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Repairs to the West Stand and upgrades to the main pitch and its lighting will be complete by late 2021, after which the venue will be able to host events, including 2022 NPC fixtures, with one stand open to the public
The old East Stand will be demolished by the end of the year, and the design of its replacement finalised. Contruction will take place in 2022 and 2023, with the redevelopment totally complete in February 2024.
The redeveloped Yarrow Stadium will feature:
- A redesigned and rebuilt East Stand with more space for events such as conferences and trade exhibitions, and flexible and scalable seating capacity. The aim is for capacity at top-level sporting fixtures to at least equal that of the old stadium.
- East Stand facilities (toilets, showers, changing rooms, food and beverage areas) available to users of the outer fields without needing to open up the entire stand or stadium.
- A new hybrid main pitch that will last longer than natural turf and take less time to recover after fixtures.
- Upgraded LED lighting for the main pitch, replacing the current lighting which is beyond the end of its life.
The ‘East Stand, West Stand’ names have been adopted for the redevelopment project to give external contractors and consultants clarity, as some will not be familiar with the venue.
You would have known the East Stand as the TSB Stand, and the West Stand as the Noel and Melva Yarrow Stand.
Before the closure of the stands, Yarrow Stadium had hosted NRL league games, FIFA Under-20 World Cup and Phoenix football matches, T20 cricket fixtures and extreme motorsport exhibition events. These have had a total estimated attendance of 130,000 people.
Attendance at non-sport events – conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, conventions, corporate functions, weddings and community events – rose from 16,397 in 2014/15 to 33,310 in 2016/17. There were 51 functions, conferences, expos and community events in 2014/15 and the number more than doubled to 128 in 2016/17. This growth is expected to continue.
During public consultation leading up to the decision to redevelop the venue, the Council was told some groups faced difficulties trying to make arrangements to host events at the facility. The Council is working with the Stadium operator, NPDC, to make use of the venue easier so that it brings the community together.
Rugby is the Stadium’s major rent-paying tenant. Without it, the region would struggle to establish and maintain a facility like this. The Stadium can’t succeed without rugby. Rugby remains important to Taranaki people – the region has the nation’s highest rugby engagement rate of any region in New Zealand.
A Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) report in 2018 analysed the Stadium’s value to the Taranaki community. Download the report here:
The project is costing Taranaki ratepayers $30 million. The redevelopment will cost $50 million in total, of which the Government is paying $20 million with a ‘shovel-ready’ COVID recovery grant.
The Council is firmly committed to keeping the total redevelopment cost capped at $50 million. If necessary, some minor elements of the upgrade, such as improvements to car parks, entranceways and wayfinding signage, will be cancelled or deferred to ensure the overall project meets budget.
Putting the project on hold during the winter of 2020 gave us an opportunity to review our approach to the project and consult stakeholders about the impacts of COVID-19. And with the East Stand to be rebuilt rather than repaired, we’ve been able to make, important changes to ensure the venue will meet foreseeable needs and demands.
The replacement stand is being designed to cater for a broader range of events, both sporting and non-sporting. In particular, it will be well suited to host trade shows, lifestyle expos and the like. This will take the pressure off other facilities, notably the TSB Stadium.
The new stand’s facilities will also be available to users of the outer fields, making the venue a more attractive proposition for local users. And there’ll be the ability to scale up the capacity temporarily to cater for top level national and international events. These will return, in due course.
The Stadium has been of enormous economic value to Taranaki – as borne out in an economic impact analysis by Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) in 2018.
The TRC is working closely with NPDC, Sport Taranaki and other stakeholders to ensure the revamped and remodelled Yarrow Stadium complements the existing and planned range of venues in New Plymouth and the region. A joint group at governance level is keeping an eye on the Stadium project, the Pukekura Raceway proposal and developments at Pukekura Park, there will be synergies and no unnecessary duplication.
One of the benefits of a more versatile East Stand is that it will be a more attractive venue for lifestyle expos, trade shows and the like, which will take the pressure off existing sporting venues such as TSB Stadium, allowing more consistent use by the appropriate codes.
Sport Taranaki statement: Yarrow Stadium plans will strengthen sporting network(external link)
Realigning the main pitch to make it suitable for men's international cricket would affect the location of the new East Stand, and impact on the use of Field 2. Top-tier cricket fixtures are generally on grounds that are exclusively used by the code rather than multi-purpose venues (apart from T20 and one-day fixtures at venues serving large population catchments, such as Auckland's Eden Park or Wellington's Sky Stadium).
The Taranaki Daily News has published interesting background features on cricket and Yarrow Stadium:
The Council and the Taranaki Stadium Trust have thoroughly investigated liability issues. The relevant legislation imposes strict time limits on such claims, so there is little or no prospect of financial compensation.
Nor can there be an insurance payout. The stands were not closed because of actual damage that has occurred, so there is no basis to claim damage insurance. The stands have been closed because they were found to be prone to severe damage in an earthquake, which would threaten the lives of any spectators or staff using them at the time.
- The best regional stadium in New Zealand that regularly hosts local, regional, national, and international sports and entertainment events.
- A stadium for both major events and community events and the premier outdoor fields for team sports codes.
- A stadium that is loved by sports fans and the local community.
- A stadium that is a quality experience for event promoters, participants and spectators, which is achieved through superior hospitality and event facilities, efficient and effective management, accessibility, flexibility and innovation.
This vision statement was amended in October 2020 to affirm the Stadium’s usefulness for local events alongside regional, national and international events, sporting or non-sporting.