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Bricks and Mortar

Elisha Chauhan looks at four of New Zealand’s leading sports venues, their unique selling points and how scheduled improvements could affect their hosting future.

Eden Park (pictured)
Location: Auckland
Operator: Eden Park Trust Board

New Zealand’s largest stadium and national sports ground Eden Park celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Located in Auckland, the venue mainly hosts rugby union, cricket, rugby league and football, and is also used for non-sporting events.

A NZ$270-million redevelopment, completed in October 2010, increased its permanent capacity to 50,000, with the capability to add a further 10,000 temporary seats. The 2010 development was the first instance that Eden Park has received public investment, a total grant of NZ$200 million.

The venue’s Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan [PAUP] – launched last year – is seeking further developments at Eden Park, including a hotel, more parking and restaurants. The major change, however, would see all cricket matches – as well as any minor sports event – being played outside the main stadium, with a proposal to have Eden Park’s second venue redeveloped to cater for such sports.

Forsyth Barr Stadium
Location: Dunedin
Operator: Dunedin Venues Management

Designed by internationally-renowned architect Populous in conjunction with local firm Jasmax, the Forsyth Barr Stadium was the world’s first fully-enclosed grass venue.

It has been dubbed ‘the glasshouse’ for its transparent roof made from ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene), which is the same material used for the exterior of the Allianz Arena, home of German football club Bayern Munich, as well as the Beijing National Aquatics Centre constructed for the 2008 summer Olympics.

Completed in August 2011, the 30,000-seater venue exceeded its projected budget by around NZ$26 million, costing NZ$224.4 million.

Although mainly hosting rugby union, rugby league and football events, the stadium also caters for sports such as netball and basketball, where the layout of the venue is changed by using temporary wooden flooring and flexible seating.

Forsyth Barr is scheduled to host its first international rugby league game in November when New Zealand hosts England in the 2014 Four Nations tournament.

Westpac Stadium (below)
Location: Wellington
Operator: Wellington Regional Stadium Trust

Known as the Westpac Stadium due to a naming rights partnership with the Australian bank and financial-services provider, the Wellington Regional Stadium regularly serves as the home venue for the All Blacks, New Zealand’s national rugby union team.

It is also home to Super Rugby’s Hurricanes team, New Zealand cricket’s Wellington Firebirds and A-League football team Wellington Phoenix.

Opening in January 2000, the 34,500-seater venue cost NZ$130 million to construct with funding coming from the Wellington regional council (NZ$25 million), Wellington city council (NZ$15 million), NZ$7 million in grants and donations, NZ$50 million in fundraising and a NZ$33million ANZ bank loan.

The stadium – commonly known as the Cake Tin due to its shape – will host the 2014 Four Nations rugby league final in November.

Yarrow Stadium
Location: New Plymouth
Operator: New Plymouth District Council

Named the third-best rugby stadium in the world by NZ Rugby World magazine, Yarrow Stadium was first developed as a rugby ground in 1931, with the stadium completed in 1947.

A major NZ$17-million redevelopment saw two new grandstands added in 2002, bringing the capacity to 25,500. The facility also has three further sports fields for training.

Yarrow Stadium is home to Super Rugby’s Chiefs, the Taranaki rugby union team, football’s Team Taranaki, rugby league side the Taranaki Sharks and cricket’s Central Districts Stags.

The venue also played host to the 2011 Rugby World Cup and was temporarily named Stadium Taranaki following a 2009, NZ$1.5 million upgrade for the event.

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