North Harbour Stadium

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North Harbour Stadium
The stadium from the south-east.
Locationbetween Coliseum Drive, Albany expressway, Don McKinnon Drive and Oteha Valley Road, Albany, Auckland
Coordinates36°43′38.29″S 174°42′8.85″E / 36.7273028°S 174.7024583°E / -36.7273028; 174.7024583
OwnerNorth Shore City Council
OperatorNorth Harbour Stadium trustees
Construction costNZ$41,000,000
1997 - present
1999 - present
2005 - 2007

North Harbour Stadium is a stadium situated in Albany on Auckland's North Shore in New Zealand. It was opened in 1997 after nearly a decade of discussion, planning and construction. Rugby and soccer (football) are the only sports played on the main ground, as it is strictly rectangular. The neighbouring oval plays host to the region's major cricket matches.


North Harbour Stadium is the home ground for one major sporting team:

It was the home ground for The New Zealand Knights, the one New Zealand soccer team in the otherwise all-Australian Hyundai A-League, from 2005 until their licence was revoked by the league at the completion of the 2006/2007 season.

It is also the venue of at least one Auckland Blues home game in the Super 14. It has hosted several rugby league internationals, and it has also hosted rugby internationals - typically the first All Blacks test each year. The New Zealand Warriors National Rugby League (NRL) team occasionally play warm-up matches at the ground.

Open-air concerts are occasionally held at the stadium, with The Corrs performing in 2001. Luciano Pavarotti performed recently, as did Roger Waters of Pink Floyd as a part of his Dark Side of the Moon tour.

Radio Control Car Racing is occasionally held in a racetrack next to one of the carparks.

Current Seating

North Harbour Stadium has four main seating areas with an official capacity of 25,000. 19,000 (76%) of this capacity is seated, and the other 6,000 are on grass embankments.

  • Main Grandstand — A futuristic looking structure with a distinctive arched roof. It has three main tiers of seating, as well as a row of corporate boxes and several corporate lounges. A total of 12,000 can be seated, mostly under the roof. This is on the southern side of the ground.
  • Open Stand — A single uncovered tier opposite the Main Grandstand that can seat 7,000.
  • Embankments — At either end (East/West) of the ground, there is a single-tier grass embankment with a capacity of 3,000 people. The scoreboard is at the Western End, while the replay screen is directly opposite.

The stadium is lit with four 45m tall light towers.

Rugby World Cup 2011

New Zealand won the Rugby World Cup 2011 hosting rights in 2005, prompting a debate a year later in late-2006 as to which stadium should be used to host the final. North Harbour Stadium was a contender, but Eden Park and Stadium New Zealand were considered by most to be the two main options with North Harbour as an outsider.

The stadium had many advantages, chief among which were its large 28-hectare site (eliminating the obstacle of resource consent) and relatively low construction cost (NZ$226M) and construction time compared to the other options.

Transport to-and-from the stadium was cited as a disadvantage by the government, due to the travel distances from the CBD (The Albany area is around a 10-20 minute drive from the Auckland city centre), and the stadium currently struggles with a post-match traffic bottleneck in the surrounding streets.

However, supporters of the stadium said that transport could be seen as an advantage because Albany was to benefit from two of the Auckland reigons biggest roading projects - the Northern Busway (providing express buses from Downtown Auckland to Albany), and the Western Ring Route which is planned to give those living in the South and West of Auckland an alternative route to Albany.

Historically, North Harbour Stadium has drawn poor crowds to provincial rugby, so critics of the stadium pointed out that after the tournament, the new seating would be rarely used.

Upgrade Plans

The IRB demands a 60,000 capacity stadium to be delivered for the RWC. The North Harbour plan consisted of an extra tier of seating at each end of the ground, with a new grandstand on the Northern side having a similar design to the existing Grandstand, but on a vastly larger scale.

RWC 2011 Reserve option

On November 27, upon announcing that Eden Park was the preferred venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup final, the New Zealand Government decided that North Harbour Stadium would be the reserve option. [1]

FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup 2008

North Harbour Stadium will host the final of the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in November 2008; other venues for the competition include Waikato Stadium (Hamilton), Westpac Stadium (Wellington) and Queen Elizabeth II Park (Christchurch).


External links

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