After a devastating 2011 earthquake rendered their previous facilities unusable, the Christchurch field hockey community was ecstatic to officially open two internationally certified artificial turf pitches in 2018. A welcome revival, the Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub now serves as a home for Christchurch’s highly competitive field hockey players and fiercely loyal fans alike. Ngā Puna Wai means “the wells of water” in the native Maori language, a name that stands true to the Hunter irrigation system that helped the state-of-the-art sports complex earn Global Elite status from field hockey’s governing body.
As Christchurch’s premier outdoor hockey facility, Ngā Puna Wai was designed to meet the rigorous standards of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The primary challenge was ensuring that the irrigation system met the strict requirements to achieve Global Elite status and the privilege to host FIH Pro League matches. Before play and during halftime, water is applied to the field to maintain playability. Field hockey rules stipulate wetting during the 10-minute halftime without delaying play.
Setting the playing field within such a tight watering window required long-range sprinklers with high precipitation rates and consistent coverage. In addition, the sprinklers had to be located off the playing surface and out of sight when not in use. To minimize water spray onto spectators, the design of the irrigation system had to account for the direction of prevailing winds.
Finally, the sprinklers had to be capable of sectoring to 90° or 180°, with an application rate that permitted all six emitters operating in matched-arc pairs to deliver even precipitation over the playing surface as specified by FIH rules. These requirements mandated careful attention to the design and installation of the irrigation system.
Ngā Puna Wai facility managers wanted a complete solution that was simple to install, easy to manage and maintain, and most importantly compliant with the stringent FIH requirements. The advanced Hunter ST-1600 system exceeded these requirements, making it their first choice for irrigation needs.
From the high-speed ST-1600-HS-B rotor to the heavy-duty manifold and isolation valve, every component of the ST-1600 system is thoughtfully engineered for maximum performance and contractor-friendly installation. The compact design of the vault ensures a seamless connection to the mainline at 24–30" (60–75 cm), and the rotor hangs conveniently from an adjustable bracket within the vault. These innovations mean less digging is required during installation. Combined with total-top-accessibility to every component, the ST-1600 system simplifies maintenance while keeping the field surface intact, safe, and ready for play.
Consistency and distribution uniformity are key considerations when designing an irrigation system for a professional field hockey facility such as Ngā Puna Wai. A poor watering system can adversely impact the characteristics of the turf and endanger the safety of players.
With this in mind, field designers had no hesitation in specifying a complete Hunter ST-1600 system solution. After rigorous testing, the pitches at Ngā Puna Wai were awarded Global Elite status by the FIH. Backed by this coveted achievement, Ngā Puna Wai managers look forward to hosting world-class matches for years to come.