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A panoramic view of Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night. Photos: Peter McIntosh
Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo: Peter McIntosh
A reduced-capacity covered stadium in Christchurch may allow Dunedin to pitch itself as the home of the premier stadium in the South Island.

Aaron Hawkins
Aaron Hawkins
Indeed, whatever ends up happening in Christchurch, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins already backs Forsyth Barr Stadium.

"There’s no doubt about it — Forsyth Barr Stadium is the best test rugby venue in the country," he said.

"The building is a big part of that, but it’s also the way the entire city gets behind big events in Dunedin."

Christchurch is to press ahead with a stadium plan seating at least 25,000 people after most city councillors there decided a trim was necessary, because a 30,000-seat design could have put the project over budget by up to $131.4million.

Capacity could be pushed up to 27,500 if the designers can find sufficient cost savings.

Christchurch’s previous stadium, Lancaster Park, was damaged beyond repair by the February 2011 earthquake. The city has been making do with Orangetheory Stadium, which can seat more than 18,000 people.

The new stadium is expected to be of sufficient size for most sporting events, but possibly not major rugby test matches or one-off events.

Forsyth Barr Stadium — due to host the 100th test between the All Blacks and South Africa in September — has capacity for 30,748 spectators, or 36,000 for concerts.

Mr Hawkins said the pitch was the best playing surface in the country, largely because of the control that could be exercised in managing the covered turf.

Another factor potentially influencing the events industry is that, of New Zealand’s main centres, Dunedin has the highest proportion of young people and the city is home to about 25,000 university and polytechnic students.

Mr Hawkins avoided taking a dig at Christchurch, but was happy to talk up Dunedin as a great place for events.

"The energy of the tertiary precinct is absolutely part of it, but ultimately the atmosphere in Dunedin around big events is unparalleled.

"It’s a unique part of what we offer and we know it’s important to producers, whether they’re putting on international sports or stadium concerts."

Mr Hawkins said the success of events came down to much more than just the venue.

In Dunedin, the skills brought by the Dunedin Venues Management team were crucial.

Christchurch’s covered central stadium is due to be completed by the end of 2024.


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It's a financial black hole is what it is.

Funny how Hawkins would say that, when this current council under his leadership would never let it be built!!!

How much ratepayers money did it loose last year - 2 million dollars. On your bike Hawkins!

Now is there anyone he missed praising oh and the possibility/probability of being over budget never stopped our council.....remember Mr Harlens our "figures are robust" comment.

Come on people ... admit it, it's a beautiful stadium.

It was designed specifically to distract the ratepayers from all the other "infrastructure" that's been well overdue for upgrades and is costing millions more than it should.

It's a pretty good plan actually ... they paint some dots on the main street and everyone gets fired up over the wasted money, but behind the scenes, power prices have gone through the roof, power poles are falling over, and our elderly are suffering through minus degree winter temperatures, too scared to put the heater on because they know they can't afford it.

Don't think the word "priority" is in the vocabulary of anyone on council, or those "managers" of DCC owned companies that are being grossly overpaid for substandard work .... forget about the damn traffic islands, cycle lanes, walkways, art and everything else that is not considered an essential service, until such time as they are up to standard.

100% Correct.

Dunedin needs an actual Mayor, someone who actually has walked in the shoes of the voters in some way. Someone who understands that there are thousands of people who get up each morning and work really hard to feed their families and put a roof over their heads, because they have few choices. Someone who has some idea what it's like to swing a shovel in the bottom of a ditch in the rain, who stands at the counter all day dealing with every trivial gripe and complaint, who has stood in one place for 8+ hours and packed meat or fruit and vegetables, who has cleared the towns sewage pipes, who has everyday without fail driven our busy roads delivering product and people, dealt with the oral hygeine of the public, or bathed and cleaned them up when they can't. No REAL experience, no jot of an idea and not even a drivers license. how does someone come to be Mayor when he has no understanding of what life is really like for those who pay his salary? That bloody stadium has never turned a profit....PROFIT Hawkins, not jolly well funded, a bloody PROFIT. That's how the world works mate.....but hey, how's that stadium's the BEST!!! lol, what a croc.....

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