Tue 08 March 2022 | 20:29

Top facts about Eden Park, New Zealand’s Largest Stadium

Today we are going to talk about one of the oldest venues in the world which has been functional for 122 years now and has obviously a story of its own to tell us.

Eden Park is the largest sports stadium in New Zealand. It is three kilometers southwest of the CBD, on the border between the districts of Mount Eden and Kingsland, in central Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. It has held rugby league and association football matches, although being mostly utilized for rugby union in the winter and cricket in the summer.

It held pool games, two quarter-finals, both semi-finals, and the 2011 Rugby World Cup final. After hosting the initial final in 1987, it became the first venue in the world to host two Rugby World Cup Finals. It served as a site for Australia and New Zealand's joint hosting of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

For visiting teams, Eden Park is regarded as one of the most difficult grounds in rugby union. The All Blacks, New Zealand's national rugby union team, have won 46 consecutive test matches at this site dating back to 1994. The 2021 Te Matatini will be held at Eden Park. It will also host the 2021 Women's Cricket World Cup, the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup final, and the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup opening match.

The $256 million makeover, completed in October 2010, added 10,000 temporary seats for the 2011 Rugby World Cup games, bringing the total capacity to 50,000. This is the largest sports arena in New Zealand. There are no designated spaces for standing.

For the capacity to be reached, temporary seating in front of the North Stand and the West Stand (which is generally only utilized for international rugby matches) is required. Cricket capacity is smaller due to sight-screens and the wider area necessary for cricket matches. Eden Park had a capacity of 47,500 for rugby and 42,000 for cricket prior to reconstruction.

Top facts about Eden Park, Home to Rugby & Cricket Games in New Zealand

Stay tuned to know all you want to know about this venue.

Eden Park Hosting Rugby and Football Events

Eden Park is the home of the Super Rugby team Auckland Blues and the Mitre 10 Cup team Auckland. All Blacks rugby union test matches are held here on a regular basis.

The ground was originally used by Auckland in the 1913 season, and the first international match was in 1921 against South Africa. The ground has been utilized by the Auckland Blues since its formation in 1996.

Eden Park hosted the final game of the 1981 Springbok Tour. As part of numerous protests against the tour and apartheid, a low-flying Cessna 172 piloted by Marx Jones and Grant Cole dropped flour bombs on the field, one of the Top facts about Eden Park.

Eden Park hosted two Rugby World Cup finals, the first in 1987 and the second in 2011, both of which the All Blacks won against France, making it the first stadium to host two Rugby World Cup finals.

After famous All Black wing Jonah Lomu died at the age of 40 in late 2015, the ground organized a public memorial for him. The 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup, including the final, will be held there.

One of the Top facts about Eden Park is that the 1988 World Cup Final was the biggest rugby league game ever played at Eden Park, which gave the venue the distinction of hosting both the Union and League World Cup Finals in the same year.

Eden Park is also the only site to host the World Cup Finals for both rugby codes (as of 2018). The Wally Lewis-led Australians defeated the home side 25–12 after leading 25–0 early in the second half in a vengeful contest in which the New Zealand national rugby league team seemed more interested in inflicting pain than playing football.

The game drew a record 47,363 spectators in New Zealand rugby league history (only 672 less than attended the 1987 Rugby WCF between the All Blacks and France 16 months earlier).

The Australian Rugby League agreed to New Zealand hosting the game in the interests of promoting international rugby league, 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). 

Their efforts were rewarded with the highest World Cup Final crowd since 1968 when Australia defeated France at the Sydney Cricket Ground in front of 54,290 people, another one of the

Top facts about Eden Park.

On November 6, Eden Park hosted two games (a doubleheader) in the 2010 Rugby League Four Nations. England defeated Papua New Guinea 36–10 in the first game, while Australia defeated New Zealand 34–20 in the second.

The game drew 44,324 spectators. The New Zealand Warriors played the Parramatta Eels in their debut NRL match in front of a crowd of 38,405 at Eden Park to begin the 2011 NRL season, with Parramatta winning 24–18.

In front of 37,502 fans, the Warriors played their first home game of the 2012 season against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in a 2011 NRL Grand Final replay, which Manly won 26–20.

