Location :

Napier - New Zealand (North Island)

Client :

Napier City Council

Year :


Sector :

Cricket | Rugby | Hybrid turf

Located on the East Coast on the North Island of New Zealand, this picturesque boutique stadium, maintained by Napier City Council, hosts both local and international Cricket & Rugby events. Since opening in 1911, it has developed into one of the country's best cricket grounds and is considered as the jewel in the crown of Hawke’s Bays Fields of Play.

Following ongoing drainage issues in 2017 which prevented several cricket matches being played, the Napier City Council decided to upgrade the stadium with a new drainage system, a state-of-the-art irrigation system, gravel layer & sand growing medium and turfing in HG’s Hybrid Turf system.


There were three main challenges during the design development of the project:


First, the project's timing occurred in Winter, meaning considerations of turf challenges linked to the season.


Second, located near the ocean, the water table was relatively close to the surface. SPORTENG managed this hazard by minimising the number of earthworks undertaken on the sub-base during the construction period. 


Third, finding suitable sand in quantity for the project. Ultimately, the sand came from two suppliers and was blended on-site (in the car park) before being placed on the field. Extensive monitoring of the blended sands was undertaken to ensure the particle size distribution met specifications. 


We worked alongside HG Turf Sports Turf, who were engaged to reconstruct the facility due to the soil profile's low hydraulic conductivity and the thatch's slow infiltration rate (approx. 100mm in depth) on the surface that had accumulated over several decades.


The reconstruction included:

  • Removal of one wicket to install a drop-in pitch.
  • Removal of thatch, existing infrastructure & soil profile.
  • Re-shaping of sub base.
  • Stormwater system renewal.
  • Geo fabric over subbase installation.
  • Tensar Grid for increased load bearing for wicket transporter.
  • Gravel layer.
  • Irrigation system incl. pumps upgrade.
  • Installation of a synthetic area around the boundary.
  • Sand profile installation.
  • Installation of turf.


The overall result was a success and will fit Napier City Council’s needs for years to come. Thanks to all involved for your knowledge, planning, products and implementation of work that will achieve the results to make this project a long-term success.

The park successfully made its return to the provincial circuit with a national rugby game in late 2018, followed by an international cricket match in January 2019.

“The revamp of McLean Park has certainly enhanced Napier’s reputation as an international standard cricketing destination,” said Jamie Goodsir, Project Manager for the Park’s redevelopment.

Source: McLean Park has undergone a significant upgrade with specially graded sand trucked in from the Wairarapa. By Richard Silcock.