Arena Manawatu

Arena Manawatu

Arena Manawatu
'The Boneyard'
FMG Stadium
Former names Palmerston North Showgrounds, Arena 1, FMG Stadium
Location Palmerston North Central, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
Owner Palmerston North City Council
Capacity 21,000
Renovated March 2005
Manawatu Turbos
Robertson Holden International Speedway
Wellington Phoenix

Arena Manawatu is the current name of the 180,000 square metre publicly owned recreational complex just west of the Palmerston North city centre in the Manawatu-Wanganui region of New Zealand.

It has three linked indoor stadiums, with movable tiered seating. Outdoor facilities include football fields and a speedway track with grandstand.

Arena Manawatu has a deserved reputation as being both the busiest and most versatile events and activities complex in New Zealand. Handling around 8000 individual event/venue bookings annually, it has an unparalleled 36 different sporting codes being conducted here regularly along with trade shows, exhibitions, weddings, dinners, conferences, conventions, meetings, seminars, festivals, concerts and leisure events.

Arena Manawatu is the primary sporting and events complex in the lower North Island. It is prominent throughout New Zealand as the foremost multi use leisure and events facility.

Right in the heart of Palmerston North city, just seven minutes walking distance from the CBD, Arena Manawatu is a favourite choice for events with a significant visitor component. The park like environment boasts 33 individual indoor and outdoor venues within the 18 hectare site.

The facility has had a number of international fixtures as of late; these include: Netball between New Zealand and England, Super Rugby games and two Rugby World Cup games in 2011.

FMG insurance chose not to renew the sponsorship deal for main Stadium name in June 2015.


  • Arena 1: Arena Manawatu 1
    • Capacity 1.1
    • History 1.2
    • Rugby League 1.3
      • Rugby League Test Matches 1.3.1
    • Other sports 1.4
  • Arena 2 2
  • Arena 3 3
  • B+M Centre 4
  • Arena 5 5
  • Arena 6 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Arena 1: Arena Manawatu


Arena Manawatu has a capacity of 21,000.[1] Meanwhile, temporary seating is added sometimes for major events allowing the capacity to reach 23,000

Arena Manawatu is home to Manawatu Rugby. Generally one club game will be played on the ground per week, whilst it is the Manawatu Turbos' home ground. Since Manawatu Turbos has been included in the Air New Zealand Cup, crowd attendances have been among the highest in the competition, averaging 7,000 per game.


Arena Manawatu formerly known as Arena 1 and FMG Stadium was the venue for the first ever Super 12 rugby match in 1996, which was played by the Wellington Hurricanes and the Auckland Blues.

The Stadium was the host of the 1987 Rugby World Cup game between Wales and Tonga on 29 May. Wales won 29–16.

The ground was a venue for the British and Irish Lions on the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand with a game against Manawatu Turbos on 28 June.

On 28 March 2009, The Highlanders played a Super Rugby 'home' game at Arena Manawatu against the Bulls. The game attracted a large crowd of over 10,000; one of the Highlanders' biggest of the 2009 season.

On 4 September 2011, The Manawatu Turbos hosted the Hawkes Bay Magpies in the ITM Championship Cup Final at Arena Manawatu. Crowd attendants was 13,100.

The stadium hosted two pool games in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, in which New Zealand is the host nation. With the city's central location, large student population, the stadium's close proximity to the CBD, International Pacific College, as well as the New Zealand Rugby Institute (a facility in which the All Blacks used to use), the idea of basing a team and having a pool game in Palmerston North was attractive.

Rugby League

Palmerston North hosted its first rugby league test match when New Zealand lost to Great Britain 11-10 on 24 June 1990 in front of 8,073 fans.

The stadium hosted New Zealand Kiwis' victory in their first rugby league test of the 1992 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand. In front of 11,548 fans, the Kiwis defeated Great Britain 15-14 after a late Daryl Halligan field goal.

Palmerston North also hosted the second game of the 1993 Trans-Tasman series against Australia, played on a water-logged ground after constant rain. Despite the arctic like conditions, an overflow crowd of 19,000 hardy fans saw the Mal Meninga led Aussies run out 16-8 winners.

Overall, the stadium hosted six test matches between 1990 and 1996. Its last test to date saw New Zealand defeat Great Britain 18-15 on 25 October 1996 in front of 12,000 fans.

Rugby League Test Matches

List of Test matches played at Palmerston North.[2]

Game# Date Result Attendance
1 24 June 1990 Great Britain def. New Zealand 11-10 8,073
2 12 July 1992 New Zealand def. Great Britain 15-14 11,548
3 25 June 1993 Australia def. New Zealand 16-8 19,500
4 16 June 1995 New Zealand drew with France 16-16 10,846
5 11 October 1996 New Zealand def. Papua New Guinea 64-0 2,000
6 25 October 1996 New Zealand def. Great Britain 18-15 12,000

Other sports

Other users of the stadium include the Robertson Holden International Speedway, with the 434 metres (475 yards) speedway track encircling the field, this is easy and it has been regarded as one of the premiere speedways in New Zealand. The national Teams Championships are often held there, early February bringing racers from all over the country. The season starts mid October and finishes by the start of May.

The YoungHeart Manawatu association football team used to play at the ground, however they have since moved to Memorial Park, Palmerston North.

Arena Manawatu hosted the Wellington Phoenix in a home game against Sydney FC on 12 December 2009 in the Hyundai A-League.

Arena Manawatu was twice host of Te Matatini nationwide Kapa haka competition.

Arena 2

Redeveloped in 2004, Arena 2 is a multipurpose indoor sporting facility, capable of holding exhibitions, conventions and entertainment events. It has been the host of the Central Pulse home matches in Palmerston North and International netball fixtures between New Zealand and Australia; international motor shows; conferences and houses the home court to the Manawatu Jets who play in the National Basketball League.

Arena 3

Arena 3 has a floor area of 2100 sq m and is an indoor sports centre. It has a capacity of 2000 persons and can be hired.

B+M Centre

Multipurpose indoor stadium.

Arena 5

Includes Bell Hall, Barber Hall, Waldegrave Lounge and gym.

Arena 6

Outdoor. No. 2, 3 & 4 sports grounds.


  1. ^ "Venues - Arena". Palmerston North City Council. 6 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Palmerston North Showgrounds @ Rugby League Project

External links

  • City of Palmerston North official site
  • Official website
  • Destination Manawatu
  • Sport Manawatu
  • Manawatu Rugby