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|Garden of Eden|
Eden Park viewed from Mount Eden prior to redevelopment
|Location||Kingsland, Auckland, New Zealand|
|Owner||Eden Park Trust Board|
|Operator||Eden Park Trust Board|
|Blues (Super Rugby)
Auckland (ITM Cup)
Auckland Aces (Domestic cricket)
Eden Park is New Zealand's largest stadium. In central Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, it is three kilometres southwest of the CBD, on the boundary between the suburbs of Mount Eden and Kingsland. Its rich sporting and social history and its international profile are unmatched by any other stadium in the country. Although used primarily for rugby union in winter and cricket in summer, recently it has hosted rugby league and soccer matches. In 2011 it hosted pool games, two quarter-finals, both semi-finals and the final of Rugby World Cup 2011. In doing so it became the first stadium in the world to host two Rugby World Cup Finals, having held the inaugural final in 1987. It has been selected as a venue for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, which will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Eden Park has been a sports ground since 1900. It began as a swamp, but by 1914 the ground had been drained and turned into two ovals. It was exclusively a cricket ground in its early years, known as the Kingsland Cricket Ground and, after a merger with the Eden Cricket Club, the Eden Cricket Ground. The name ‘Eden Park’ settled into general usage around 1912, soon after it had been taken over by the Auckland Cricket Association (which was founded in 1883). Still the home of Auckland Cricket, Eden Park has hosted many international Tests, One Day International and Twenty/20 cricket matches.
Rugby arrived in 1913 when, after negotiations with the Auckland Cricket Association, Auckland Rugby was granted a 21-year lease for games during the winter season. The first rugby test was held on 27 August 1921, when the Springboks beat the All Blacks 5–9 before a crowd of 40,000. The Auckland Rugby Football Union officially made Eden Park its home in 1925.
In 1926 a Trust was set up to manage Eden Park primarily for the benefit of Auckland Cricket and Auckland Rugby. The Trust still manages the Park.
The ground is not simply a venue for rugby and cricket matches – as well as the occasional soccer, league and hockey internationals, plus major track and field events like the 1950 British Empire Games, Eden Park has been the stage for British royalty, Russian gymnasts and the Dalai Lama.
Chronology of Major Happenings
1900-11 Eden Park was established as a cricket ground with the Kingsland Cricket Club renting land close to what is now Sandringham Road. Subsequently the Eden Cricket Club purchased a plot of land in the area and progressively developed it as a cricket ground. The area was affectionately known in some circles as the “the pond” because of its propensity to flood after heavy rain. Major drains were cut during this early period.
1911 The Auckland Cricket Association (ACA) purchased the land from the Eden Cricket Club, supported by the personal guarantees of a number of well-known Auckland businessman.
1913 Rugby union's longstanding association with the ground was established when the Auckland Rugby Football Union (ARFU) was granted a 21-year lease to use the ground for games during the winter. A grandstand with a capacity of 3,000 was funded by the ARFU.
1914 The first international cricket match was held, with Auckland hosting Australia. The first rugby union match was contested between Ponsonby and City. Later that season, Auckland hosted Canterbury in the ground's inaugural first-class rugby match.
1926 A trust was established, providing beneficial ownership of the ground for the ACA and ARFU. The management of the ground shifted to a Board of Control comprising members from the ACA and ARFU.
1930 The ground hosted its inaugural British and Irish Lions matches as part of the 1930 British Lions tour to New Zealand and Australia. Matches were held against Auckland and New Zealand sides, both won by the home sides with an attendance of 45,000 at the latter. Development work commenced on the terraces and embankment.
1937 The ground hosted its second international rugby union match between New Zealand and South Africa. New Zealand won 17 - 6 before a then-record crowd of 58,000.
1950 The opening ceremony and athletic events of the 1950 British Empire Games were held at the ground.
1955 New Zealand hosted England in the second test match of their 1954–55 Tour of New Zealand. New Zealand are dismissed for 26 in their second innings, the lowest score in test cricket history. The New Zealand Parliament passed the Eden Park Trust Act, enshrining the governance structure of the park until 2009.
1956 The West Stand was completed. New Zealand won its first cricket test match against the West Indies as part of the 1955-56 West Indies Tour of New Zealand. The ground hosted its third rugby international between New Zealand and South Africa. New Zealand won 11 - 5 before a record crowd of 63,000.
1957 The ground hosted its first trans-national soccer match, with an Auckland XI against FK Austria Wien.
1958 The South Stand, with a capacity of 10,000, was completed. It was demolished in 2009.
1959 The British and Irish Lions returned for the third time in the 1959 British Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand with matches against Auckland and New Zealand. The visitors win both, their first test match win at the ground.
