aucklandrugby.co.nz and allblacks.com 12.Dec.2012Getty Images
“Eden Park has undergone numerous transformations in the last 100 years, but it was in 1913 when the first stand was built on the reclaimed swamp that it truly started life as a stadium,” says Eden Park Trust Chief Executive, David Kennedy.
The centenary will be marked in various ways throughout the year. The first event is a public Open Day, with entry by gold coin donation, on Sunday 10 February.
“Everyone is invited to the Open Day,” says Mr Kennedy.
“One hundred years is a long time and it’s an historic year not only for the Park, but also the community that it’s here for.”
Visitors will be allowed onto the hallowed number one field and have access to the All Blacks changing room.
“The opportunity doesn’t present itself very often but, because the field has so much history, we know lots of people get a real buzz from walking about on it or even kicking a ball around. At the Open Day people will have that chance. There will also be elite athletes from a range of sporting codes on the field participating in fun activities and the public are welcome to get involved if they wish,” says Mr Kennedy.”
The full Blues squad will be attending plus members of the Black Caps who play a Twenty/20 match against England on the previous day. There will be representatives from the Vodafone Warriors, Auckland Aces and other sporting codes.
There will also be some very famous silverware.
“We’ve managed a bit of a coup by getting the Webb Ellis Cup (The Rugby World Cup), The Bledisloe Cup, The Steinlager Series Cup, The Ranfurly Shield and The Investec Rugby Championship Trophy all here at the same time. People will be welcome to have photographs with the various cups and trophies,” says Mr Kennedy.”
Mr Kennedy says the Eden Park Trust particularly want to encourage families to attend.
“For our younger visitors there will be face painters, bouncy castles and giant board games as well as some giveaways.”
In recognition of the diverse cultural communities that surround Eden Park, there would also be a range of ethnic food stalls.
“I’m sure there will be some delicious dishes for people to try which represent the vibrant and varied community which surrounds and supports the Park,” says Mr Kennedy”
Media identity, Duncan Garner, will be the MC for the event.
“Duncan will interview some of the sports identities and this will all be shown live on the Super Screens. He will also get around the stadium to see what’s happening and talk to visitors as well as introducing the range of performances (musical and cultural) we have planned for peoples’ entertainment.”
The Open Day is just the first in a number of ways in which the centenary will be recognised next year. On 22 March, the first day of the cricket test against England, there will be a celebration of all things cricket. On June 8 there will a special centenary lunch, the day before the Steinlager Series rugby International against France.
“A test against France is a fitting way to focus on rugby’s wonderful history with Eden Park. They have been the All Black’s opponent in both Rugby World Cup finals here and they are the last team to beat the All Blacks at Eden Park, back in 1994,” says Mr Kennedy.