Carisbrook under Mark Perham's care has become one of the best cricket pitches in New Zealand, but for no longer.

The man rated as one of the finest groundsmen in New Zealand is breaking camp and heading to Eden Park and the job of turf manager. This has been recreated after the Eden Park Trust Board decided it would not use contract services as it has used in recent years.

The difference in climates could not be more pronounced in New Zealand terms - the harsh, colder weather of Dunedin is in contrast to the semi-tropical humidity of Auckland.

But dealing with the differences is one of the challenges of the job now ahead of Perham.

In his six years at Carisbrook he has been a significant force in the ground having consistently produced one of the truest wickets in the country.

While at an international level it has been mainly evidenced in One-Day Internationals, there have also been Test match wickets of class.

Perham says the best Test pitch he prepared never saw the light of day. It was the rain abandoned 1998/99 pitch for the scheduled first Test between New Zealand and India. The pitch was used for an unofficial ODI played on the scheduled last day of the Test, but that was no true indication.

Instead, he had to be satisfied with the last three outstanding ODIs played on the ground. In the last three summers the respective one-day series with Australia, Pakistan and England have been played out on superb pitches in Dunedin.

Against Pakistan, New Zealand scored 290 to win the series with 1.5 overs left, and this year New Zealand beat England by scoring 223 with seven balls to spare.

Earlier, in 1999/00, New Zealand were not quite so lucky after Australia scored 310/4 to which New Zealand replied with 260.

"Probably one of the key things in developing the pitch here has been that I have been given a free rein.

"No-one has ever said to me, 'You can't do that'," he said.

The quality of the pitch has developed from its management.

"People don't seem to realise that developing a pitch is a 365 days of the year job. It is not just about working on it three weeks before a Test match," he said.

That care involves covering the Carisbrook pitch anytime it rains and leaving as much grass on it as possible. Perham took soil samples all the time to keep an eye on what was happening with it.

Once starting in the job after having been employed by the Pleasant Point Golf Club, he found it took about six to nine months to get the recipe right for the ground.

"That was when I felt confident we had something. Weather plays a big part in it, while it is also important how you manage it in the off-season," he said.

Another facet that will be involved in his move to Auckland will be coming to grips with the new technology involved in portable pitches.

"It is a young technology and I am looking forward to working in it," he said.

"One of the reasons for moving is to be involved in what they have planned at Eden Park over the next few years. They are reconstructing the main oval."

Also offering a challenge will be the world-wide problem of getting grass to grow in shaded areas of the Eden Park, particularly in the lea of the new North Stand.

"There are shaded areas at Carisbrook as well, but clearly not as big a problem as in Auckland.

"It will be hard to leave Dunedin and Carisbrook but I am looking forward to the challenge," he said.

He finishes at Carisbrook on August 18 and starts in Auckland on September 1.