1964 The North Stand, with a capacity of 9,000, was completed in the area formerly occupied by the embankment.
1966 The development of Eastern terraces commenced, with work continuing until 1972.
1972 First class cricket matches commenced on the Number two ground (outer oval).
1974 New Zealand hosted Australia in the first cricket test match between the two nations as part of the Australian tour of New Zealand. A visit and display were held by touring Russian gymnasts, including Olga Korbut.
1981 The infamous “flour bomb” rugby test between New Zealand and South Africa was held as part of the 1981 Springbok Tour. New Zealand won by 25 - 22. A light plane dropped flour bombs on the playing surface whilst the match was being played.
1982 The ground hosted a One Day International between New Zealand and Australia as part of the 1981-82 Australia Tour of New Zealand. The attendance of 43,000 was a then-record for a cricket game in New Zealand. The match was notable for Australian batsman Greg Chappell dealing with an on ground streaker with his bat. An indoor cricket facility and stand were built next to the outer oval.
1989 The South Stand is modified with a cantilever structure added in order to accommodate additional corporate boxes.
1991 The West Stand was completed, with 4,200 seats. The South West stand, including additional corporate boxes, was completed. The capacity of the ground was at 47,000.
1993 Major work was undertaken to improve the playing surface by sand slitting.
1996 The new Auckland Blues began to play. The ground hosted the inaugural Super 12 final, with the Auckland Blues defeating the Natal Sharks 45 - 21 before a crowd of 46,000. The ground hosted Super 12 finals in 1997, 1998 and 2003.
1999 The North Stand was replaced by the ASB Stand. Resource consent for the use of lights permitted night matches.
2002 The ground hosted its first rugby test between New Zealand and Ireland as part of the 2002 Ireland Tour of New Zealand. New Zealand won 40 - 8. The Hall of Legends opened for tours. Portable cricket pitch technology was introduced.
2003 The playing surface on the main oval was completely overhauled with the introduction of “Motz” turf.
2007 The ground was confirmed by the New Zealand Government as the venue for the final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, committing significant funding for the necessary redevelopment.
2008 Redevelopment of the stadium for the 2011 Rugby World Cup commenced.
2010 The redeveloped stadium was officially opened by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on 10 October. The first event was a Rugby League Four Nations double header, including matches between England and Papua New Guinea, and Australia and New Zealand.
2011 The 2011 Rugby World Cup commenceed on 9 September, with New Zealand defeating Tonga 41 - 10 before a crowd of 60,214. In addition to the opening ceremony and match, five pool games, two quarter-finals, both semi-finals and the final are held at Eden Park, with a cumulative attendance of more than 600,000. New Zealand defeated France 8 - 7 before a crowd of 61,079. The ground hosted its first game of professional football, with the Wellington Phoenix hosting Adelaide United before a crowd of 20,078.
The $256 million redevelopment completed in October 2010 provided a permanent capacity of 50,000 with a further 10,000 temporary seats for the 2011 Rugby World Cup games. This is the largest of any New Zealand sports arena. There are no standing areas. Temporary seating in front of the North Stand and the West Stand (usually only used for international rugby matches) is required for the capacity to be reached. Due to sight-screens and the larger area required for cricket matches, cricket capacity is smaller.
The redevelopment project included a three-tier South stand replacing the old South and West stands, with a capacity of 24,000, and a three-tier East replacing the Terraces. The number of covered seats increased from 23,000 to 38,000. The redeveloped Eden Park has an internal concourse that allows people to circulate around the grounds inside the stadium, and world-class facilities, including food and beverage outlets, toilets and corporate areas, were incorporated. The open plan approach to the design and establishment of a community centre and green space, and the removal of the perimeter fence, mean that the stadium has become more publicly accessible and a part of the neighbourhood.
There were public concerns about the height of the new structure and its shading effect on many nearby houses. Auckland City Council received 470 submissions on the resource consent application, over 300 of which were in favour of the redevelopment. On 26 January 2007, Eden Park received resource consent with 91 conditions were imposed. The consent permitted the building of new stands in place of the terraces and south stand, but did not include consent for the NZ$ 385 million 'full option', which would have included covered seating.
Possible alternative stadium for the RWC
In September 2006 it was announced that instead of Eden Park, the Government and Auckland City Council were assessing the possibility of a new stadium on Auckland's waterfront to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup. This assessment was part of the Government's formal due diligence process on the decision to redevelop Eden Park. The Government had said it would assist with the funding if a new stadium was built.
The Government announced in a report in November 2006 that it would favour a new stadium on the Auckland waterfront, which would have meant that the Eden Park redevelopment would not have gone ahead, and that options for its use or redevelopment would have to be developed.
After the Auckland City Council and the Auckland Regional Council differed in their support for the new stadium, the Government changed to supporting the redevelopment of Eden Park, subject to suitable resolution of the design, funding and governance issues.
