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Plans revealed for new downtown Auckland stadium

Plans revealed for new downtown Auckland stadium
February 12, 2024

The consortium behind a proposed new stadium and surrounding precinct at Auckland’s Quay Park believes the development will activate the eastern side of the city.

Revealed in the New Zealand Herald at the weekend, the latest version of a stadium in Auckland’s downtown envisages a 55,000-seat venue at the heart of a wider 15-hectare precinct - adjacent to the city’s Spark Arena - that would also include hotels, bars, restaurants, retail and office space, residential apartments and green spaces.

The precinct would be known as Te Tōangaroa, with one of its hotels to have theming based on the All Blacks.

With its location differing from previous plans - going back almost two decades - for a stadium on the waterfront in downtown Auckland, the centrepiece venue features an innovative design inspired by traditional Māori culture and historic features of the Auckland isthmus. The U-shaped arena also opens out at one end, allowing views of the Waitematā Harbour and Rangitoto Island.

Discussing the project, Andrew Colling, Director at project proponent HKS Australasia, told the Herald “we view every stadium as a unique opportunity.

“Every city deserves a unique response and especially New Zealand. The last thing Auckland needs is another cookie cutter, cake tin solution … imported from Australia or imported from Europe. We felt very strongly that this was an opportunity to take a fresh start.

“It reflects the unique context and backdrop and hopefully when people see the images they feel a strong sense of connection that yes, this is New Zealand, this is Auckland. That was the key driver; when you are in the stadium you can’t be anywhere else in the world.”

Backers of the proposal, led by former Warriors Chief Executive Jim Doyle, believe the precinct will drive a regeneration of the Quay Park area, the last in a chain along the waterfront, after Wynyard Point, the Viaduct, Britomart and Commercial Bay.

He advised “rather than wasting money on upgrading our existing stadiums I think we should put on downtown where it’s close to public transport.”

The new stadium site in the heart of Auckland’s CBD close to city night life and bars and near Britomart train station with a range of public transport options.

The Quay Park proposal is one of four bids under consideration from an Auckland Council working group, which will make a non-binding recommendation. The full council is then expected to confirm its preference for Auckland’s future main stadium later this year.

There is no guarantee that the plans will come to fruition, with Auckland Council reviewing a number of projects for a major stadium development in the city. Oher options are waterfront precincts at Bledisloe Wharf and Wynyard Point and a redeveloped Eden Park.

The idea for a waterfront national stadium was first advanced by the then Labour government in 2006 with then Rugby World Cup Minister Trevor Mallard backing the new venue as the centrepiece for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Founded in the USA in 1939, HKS has 27 offices around the world it has designed the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, US Bank stadium in Minneapolis, SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles (all in the USA) and Perth’s Optus Stadium.

Images: Concepts for the proposed stadium  precinct at Auckland’s Quay Park (top and below) and a plan of how the completed site would look (middle). Credit: HKS Australasia.

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