Yarrow Stadium project FAQs

Creating the best regional stadium in New Zealand is a major project. See below for the frequently asked questions.

What’s the timeline for the project?

The West Stand will reopen in September 2022 when the Taranaki Bulls return to their home ground to take on Waikato in the Bunnings NPC. This year will see the completion of upgrades to the main pitch and new LED lighting installed as well. 

The East Stand is a different project altogether as we’re replacing the old stand with a new one. Demolition was completed at the end of 2021 and the next step is to start construction. That will take two years and we expect the new stand to be open to users in 2024.

What’s the cost of the project?

Cost pressures and supply chain issues have increased the cost to build the East Stand. These come from the Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical instability – it’s a very different world to when the project was budgeted in 2019.

Additionally, the scope has changed as previously the TSB Stand was going to be repaired but that wasn’t possible because of poor ground conditions and insufficient foundation strength. That’s meant additional costs such as demolishing the TSB Stand, redesigning and building a new stand.

The total funding envelope for all Stadium works is now expected to rise from $50m to a target of $70m.

A big chunk is coming from the Government’s Covid Infrastructure Recovery Fund with an additional funding boost of $10m on top of $20m already committed to the project. The Taranaki Stadium Trust is funding the project with $30m from Taranaki ratepayers and $3m of repurposed Stadium maintenance funds (from ratepayers). 

The Yarrow Stadium targeted rate is not changing.

What will be different?

The redeveloped Yarrow Stadium will feature:

  • A repaired West Stand with a new roof.
  • 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 to 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.
  • East Stand is closer to the pitch, creating a more intimate viewing experience.
  • A new, more resilient hybrid main pitch that will last longer than natural turf and take less time to recover after fixtures, boosting access to the community.
  • Brighter and more energy efficient LED lighting for the main pitch, replacing the old lighting which was beyond the end of its life.
What is the vision for Yarrow Stadium?
  • 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.  

Why are going ahead with the project?

We spent a long time talking to our community before starting the project and there was strong support to get the Stadium back open. Taranaki folk love their sport and deserve to watch their team in a first-class stadium. When finished the stadium will once again be a premier regional sports ground with the capacity to attract big sports events and a fantastic venue for a range of sports.

Rugby remains the No.1 sport in the region with Taranaki having the nation’s highest rugby engagement rate of any region in New Zealand. Without it, the region would struggle to maintain a facility like this and rugby will be the Stadium’s major rent-paying tenant.

It’s worth remembering that research(external link) by Berl found that the Yarrow Stadium boosted the Taranaki economy by $100m between 2003 and 2017. This of course came from rugby including a number of top nights when the All Blacks came to Taranaki but also NRL league games, FIFA Under-20 World Cup and Phoenix football matches and motorsport events.

Why not just use the planned Multi-Sport Hub?

We think there’s room for a range of high quality sports venues across our region. Yarrow Stadium will be the premier regional sports venue while the Multi-Sport Hub planned for Pukekura Raceway will provide a home for community level spors. 

Both projects will be complementary to each other and help boost the opportunities for Taranaki people to watch and take part in sport, which we think is a good thing for our community. Both projects are also in regular dialogue to ensure no duplication and the very best outcome for the Taranaki region

East and West - which is which?

Yarrow Stadium stands

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.

Why is the East Stand being rebuilt?

We had originally sought feedback from our community on repairing the TSB Stand but we had to make the decision to demolish and rebuild instead of repair because of complications, including poor ground conditions, the integration of the old grandstand structure and insufficient foundation strength. 

How different will the new East Stand be?

We think it’ll be amazing. There’ll be more space for events such as conferences and trade exhibitions, and flexible and scalable seating capacity. Its facilities (toilets, showers, changing rooms, food and beverage areas) will also be available to users of the outer fields without needing to open up the entire stand or stadium. The stand will be closer to the main pitch as well, giving vistors a more intimate viewing experience.

Why is the design of the East Stand important?

We working closely with iwi partners Ngāti Te Whiti on the design aspects of the new stand. This is helping to make the stand special and unique to Taranaki.

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