed The Stoop, home of Harlequins Rugby into a world-class hockey venue. Two international fixtures were played in front of the biggest crowds that the sport had seen in the UK since the 2012 Olympic Games. The pitch was… well, pitch perfect, despite having been a rugby pitch just days previously. The technology has been used again in Ireland and will allow hockey to return to The Stoop in May this year. It is helping to grow the game worldwide because it has given hockey the freedom to go where it wants.

Turf Responsibly: Green Technology

It’s good for players, for fans and for the game. But it goes bigger than the game. It is good for the planet. The turf used at The Stoop is Poligras Tokyo GT, which is the surface for the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. This surface was designed to support Tokyo’s goal for a carbon neutral games and utilises filaments from over 60% renewable raw materials derived from sugar cane. It requires up to 65% less water than other elite surfaces, the portable pitch system uses recycled materials in its manufacturing and each system layer is reusable over and over again. The turf from The Stoop has been permanently installed at Bisham Abbey, England, meaning that not only was the turf surface the most environmentally friendly on the planet, but by being re-installed in a new location we can extend its life and legacy as well as continuing to reduce our carbon production footprint.

A win : win

Winning SAPCA’s top spot for innovation and being shortlisted for a Sports Industry Award amidst a heady line-up of cutting-edge initiatives in sport is an exciting space to be. Whether we scoop the award in April or not though, the sport of hockey and the pitch we created are in an incredibly exciting place. Because they can go anywhere now.

For more information visit:


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.

IAAF changes it's name to World Athletics graphic. Text reads 25% of all IAAF crossed out and replaced with World Athletics certified tracks are by Sport Group. Rekortan 50 logo with caption below that reads 50 years of track excellence.

IAAF has changed its name to ‘World Athletics’

After 100 years the IAAF has run its last race.
Did you know the IAAF has changed its name to ‘World Athletics’?
The new name was chosen to be more easily understood outside of athletics. World Athletics gives the organization a broader positioning and is part of the sport’s modernization. The new branding is designed to be more accessible and come to life digitally.
Track certifications will change Sport Group’s brands, Polytan, APT and AstroTurf, together with our network of agents lay more than 2 million square meters of track annually so we wanted to help communicate the name change.
There is now a process to change the track certifications and World Athletics is modifying all their documents including new certification badges. Therefore, IAAF Class 1 and 2 tracks will now be certified as World Athletics Class 1 or 2.
As 25% of all World Athletic certificated tracks are by Sport Group we are also updating our materials.
It will take time to get used to the new name. The IAAF name has been around for over 100 years and Rekortan, our global track brand, has been around 50 years so they have run many races together

New website link –

Image of Polytan hockey surfacec, Poligras Tokyo GT with a Green Technology logo and text which reads "Introducing Tokyo GT a sustainable revolution in hockey turf."


Since 1969, Polytan has specialised in synthetic sports surface facility construction and have extensive experience in elite sporting venues such as the Olympic Games, World Cup and Commonwealth Games. This will be the fifth Olympics where Polytan have installed a Poligras hockey surface.

Polytan sport surfaces are made in Australia and manufactured at Polytan’s Head Office in Melbourne allowing for higher quality control.

Global warming is an undeniable issue affecting our earth through the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other harmful air pollutants. These can have negative impacts on the environment and the Earth’s climate system. Together through environmental practises we can combat climate change and save our planet.

Tokyo and the FIH have this same green vision and in support of this Polytan have developed the first sustainable hockey surface, Poligras Tokyo GT, which was recently installed at Japan’s Oi Hockey Stadium – the 2020 Games tournament venue.

Poligras Tokyo GT is made from over 60% regrowable raw materials, saves on CO2 emissions and has reduced water consumption. The turf’s structure is also specifically adapted to a Bio Based PE formula enabling for dynamic and precise playability.

This latest green turf technology is a major breakthrough for the hockey community and introduces a Climate Positive Hockey approach for the 2020 Olympics Games and other sporting facilities around the world.

Did you know?

For every 1kg of I’m green™ polyethylene used in Polytan’s hockey fields for the games in Tokyo in 2020, almost 5kg of CO2 will be saved!

