October 10 2010
Eden Park ready for RWC 2011
The redevelopment of Eden Park for the 2011 Rugby World Cup had not all been plain sailing. A proposal from the Auckland City Council for a new waterfront stadium surfaced in 2006 and was given due consideration before Eden Park was confirmed as the preferred stadium. It was January 2007 before resource consent was approved, after consideration of effects upon neighbours etc. were dealt with. Finally, at a cost of some $256 million, the Park was ready.
“Eden Park will officially re-open today, with Prime Minister John Key leading the formalities.
Next year the ground will become the first stadium in the world to host two Rugby World Cup finals.
Two new stands – the South and East – are forefront of a quarter of a billion dollar redevelopment, and the new ground will continue to host Auckland during the ITM Cup, ahead of its first international contest with the Rugby League Four Nations playing a double header there. The South stand is a six level structure that alone holds 21,500, and features retractable seating in front of it.
Radio New Zealand reported that the opening would begin with a dawn blessing of four tekoteko (carved poles) which will be blessed by Ngati Whatua o Orakei. Representing Tanemahuta, Rongo, Tumatauenga and Tawhirimatea, they stand guard at the four corners of the park.
The ground will host the 2011 tournament opener between the All Blacks and Tonga, as well as other pool matches, and the Cup semi finals, third placed playoff and final.
Also featured will be a new internal concourse connected the stands from within, access for vehicles into the ground has been improved; while new changing rooms, big enough to hold lineout drills, will be connected directly to the coaches box.
With the new improvements completed weeks before deadline, the general public are today invited to see the finished product that is New Zealand’s largest stadium.
The first test played at the ground was on the 27th August 1921, when the Springboks beat the All Blacks 9-5. It has hosted a test match at least once a year since 1981. The All Blacks, who have played 65 matches at Eden Park, have won 53, lost ten and drawn two, winning 83% of the time. 203 tries have been scored by New Zealand at the ground.
Entry to the open day is by gold coin donation.”