First event at new Christchurch stadium could be Crusaders game

Operators of Christchurch’s new central city stadium say a home Crusaders game would be an “emotional” and fitting opener once gates finally open in two years time.

It comes as naming rights for the multi-use arena were unveiled, with the facility to be known as One New Zealand Stadium.

The 30,000 seat arena has been known as Te Kaha after local rūnanga Ngāi Tūāhuriri gifted the site the name in 2022.

The sponsorship deal with the telecommunications giant will span ten years from its 2026 opening.

The city council’s event management outfit Venues Ōtautahi refused to confirm the cost of the partnership deal due to commercial reasons.

Speaking to RNZ at the stadium site, the agency’s chief executive Caroline Harvie-Teare said it was always expected a commercial partner would come on board.

One New Zealand Stadium

“We were always cognizant as a collective that there would be a commercial (element),” she said.

“There’s the commercial realities of what we need to do here.

“But there was always a desire to make sure that Te Kaha is the legacy name.”

Caroline Harvie-Teare, Chief Executive of Venues Ōtautahi

Te Kaharoa would retain the name of the whole precinct, Harvie-Teare said.

Although the events calendar for the stadium’s initial post-opening stretch was still being firmed up, an event or fixture worthy of the occasion was already being contemplated.

With the stadium’s scheduled April 2026 opening – which would align with Super Rugby Pacific’s regular season – a home Crusaders game could be the first event the stadium hosts.

It would mark 15 years since the franchise lost its original headquarters Lancaster Park to the devastating Canterbury earthquakes.

“We can’t forget the Crusaders have been waiting a long time for their new home ground,” Harvie-Teare said.

“I think there’d be something quite emotional about having a home rugby game as one of the first [events].”

“If it’s the Crusaders that would be [an] awesome thing.”

One New Zealand Stadium

The arena’s opening will also enable more National Rugby League (NRL) games be held in the Garden City with One New Zealand serving as the major sponsor for the New Zealand Warriors.

A new multi-use stadium for central Christchurch has been seen as one of the key factors in ongoing separate bids for a South Island-based NRL club.

Harvie-Teare said she had been involved in conversations.

“This (stadium) underpins all of those bids, you need to have a great venue to play at.”

Design concept of what the One NZ Te Kaha stadium in Christchurch will look like.

Christchurch mayor Phil Mauger said the stadium would be the premier venue in the South Island and “the heart of Canterbury”.

“This is the start of Christchurch being the events and sporting capital of New Zealand.”

One New Zealand Stadium

One New Zealand Stadium

One New Zealand Stadium

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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