A New Eden


What do you think of the new multi-million dollar Eden Park revamp, three years in the making? Alex K comes away pleasantly surprised.

I have to admit I was sceptical about the opening of Eden Park.

Having been to a number of Auckland events over the last decade my experience of these has been less the stella.

Badly organised, amateur and way too much of the ‘number eight fencing wire’ philosophy left me leaving many with the feeling of a wasted opportunity and unfortunately my time. I had pretty much accepted that Auckland couldn’t do events very well. However, I went along regardless and I have to say I was wrong.

This time it was brilliant!

The event was well organised and professional and has to have been one of the best I have been too. There was a good crowd too - people wanted to see what we have built for the World Cup.

The organiser had done an excellent job of creating a fun, friendly and entertaining day, it was especially family-orientated which put smiles on the hundreds of kids that were in attendance. The food conviences where all open and prices where good - however, that may have been just for today as I asked if this was standard and the staff couldn’t confirm that.

There was also the usual mix of carnival stalls - popcorn, candy floss and the rest - but also lots of opportunity to meet sporting starts not just from Rugby but also Cricket and Netball. These different activities where scattered through the access wells behind the stands and let you wander the new stadium while taking in the fun.

And wander you could - you pretty much could go anywhere within the massive stadium - I even played with the huge commercial ovens in the large kitchen area in the bowels of the place. People were allowed access to the players changing rooms, media booths and cargo management spaces. It was an all-access pass and really let you get to see what has been done to the aging sports arena.

This stadium is world class - if there was any doubt that Auckland could put together first class facilities - this puts it to rest. Its modern, well designed and will do Auckland proud come this time next year. There are still things to be done like complete the Western stadium extension, a second jumbotron and the bits of the surrounding grounds still need to be landscaped but its all small stuff really.

The Prime Minister John Key opened the facility after brief words from the Eden Park Trust executive John Waller,  RWC minister Murray McCully and our new true Auckland mayor Len Brown.

There was a real excitement in the air - people I think came away feeling very positive about Auckland.

It might have just been the heady mix of a fresh architecture, loads of sports stars, a new supermayor and a smiling Prime Minister but I have to say I was also buoyed by the experience.

Even a skeptic like me thinks that exciting new things are afoot for Auckland!

What did you think?


Photos Inside Eden Park

Key, Brown open stadium

Video of South Stand




  1. Locals says:

    We live in Ethel St and have put up with a year of shocking disruption.
    Guess what. It was worth it when we wandered by today.
    This is world class. And great to hear the trains rumble past while sitting in the stand.
    I’m excited now about the rugby cup after dreading it.

  2. Jill says:

    From the photos it looks magnificent. Well done. At last something for Auckland to be proud of.

  3. Tim says:

    Great stadium, only let down with those blue seats on one side

  4. William Ross says:

    Wow you guys are fast! I havent even got there yet. May be I don’t need to. Your photos showed me all I wanted to see without battling to find a park..

  5. Joshua says:

    William Ross - Trains are a simple way of getting there, way easier than getting a park, more photo’s do appear on my blog to, just click my name.

    Tim, I actually kind of like the Blue Seats, reminds me of how Eden Park has a rich history in New Zealand Terms, and has developed One Stand at a time. I think it is good they have those Blue Seats however have heard comments from people who would like them replaced with grey.

    Would be interesting to see what people think.

  6. James B says:

    I went and it looks great. That southern stand is really tall. The east stand fits in will with the southern stand and will be allow for an easy extension of the southern stand round. The best feature was the concourse, finally you can walk aroung Eden Park 360 degrees. It will also provide a great basis for future extensions. The sight lines from all the seats I sat in were fantastic as well.

  7. Bring Back Buck says:

    We went by train and it was the best way to get there. Its going to work pretty well during the rugby cup I reckon.
    I enjoyed your views Alex. I agree its international class.
    Now we just need to win the cup.

