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End of an era for Eden Park

29 July 2008


End of an era for Eden Park



A capacity crowd will celebrate the end of an era for Auckland’s much-loved Eden Park stadium at the Bledisloe Cup match on Saturday 2nd August. The following day a precisely-co-ordinated salvage operation will swing into action before demolition of the South Stand commences five days later to make way for redevelopment of the stadium for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

“We’re looking forward to a great night to farewell the old stand,” says Eden Park Operations Manager, John Strawbridge. “The Bledisloe Cup is always one of the biggest events on our calendar and this one is especially significant – it’s a chance to remember all the great matches and all the great players we’ve seen since the stand was built.”

As the man in charge of making sure that the final night at the ‘old’ park runs smoothly, John is juggling a major logistical operation - with 48,000 fans expected at the game – and the salvage operation beginning first thing the next morning.

As part of that operation, plastic seats from the South Stand will be gifted to New Zealand Rowing for use at Karapiro while Counties Manukau Rugby will receive lights from the stadium.

Keen sports memorabilia collectors have already snapped up signage and other park mementos in an online auction.


Click for big version

Eden Park swamp circa 1900

*****

Eden Park remains open and operational throughout the entire redevelopment period, with Ranfurly Shield and Air New Zealand Cup matches scheduled from August through to October.

Opened in 1959, the South Stand is home to season ticket holders, corporate boxes and media – as well as team changing rooms and that famous tunnel. It has provided an iconic backdrop to some of New Zealand’s most memorable sporting moments, including the 1987 World Cup victory and the infamous ‘flour bombing’ incident during the Springbok tour of 1981. It has also played host to a number of non-sporting events, such as a visit from the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1983, the Dalai Lama in 2002, and a Donny and Marie Osmond concert in 1975.



Click for big version

Empire-Games 1950

*****

The South Stand has witnessed massive changes in New Zealand sport, and in the country as a whole. In the early 1960s, you could buy a 20 year ticket to the stand for just £100 and by the late 1980s, corporate boxes were on sale. The 1987 stock market crash didn’t slow things down, with NZ corporates keen to be a part of the golden age of Ranfurly Shield rugby and Auckland dominance.

When the final whistle blows on Saturday night it will signal the end of an era – and the start of an exciting new one for Eden Park.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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