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Masterton’s Trust House Memorial Park will stage New Zealand’s first-ever professional rugby game on artificial turf, when it hosts the Hurricanes and Chiefs development teams on Thursday 30 April.  

The state-of-the-art turf was officially opened just prior to the development game, which will be the highlight of an evening festival of rugby and football. 

The redevelopment features the LigaTurf RS+260 20/4 on 25mm EL artificial turf, with bright surrounds customised to match Wairarapa Bush provincial colours that looks exceptional under the 1000 Lux stadium lighting.

Jonathan Tanner, chair of the Wairarapa Multi Sports Stadium Trust, says the opening of the artificial turf marks the culmination of 18 months hard work. “This will be a very significant day in the development of many sports throughout the Wairarapa, not just rugby and football,” he explained.

“The new turf and floodlights has been ambitious project and we are grateful to the efforts of a great many people, particularly Heartland Wairarapa chairman Bob Francis and Wairarapa-Bush Chief Executive Officer Tony Hargood. The result is a multi-use facility, which will be of tremendous benefit to a vast number of schools, colleges, sports clubs, and other community organisations.

“Park usage is expected to increase from five per cent to 40 per cent, with ground hire fees the same or less than in previous years. Floodlit rugby and football are planned, with many evenings already booked out. None of this would have been possible without the generous funding we have received from Trust House, the Lottery Grants Board, Masterton District Council and the Eastern and Central Community Trust.”

The facility will also be the home of Wairarapa United Football team.