Earlier this year hockey pitches at the Townsville Hockey Complex were damaged due to a devastating flood disaster in Townsville, QLD. The Townsville Hockey Association chose Polytan to install the new eco-friendly surface at their local hockey facility.

Green solutions can save not only major facilities but ALL sporting facilities time and money while preventing the harmful effects of climate change.


Contact Polytan about your next surfacing project today!
1800 663 812

Image of Poligras Tokyo GT with Green Technology image and text reading "introducing Tokyo GT a sustainable revolution in hockey turf."


Polytan are currently installing the e-layer and Polytan’s new sustainable hockey surface, Poligras Tokyo GT for a training field at Seongham Stadium. This venue was once the hockey venue for the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympic Games.

Seongham Stadium is about one and a half hours south of Seoul and holds up to 3,000 people, which is a significant number of seats for a hockey venue. This is the fourth installation of Polytan’s highly sought after Poligras Tokyo GT premium hockey turf within Korea.

Poligras Tokyo GT is the first hockey turf to be made from regrowable raw materials and was the chosen hockey turf for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The new surface promotes Climate Positive Hockey, as it is made from 60% sugarcane, requires 2/3 less water and saves CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere. Poligras Tokyo GT was originally designed to support Tokyo’s carbon neutral vision and FIH’s commitment to sustainable hockey.

The I’m Green polyethylene was originally developed by Braskem, as they realised sugarcane could be used in more ways than one. With only one year to go until the Olympic Games the countdown is on and we can’t wait for Olympic hockey athletes to compete on the new carbon neutral hockey surface.

Back in 1988 the stadium held one of the most iconic hockey finals with West Germany and Great Britain battling it out to become triumphant. This entertaining hockey match goes down in British sporting history because against all odds Great Britain claimed their victory! Recognised as one of Britain’s most outstanding hockey players, Sean Kerly was a clear stand out for the match.

As an FIH Preferred Supplier, Polytan are well known for providing the highest quality hockey surfaces worldwide.

This is yet again another sustainable hockey turf installation to add to the growing list of Poligras Tokyo GT installations worldwide.

We can’t wait to see more hockey players performing on Polytan hockey surfaces and hope to see Seongham Stadium used for an FIH tournament very soon.

Turf Responsibly.

For more on the Turf Responsibility Campaign

Check out Poligras Tokyo GT!

Image of Polytan installing the e-layer and Poligras Tokyo GT at Seongham Stadium, Korea which was the Seoul Olympic hockey venue in 1988

Image reads "For Tokyo, For the Planet. One Year to Go. Tokyo GT brings sustainable hockey to Tokyo 2020, 60% sugarcane, 2/3 less water and saves CO2. Turf Responsibly.

For Tokyo. For the Planet

There’s one year to go until the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the hockey venues are underway and on track. The competition matches will be played at Oi Hockey Stadium where construction started in late 2018 and the final surfacing was completed in June 2019.

Poligras Tokyo GT – supporting Tokyo’s carbon neutral vision

With superior player and environmental performance Poligras Tokyo GT has been chosen as the hockey turf for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Poligras Tokyo GT is the first hockey turf to be made from regrowable raw materials and was designed to support Tokyo’s ambitious carbon-neutral targets and FIH’s commitment to sustainable hockey.

The turf features breakthrough Green Technology:

  • Made from 60% sugar cane
  • Requires 2/3 less water than previous Olympic turfs

Climate Positive Hockey

‘I’m Green™ polyethylene, developed by Braskem, is a plastic obtained from ethanol derived from sugar cane that has already been processed for food. The sugar cane captures carbon dioxide from the environment, which means for every kilogram of polyethylene used in the Olympic hockey turfs almost five kilograms of CO2 will be saved.

Poligras Tokyo GT turfs have already been installed in nine countries as clubs, colleges, hockey associations and cities make the commitment to ‘turf responsibly’.

This is positive for hockey, for Tokyo and the planet.

An unrivaled Olympic history

Tokyo 2020 continues Sport Group’s long association with the Olympic Games. Sport Group’s brands, AstroTurf and Polytan have provided the hockey turfs for 9 of the 12 Olympics which have featured hockey on synthetic turf.

For more on the Turf Responsibility Campaign

Poligras Tokyo GT at Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Poligras Tokyo GT at Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

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