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Basin Reserve stand finally being strengthened

The historic Museum Stand at Wellington's Basin Reserve is finally being strengthened after it was deemed earthquake-prone and closed in 2012.

NZ v Australia - Basin Reserve, Wellington – 1977. National Publicity Studios Photo - Archives NZ

If all goes to plan, the 1000 seat stand will reopen next February in time for a test match against India.

Touted by some as the country's premier cricket ground, the Basin Reserve has been hosting games since the late 1860s.

But when the 95-year old Museum Stand was yellow-stickered and closed in 2012, "it's just sat there, and no one's allowed in it and it's looked rather forlorn," former player John Morrison said.

Mr Morrison played for Wellington for 18 years, has been on the Basin Reserve Trust, was a city councillor, and is now a life member of Cricket Wellington.

He said it was great the scaffolding was up, with Armstrong Downes selected to do the work.

"The Indian test is scheduled for later in the summer coming up and that'll be a great occasion. Hopefully, it'll be all ready and we can get into the stand," he said.

He hoped that would help "the Basin Reserve retain - or regain - its position as the leading cricket ground in the country".

A Basin Reserve Trust member and Wellington City councillor Fleur Fitzsimons said the work would be done in two parts: the first was to strengthen the stand, so it was ready for spectators by early next year; the second was to refurbish the rest of the building, which includes the Cricket Museum, and that should be complete by June 2020.

"The Basin Reserve is a really treasured venue for cricket and it's an iconic Wellington building. So this work on the Museum Stand is absolutely critical to get it back to its former glory as a picturesque building that plays a really important role in New Zealand cricket and cricket worldwide," she said.

Save the Basin co-convenor Tim Jones - who is also a big cricket fan - was very pleased work had begun.

"The weather at the Basin, regrettably, isn't always perfect and having somewhere to sit that's a little bit out of the wind and rain, [but] also provides an elevated view of the ground [which] is really good," Mr Jones said.

The work on the category two historic building is expected to cost nearly $8 million, restoring the facade and returning the main staircase and entrance to their original positions.

Last year, the engineers behind the project said if the building was well-maintained, it should last another 50 years.

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