The ANZAC Test between Australia and New Zealand was held at Eden Park in 2012, with the Kangaroos winning 20–12 in front of 35,329 fans. In Round 2 of the 2013 NRL season, the Warriors lost 16–14 to the Sydney Roosters in front of 32,740 fans.

In 2013, it was announced that Eden Park would host a new faster format of rugby league. Eden Park hosted the first NRL Auckland Nines event on February 15–16, 2014.


New Zealand national team

games have taken place at Eden Park: friendlies against South Africa and FK Austria Wien in 1947 and 1957, respectively, and an Olympic qualification against Israel for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In all three games, they were defeated.

Eden Park staged its first professional club football match on November 19, 2011. The regular season match between

Wellington Phoenix

and Adelaide United ended in a 1–1 tie in the A-League.

The game had a crowd of 20,078, which was a new high for the Phoenix. The Phoenix returned to Eden Park on February 2, 2013, to face long-distance rivals Perth Glory, and won 1–0 in front of 11,566 fans.

Eden Park hosted West Ham United F.C. of the English Premier League on July 23, 2014.

West Ham United

was defeated 2–1 by Wellington Phoenix of the A-League.

The venue will host multiple FIFA Women's World Cup matches in 2023, including the opening match, one of the Top facts about Eden Park.

Eden Park Hosting Cricket Games

The Auckland cricket team plays its home games at Eden Park. The Outer Oval holds WODIs, domestic List A, and Twenty20 games in addition to international fixtures like Tests, ODIs, and Twenty20 Internationals.

It was the site of the first test in 1930. In the 1955–56 season, the ground saw New Zealand's first Test victory, against the West Indies.

One of the Top facts about Eden Park is that it was also the site of a gloomy day in New Zealand cricket history when the hosts were bowled out for their lowest Test score (26 all out) against England on March 28, 1955.

During the 1992 Cricket World Cup, the ground held four matches, including the semi-final between Pakistan and New Zealand, which Pakistan won by four wickets on route to winning the tournament following Inzamam-ul-Haq's 60 off 37 in response to Black Caps captain Martin Crowe's 91.

It also held four matches during Australia and New Zealand's co-hosting of the 2015 Cricket World Cup.

Two pool B games were played, as well as a pool A match between co-hosts New Zealand and Australia, which New Zealand won by one wicket thanks to Kane Williamson's six off Pat Cummins with six required after Mitchell Starc took six wickets in response to Trent Boult's 5.

It also held the first semifinal between New Zealand and South Africa, which New Zealand won with another six – this time by Grant Elliott off Dale Steyn – off the penultimate ball to go to their first Cricket World Cup final.

The first day-night test in New Zealand, against England, was held at Eden Park in 2018, another one of the Top facts about Eden Park. In the first innings, England was bowled out for 58.

On the opening day of the test match, New Zealand defeated England in just 20.4 overs. Trent Boult and Tim Southee both got six and four wickets while bowled unchanged for the entire 20.4 overs.

There was no need for anyone else to bowl. Since 1920, this was only the fourth time that only two bowlers were necessary to eliminate the opposition.

Five England players were sent off for a duck. Trent Boult's career-best stats in test cricket are 6/32.

This was his second five-wicket haul at Eden Park, and his second consecutive five-wicket haul in day-night test cricket, the first coming against Australia in Adelaide in the inaugural day-night test in 2015.

In Test cricket, the highest total set by a team was 621/5 dec by the South African national cricket team against the New Zealand national cricket team on February 27, 1999.

John Wright (1060 runs), Martin Crowe (712 runs), and Nathan Astle have made the most runs on this ground (649 runs).

Richard Hadlee has taken the most wickets with 45, followed by Chris Cairns with 35 and Richard Collinge with 29.

The highest ODI total was set by the New Zealand national cricket team against the Australian national cricket team on February 18, 2007, when they scored 340/5.

Martin Guptill (818 runs), Martin Crowe (719 runs), and Nathan Astle (705 runs) have scored the most runs on this ground. Chris Cairns (33 wickets) and Chris Harris (28 wickets) have taken the most wickets.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) announced in May 2018 that the ground is no longer cost-effective or commercially feasible for hosting cricket matches and that fixtures will instead be held at the Western Springs Stadium, one of the

Top facts about Eden Park.