Eden Park is the home ground for the Auckland ITM Cup Team and the Auckland Blues, the region's Super Rugby franchise. The ground regularly hosts All Blacks tests. Auckland Rugby first used the ground in the 1913 season and the first international fixture was against South Africa in 1921.
The final game of the 1981 Springbok Tour was played at Eden Park. A low-flying Cessna 172 piloted by Marx Jones and Grant Cole dropped flour bombs on the field as part of widespread protests against the tour and apartheid.
Eden Park was used in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup and the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the first ground to host two Rugby World Cup finals. The four teams that reached the semi-finals in 2011 were the same teams that reached the semi-finals in 1987, and the third-place and final matches consist of the same national teams as in 1987; New Zealand won both tournaments.
Eden Park is the home ground for the Auckland cricket team. The ground regularly hosts international fixtures. It first hosted a test in 1930.
The ground hosted matches during the 1992 Cricket World Cup and it has will host matches during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, which will jointly be hosted by Australia and New Zealand. It will host one of the semi finals.
New Zealand v England ODI in 2013, panorama looking south-west
The biggest rugby league game played at Eden Park was the 1988 World Cup Final played on 9 October, giving the venue the distinction of hosting the Union and League World Cup Finals in consecutive years, the only venue to ever do so. In a spiteful match in which the New Zealand Kiwis seemed more intent on dishing out punishment than playing football, the Wally Lewis-led Australians defeated the home side 25-12 after leading 25-0 early in the second half. The game was played in front of a record New Zealand rugby league attendance of 47,363 (only 672 less than attended the 1987 Rugby WCF between the All Blacks and France 16 months earlier). Australia had won the right to host the final, but as international crowds in Australia had been dwindling in recent years due to the Kangaroos dominance (only 15,944 had attended the dead-rubber Ashes series test between Australia and Great Britain at the Sydney Football Stadium three months earlier), the Australian Rugby League agreed to New Zealand hosting the game in the interests of promoting international rugby league. Their efforts were rewarded with the largest World Cup Final attendance since 1968, when 54,290 saw Australia defeat France at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Eden Park hosted two matches (a double header) in the 2010 Rugby League Four Nations on 6 November. In the early game, England defeated Papua New Guinea 36-10, with Australia defeating New Zealand 34-20 in the second game. The fixture attracted 44,324 fans. The New Zealand Warriors played the Parramatta Eels in their first NRL match at Eden Park to start the 2011 NRL season in front of a crowd of 38,405 with Parramatta winning 24-18. The Warriors played their first home match of the 2012 season against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in a 2011 NRL Grand Final replay, with Manly winning 26-20 in front of 37,502. The 2012 ANZAC Test between Australia and New Zealand was played at Eden Park, with the Kangaroos winning 20-12 in front of 35,329. The Warriors played the Sydney Roosters in Round 2 of the 2013 NRL season, going down 16-14 in front of 32,740.
Eden Park has hosted three New Zealand national team games; friendlies against South Africa and FK Austria Wien in 1947 and 1957 respectively, and an Olympic qualifier against Israel for the Seoul Olympics in 1988. They were defeated in all three games.
On 19 November 2011, Eden Park hosted its first game of professional club football. The A-League regular season fixture between Wellington Phoenix and Adelaide United resulted in a 1–1 draw. The game attracted 20,078, a new attendance record for the Phoenix. The Phoenix returned to Eden Park on 2 February 2013 against long-distance rivals Perth Glory, drawing a crowd of 11,566 to see them win 1-0.
- 1985–1988 Rugby League World Cup
- 1987 Rugby World Cup
- 2011 Rugby World Cup
- List of Test cricket grounds
- List of international cricket centuries at Eden Park
- "Garden of Eden to make us proud". Rugby Heaven. 6 April 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- Warriors to play three games at Eden Park. 3 News NZ. 2 October 2013.
- Satherley, Dan (18 February 2013). "Mayor defends Eden Park deal". 3 News NZ.
- "Council votes to accept Eden Park 'gift'". NZ Herald. 15 February 2013.
- Ihaka, James (9 September 2010). "Stadium has World Cup experience wrapped up". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- "Frequwntly Asked Questions". Eden Park.
- Orsman, Bernard (27 January 2007). "Eden Park upgrade takes step ahead". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
- "It's Eden Park says disappointed Mallard". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. 27 November 2006. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- Michael Burgess Soccer back on Eden turf, The New Zealand Herald, 13 November 2011. Retrieved on 13 November 2011.
- "Massive crowd turns out for Phoenix match". TVNZ. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- "WELLINGTON PHOENIX V PERTH GLORY". Eden Park. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- "Wellington Phoenix vs Perth Glory". SBS. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
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