  8. Alex K says:

    @James B - I agree the concourse is excellent and yes the sight lines from the seats are great, they all provided solid views from ones I tried out as well.

    @Bring Back Buck, @Joshua - The train will be a winner for getting in and out of the area. I drove today, mainly to see how traffic faired, although not really a true indicator for the actual match days - it was tedious - the roads where congested as cars and people were all coordinated ad hoc by traffic attendants - I wouldn’t want to be in that when its doubled or tripled!

  9. Suwooop says:

    The South Stand and the internal concourse was the only highlight for me. I’ll start liking Eden Park once the stadium is one day fully enclosed.

  10. Jon C says:

    @Tim They’re going to change the blue seating just before the RWC

  11. Sarah says:

    Thanks for the writeup and photos. Good photos. Better than anything we took. It was a special day. Thanks for recording it. There was as usual bugger all anywhere else.

  12. PB says:

    Great site, hot photos. I’ll send my m8s in the UK the link,. They’re hanging out to see the park b4 they come to RWC

  13. BrentP says:

    Train from Newmarket got me there in under 10mins. Access across Sandringham Rd was an issue today but once work has finished it will be a breeze.
    South Stand is fantastic - as good as stadia around the world.
    Big ups for the additional train services for the day.

  14. Henderson kid says:

    As someone said here, I like the way trains are a part of this. The signs around the stadium pointed to the train station & I heard and saw trains go by in the distance as I looked over the deck.
    Thanks for the coverage. I have something to show people now. My mob pxt suck compared to these.

  15. Sam says:

    the trains were great- ARTA did an excellent job. The 20 minute frequencies (10 between 3 and 4!) really surprised me when I looked up the timetable. I was surprised yet again that they were all 4 cars long, then once again that all the ones I caught (4 western line services today) were all pretty much full.

    It was quite obvious as we queued all the way from the train door to the stadium entrance that rail was the majority transport mode today- gives me a lot of hope for Aucklands future.

    This excellent level of service probably yet again did wonders for the reputation of our commuter rail network too- were there any incidents?

  16. Matt L says:

    Sam - Personally I was quite pissed off with ARTA and the service today. While they put on extra trains which was great, they didn’t extend them past Henderson so anyone from further out west like myself couldn’t use them. My wife was out with the car today so there was no way I could get to have a look.

  17. Alex K says:

    @Sam - There were no issues as far as I am aware - the trains ran smoothly, a good test run for both future Eden Park events and hopefully can shake out any issues for next years RWC

    @Matt L - Your problem highlights the issues they need to shake out and address

  18. Sam says:

    Well Put Alex K…. they are getting there but these events remind us what still has to happen. And nice post- haw long have you been contributing?

    @Matt L- I agree they should have run at least some services out to Waitakere today.

    I have always imagined that one of the main reasons they don’t have trains out that far on Sunday is that because of the indirect route into town from out there, rail cannot come close to competing with roads when there is no traffic (such as on Sunday). Today, however, there was traffic at the major destination AND they were already running a hugely altered service, so they probably should have.

    For the majority though, it was amazing to have such freedom around catching the train (even better than during the week in many respects)

  19. Matt L says:

    Sam - If that was the case they wouldn’t run them on Saturdays either but they do. The reason given is that there will be lots of closures for electrification but personally I don’t buy it as that would affect Saturday also.

  20. Sam says:

    I think theres just a bit more traffic out on Saturdays than Sundays though (as well as a few more potential rail users)- enough to ‘break the camels back’

    Or maybe its because they have always run services to Waitakere on Saturdays, so to withdraw them would look really bad. As they used to run no services anywhere on Sundays, just not running them past Henderson doesn’t seem as bad as a blatant service cut.

  21. Chris says:

    Those Maori carvings look great. Im impressed with the way the stadium looks, however I would have loved to see the south stands roof continue along the west and east stands, but that looks as if it can easily be done in the future.


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