The ground is also where Sachin Tendulkar, the famous Indian cricket player, made his ODI debut. Regular opener Navjot Singh Sidhu was ruled out of the second ODI of the New Zealand-India series at the venue in March 1994 due to a stiff neck, allowing the 21-year-old Tendulkar to be promoted.

He scored 82 runs off 49 balls to lead India to a 7-wicket victory. It will host the Women's Cricket World Cup in 2022.

Eden Park History

One of the Top facts about Eden Park is that the region where the stadium now exists was once swampland, nourished by lava caverns produced over 30,000 years ago by Maungawhau / Mount Eden and Mount Albert.

Tmaki Mori gathered food and resources in the swamp. In 1845, the area was purchased by Cornish farmer John Walters. Eden Park has been a sports ground since 1900.

The park began as a cricket field in 1903 and was due to the vision of one Harry Ryan, a cricket enthusiast who asked 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." Much early work on the cricket ground was needed, including clearing the stone walls that had been used to divide agriculture, and ongoing drainage concerns.

Those who viewed Ryan's vision as madness were likely vindicated when, in 1907, huge rainstorms submerged the ground for a week, another one of the Top facts about Eden Park. Later in the year, the same thing happened. 

The Eden District Cricket Club approached the Auckland Cricket Association in 1910 to take over the park because of the continuous upkeep expenditures.

By 1912, the land had been transferred from John Walters to the trustees of the cricket association, backed financially by a number of well-known Auckland businesspeople. The name 'Eden Park' became popular around 1912, shortly after the group took control of the property.

In 1913 the park was leased to the Auckland Rugby Football Union, becoming both a summer and winter athletic arena, with the union leasing the venue initially for 21 years. The union agreed to pay to build the park's first grandstand, established in 1913 to host an audience of 2,500, and later followed by a second members' stand built-in 1914.

In 1914, the first international cricket match was conducted, with Auckland hosting Australia. The first rugby match played at the venue was a seven-a-side series on 9 May 1914, and the first representative match was played on 5 September, against Wellington.

Drainage concerns ceased to be a regular issue for Kingsland and Eden Park in the 1920s, after which the park began to grow. The first rugby test was held on 27 August 1921, when South Africa beat New Zealand 5–9 before a crowd of 40,000.

The Auckland Rugby Football Union formally declared Eden Park its home in 1925, and in 1926, a trust was set up to oversee Eden Park primarily for the benefit of Auckland Cricket and Auckland Rugby.

Eden Park Upgrades and Reconstructions

The $256 million redevelopments completed in October 2010 offered a permanent capacity of 50,000 with a further 10,000 temporary seats for the 2011 Rugby World Cup games.

This is the biggest of any New Zealand sports arena, one of the

Top facts about Eden Park

. There are no standing spaces.

Temporary seating in front of the North Stand and the West Stand (typically only used for international rugby matches) is required for the capacity to be reached.

Due to sight-screens and the wider area necessary for cricket matches, cricket capacity is smaller. Prior to reconstruction, Eden Park had a crowd capacity of 47,500 for rugby and 42,000 for cricket.

The renovation project comprised 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 rose from 23,000 to 38,000. The reconstructed Eden Park has an indoor concourse that allows spectators to wander around the grounds inside the stadium, and world-class facilities, including food and beverage shops, bathrooms, and corporate areas, were added.

The open plan approach to the architecture and development of a community center and green space, plus the removal of the outer fence, means that the stadium has become more publically accessible and a part of the neighborhood.

There were widespread worries regarding the height of the new construction and its shade effect on several surrounding houses, another one of the Top facts about Eden Park. Auckland City Council received 470 submissions on the resource consent application, over 300 of which were in favor of the redevelopment.

On 26 January 2007, Eden Park gained resource permission with 91 conditions imposed. The consent enabled the development 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.

In September 2006, it was reported that instead of Eden Park, the Government and Auckland City Council were examining the prospect 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 procedure on the decision to renovate Eden Park. The Government had suggested it would assist with the funds if a new stadium was built.

The Government announced in a report in November 2006 that it would favor a new stadium on the Auckland waterfront, which would have meant that the Eden Park reconstruction would not have gone ahead and that options for its usage or redevelopment would have to be developed.

After the Auckland City Council and the Auckland Regional Council disagreed in their support for the new stadium, the Government converted to supporting the redevelopment of Eden Park, subject to satisfactory resolution of the design, financial, and governance challenges.

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source: SportMob

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