Eden Park is New Zealand's largest sports stadium. Located 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. Although used primarily for rugby union in winter and cricket in summer, it has hosted rugby league and football matches. In 2011 it hosted pool games, two quarter-finals, both semi-finals and the final of 2011 Rugby World Cup. 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 was a venue for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, which was jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Eden Park is considered one of rugby union's most difficult assignments for visiting sides: New Zealand's national rugby union team, the All Blacks, have been unbeaten at this venue for over 40 consecutive test matches stretching back to 1994. Eden Park is the site of the 2021 Te Matatini.
|Location||Kingsland, Auckland, New Zealand|
|Owner||Eden Park Trust Board|
|Operator||Eden Park Trust Board|
|Capacity||50,000 (Rugby union and league - with standard seating)|
|Record attendance||61,240 (New Zealand vs South Africa, 1 September 1956)|
|Architect||HOK Sports, now Populous (reconstruction)|
Auckland Aces (1903–present)
NZ Warriors (2011–2014)
NRL Auckland Nines (2014–2017)
|First Test||14–17 February 1930:|
|Last Test||22–26 March 2018:|
|First ODI||22 February 1976:|
|Last ODI||4 March 2017:|
|First T20I||17 February 2005:|
|Last T20I||10 November 2019:|
|First women's Test||26–29 March 1949:|
|Last women's Test||27–29 December 1957:|
|First WODI||20 January 1988:|
|Last WODI||17 February 2000:|
|Only WT20I||22 February 2012:|
|As of 10 November 2019|
Eden Park has been a sports ground since 1900. The park began as a cricket ground in 1903, and was due to the vision of one Harry Ryan, a cricket enthusiast who approached landowner John Walters to lease part of his land as a sports field. In the book Eden Park: A History, the authors write, "Certainly the rough paddock strewn with stones, studded with outcrops of rock and streaked with cowpats, falling away to a boggy trough that filled in a downpour and remained flooded throughout the winter, looked better suited to frog-hunting or duck-shooting than cricket, let alone rugby. Ryan knew or at least imagined better." That bit of land was in fact located just up the road from Cabbage Tree Swamp, now Gribblehirst Park.
Those who saw Ryan's vision as madness most likely felt vindicated when, in 1907, massive downpours of rain saw the ground submerged in water for a week. The same thing happened again later in the year. Drainage problems were a scourge even as late as 1975 when severe rain before the one-off test between the All Blacks and Scotland saw the event close to being called off with the drainage system unable to cope with the flooding.
In 1913 the park was leased to the Auckland Rugby Union so it became both a summer and winter sporting venue, and in 1921 hosted the first international event, a NZ v South Africa Test. The Western part of the ground was just open space until 1950 when a temporary stand was erected for the British Empire Games. In 1956 a permanent stand was built, but subsequently moved to North Harbour Stadium.
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.
Eden Park has hosted events over the years from the 1950 Empire Games, the Queen Mother's visit in 1966, the infamous flour bombing test at the NZ v South Africa rugby game, to the Dalai Lama visit in 2002.
In 1996, the Auckland Blues began playing at the ground, with the inaugural Super 12 final held at the ground, the home side defeating the Natal Sharks in the match. Three subsequent finals have been held at the ground.
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 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 2011 Rugby World Cup
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 Blues in Super Rugby and Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup. The ground regularly hosts All Blacks rugby union test matches. Auckland first used the ground in the 1913 season, and the first international fixture was against South Africa in 1921. The Auckland Blues have used the ground since their foundation in 1996.
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.
In late 2015, the ground also hosted a public memorial for legendary All Black wing Jonah Lomu after he died at the age of 40.
Eden Park is the home ground for the Auckland cricket team. The ground regularly hosts international fixtures, including Tests, ODIs and Twenty20 Internationals, while the Outer Oval also hosts WODIs, domestic List A and Twenty20 games.
It first hosted a test in 1930. The ground was also the host to New Zealand's first Test victory, against West Indies in 1955–56 season. It has also been the scene of a dark day in New Zealand's cricket history when on 28 March 1955, the hosts collapsed to their lowest Test score (26 all out) against England. It is scheduled to host three day-night test matches in March 2018, March 2019 and February 2020.
The ground hosted four matches during the 1992 Cricket World Cup including the semi-final between New Zealand and Pakistan, which Pakistan won by four wickets en route to winning the tournament after Inzamam-ul-Haq’s 60 off 37 in reply to Black Caps captain Martin Crowe’s 91. It also hosted four matches during the 2015 Cricket World Cup, which was co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. The matches played included two pool B games and the pool A clash between co-hosts New Zealand and Australia, which New Zealand won by one wicket via Kane Williamson’s six off Pat Cummins with 6 required after Mitchell Starc had taken 6 wickets in reply to Trent Boult’s 5. It also hosted the first semifinal between New Zealand and South Africa, which New Zealand won off the penultimate ball with another six – this time by Grant Elliott off Dale Steyn – to advance to their first Cricket World Cup final.
In 2018, Eden Park hosted the first day-night test in New Zealand, against England.England were bowled out for 58 in the 1st innings. It took New Zealand only 20.4 overs to dismiss England on the first day of the test match. Trent Boult and Tim Southee took 6 and 4 wickets each and bowled unchanged throughout the 20.4 overs. No other bowler was required to bowl. This was just the 4th instance that only 2 bowlers were required to dismiss the opposition since 1920. Five England players were dismissed for a duck. Trent Boult (6/32) picked his career best figures in test cricket. This was his 2nd 5 wicket haul at Eden Park and his 2nd consecutive 5 wicket haul in day night test cricket, the first one against Australia in Adelaide in 2015 which was the inaugural day night test.
The highest total set by a team here in Test cricket was by the South African national cricket team against the New Zealand national cricket team when they scored 621/5 dec on 27 Feb 1999. The most runs scored in this ground have been by John Wright (1060 runs), Martin Crowe (712 runs) and Nathan Astle (649 runs). The most wickets have been taken by Richard Hadlee- 45 wickets followed by Chris Cairns-35 wickets and Richard Collinge-29 wickets.
In ODI cricket, the highest total has been set by New Zealand national cricket team against the Australian national cricket team when they scored 340/5 on 18 Feb 2007. The most runs scored in this ground have been by Martin Guptill (739 runs), Martin Crowe (719 runs) and Nathan Astle (705 runs). The most wickets have been taken by Chris Cairns-33 wickets, followed by Chris Martin- 28 wickets.
In May 2018, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said that the ground is no longer cost-effective or financially viable to host cricket matches, and that they were looking at hosting fixtures at the Western Springs Stadium instead.
The ground is also where Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar made his debut as an ODI opener. Ahead of the second ODI of the New Zealand-India series at the ground in March 1994, regular opener Navjot Sidhu was ruled out with a stiff neck, opening the way for the 21-year-old Tendulkar’s promotion. He made 82 off just 49 balls against to steer India to a 7-wicket victory.
World Cup matches
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. This also sees Eden Park (as of 2018) as the only venue to host the World Cup Final for both rugby codes. In a spiteful match in which the New Zealand national rugby league team 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.
In 2013 a new faster format of rugby league was announced that it would be held at Eden Park. In 15–16 February 2014, Eden Park held the first ever NRL Auckland Nines tournament.
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.
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