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Maori Blessing Launches Eden Park Reconstruction

Maori Blessing Formally Launches Eden Park Reconstruction

Prime Minister Helen Clark congratulated the Eden Park redevelopment team for meeting its Rugby World Cup deadlines at a formal Maori blessing for the project today.

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Chairman of the Eden Park Redevelopment Board John Waller (left) with Prime Minister Helen Clark and Ngati Whatua o Orakei chairman Grant Hawke after the formal launch of the redevelopment today.

Ngati Whatua o Orakei chairman Grant Hawke and trustee Cyril Talbot formally launched the $240.5 million Eden Park redevelopment project with a mihi, karakia and hymn. The old South Stand will be demolished after the Bledisloe Cup on August 2 and construction will be underway before Christmas.

Ms Clark said the start of reconstruction was a big step forward for Eden Park coming a little over two years after she had formed part of the successful New Zealand team that bid for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The redeveloped Eden Park will hold 60,000 people and will host the semis and final. The theme for New Zealand’s bid had been “a stadium of 4 million rugby fans” and when the games kick off in three years time rugby fever would extend from one end of the country to the other.

Ms Clark mentioned that during heavy rain at last year’s Bledisloe Cup the old stand sprang a number of leaks and she joked that after this experience the new stand couldn’t come quickly enough.

Thousands of people took advantage of a free community open day with queues of people lined up when the gates opened at 10am.

Tours of the South Stand, plans and a model of the new look park were available inside, while schoolboy and girl rugby and soccer and a secondary schools league versus rugby goal kicking shootout provided entertainment on the pitch.


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