Arena Masterplan

We’re proposing some upgrades to this community facility and we’d like to know what you think. We’re currently seeking feedback on this as part of Council’s Long-Term Plan 2024-34.

Find out more and have your say.

Central Energy Trust Arena is our 18.5 hectares flexible sports and entertainment hub in the heart of our city centre.

Central Energy Trust Arena hosts over 3000 individual events each year and is home to more than 30 sporting codes, bringing in more than 450,000 visitors each year.

Our masterplan for the Arena focuses on how we can continue to improve the facility, bringing vibrant events to our city centre, and the significant economic impact this has. The speedway season alone brings around $25 million to our local economy.

Between 2018 and 2022, we completed the first stages of the masterplan, starting with a new artificial turf and then the entrance plaza, including the pedestrian bridge, and digital screens. Palmy’s iconic speedway has also benefited, through the relocation of the speedway pits. They’re more user-friendly for drivers and crews, as well as more visible to speedway spectators. These areas are dual purpose and able to host community activities, like Puanga Festival and MidCentral DHB’s Covid test drive-thru Centre. Improvements have also been made to the lighting, embankment seating and amenities spaces.

Our upgrades to Cuba Street to widen the footpaths and narrow the road also help the Arena thrive as it encourages visitors to enjoy our city centre and support businesses and hospitality in the area, as well as provide a safe, comfortable walking route to the facility.

Our masterplan was created in 2017, and a review was developed in 2023 in partnership with Rangitane o Manawatū to deliver on our shared goals for community well-being.


Workshops were held with Elected Members, Council, and Palmy Venues staff to understand the city’s wider imperatives, contextual issues and opportunities. All external user groups such as users of the facilities, Sport Manawatū and the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) who have a vested interest in Central Energy Trust Arena were invited to participate in both an online survey and a series of targeted group interviews between January and February 2023. A good response was had with around half of all users completing the online survey and a high proportion of users participating in group interviews.

From this consultation, the Masterplan has been updated and considers the stakeholder and user groups’ input and identified needs. It also addresses areas of the facility that are under-performing or present safety and security risks. Several potential projects have also been identified.

In November 2023, the updated Masterplan was presented to Council as a recommendation to adopt the new plan to inform future decision making including the 2024-2034 Long Term Plan process. This was adopted by Council and the budget for the 10-Year Long Term Plan consultation for development was set at $36 million.

With this funding, a new Arena 5 will be developed. It will replace Barber Hall and will be set in a new location on the corner of Cuba Street and Pascal Street.

The funding will also go towards a rear field realignment behind the grandstand. This will include building an additional artificial turf adjacent to the current turf and two hybrid turfs parallel to the artificial turfs.

The turfs will be built in a quad-like shape and will include amenities such as new changing room blocks, storage facilities, promenades and shelter for spectators, amenities and trees situated throughout. These turfs will be designed for multi-use including rugby and football sports.

Further Developments

In the next financial year, we will review the Arena Masterplan which was last updated in 2017.

Key projects identified in the current Masterplan include:

Arena 5 replacement

Replacement of the current Arena 5 buildings with a multi-functional space that can accommodate court sports, administration offices as well as space for our current clients such as skating, Red Cross Book Sale, pop-up clothing sales, and ballroom dancing.

Atrium on Pascal St

A new atrium on Pascal Street to link Fly Palmy Arena, Arena 3 and the B&M Centre. This would create one entrance to all these facilities with new changing and public facilities.


Realignment of our backfields. This would include moving our service and storage buildings to create a better layout and an additional (fourth) full-size playing field.

May 11, 2021

This is the first major construction project to be completed in Palmerston North’s 150th year.

Construction for phase 2 commenced on 8 May 2020 and was the first major local government project to begin post-lockdown.

The total cost of the combined Arena Redevelopment programme is just over $17.1 million. This includes everything from design, consultation and consenting, professional fees, to construction. Central Energy Trust has contributed $1,078,000 towards the project, with the council funding the remainder.

The redevelopment process has a project steering group including representatives from Palmerston North City Council, Rangitāne, Robertson Holden International Speedway, Manawatū Rugby, Sport Manawatū, and Marist Sports Club.

Both the construction and works will have a major economic benefit to our city

Palmerston North City Council Chief Executive, Heather Shotter, says the construction work is helping provide jobs for residents.

“We’re proud that this project can support our local construction industry and provide employment for so many. The lead contractor, Humphries Construction, is based in Palmerston North and approximately 90 per cent of the subcontractors are also based within the Manawatu. The remaining 10 per cent is due to those products or services not being available locally. It’s great for a construction project of this scale to be created by locals, for locals.”

Humphries Construction Managing Director, Paul Humphries, says its team and sub-contractors are rapt to have been awarded the contract.

“ A huge congratulations must go to Council for having the foresight and initiative to execute this contract through these changing times, a decision that will directly & immediately benefit the local economy. To have been entrusted with this civic project brings us much pride.  Having undertaken construction and development projects across the region for more than 20 years, we certainly do not take for granted this huge opportunity and understand the part we play in the delivery of this project to Palmerston North City. We are excited to get underway.”

Completed work is a symbol of hope for our city

The results of these major upgrades will bring bigger and better entertainment options and international sporting events to Palmerston North city, which have major flow-on economic impacts for the region.

Mayor Grant Smith, who’s Council approved the tender the day before Alert Level 4 lockdown, says this project resembles a symbol of hope and growth for our city.

Ms Shotter says this project isn’t just about making the Central Energy Trust Arena better for speedway fans, but rather it’s about driving our local economy far into the future.

Central Energy Trust Arena complex holds around 3000 events each year and is home to 36 different sporting codes. This brings in around 400,000 visitors each year, many of whom live outside our region and come here for an event, stay the night in local accommodation, eat out, and enjoy our recreational activities. The Superstock Teams Championships weekend alone contributes an estimated $6M to our local economy. The upgrades will bring in new and larger events, which will create and sustain jobs in our hospitality and retail industries, and provide a significant boost to our local economy.

Completed Projects

Key projects completed include:


Artificial turf

The artificial turf is one of the first improvements to Central Energy Trust Arena as part of the masterplan. It is the first of its kind in the region.

Central Energy Trust Arena artificial turf construction completed (


Speedway pits

New speedway pit facilities have been developed along the southern side of the Arena complex behind the new South Stand, next to Cuba Street, and opened in January 2021. These facilities include a mixture of green space, concrete and asphalt, as well as services paramount to successful speedway operation, such as water, air, power, and lighting.


Entrance plaza and pedestrian bridge

A welcoming, attractive plaza entrance draws visitors to the main Arena entrance and ticket box on the corner of Waldegrave Street and Cuba Street. The entrance leads up to the new pedestrian bridge, which links to the Arena 1 stadium.


Ablutions block and south stand

Our new ablutions block is the foundation for our new south stand. Seats were lifted onto the south stand in January 2021, ready for the annual ENZED Superstock Teams Champs event. The concourse area was upgraded alongside the south stand, allowing for better pedestrian movement around the stadium seating blocks and a level connection into the first floor of the grandstand building.