Rotorua 'International' Stadium



  • Back from a good weekend in Rotorua. Can't say enough about the hospitality at plenty of venues, and really like the set up they have at Eat Street and surrounding venues. But the stadium/game day experience put a massive dampener (excuse the pun) on the weekend.

    How NZ Rugby could schedule such a significant fixture at such a below-par venue is beyond me. The fourth biggest game of the tour was plonked at about the 28th best ground in NZ. I'm probably being generous too. One pokey stand, two thirds of the ground is embankments. Far from an international standard ground. At least our own embarrassing temporary scaffold stadium is all seated.

    Our personal experience was that after arriving more than an hour before kick off, we made a beeline for the concrete terraces opposite the stand, which were far from what we would consider full based on past terraces experiences. Walking down a stairway we spotted some space and tucked ourselves into it. Pretty standard procedure back in the day at Lancaster Park and Carisbrook. What ensued was a torrent of abuse from locals who insisted we were either standing in space reserved for friends, or space they were going to sit down in. Yes, SIT DOWN IN. A cold, hard, wet concrete terraced embankment. We tried two different areas, argued our case, but ultimately we were outnumbered by disgruntled locals and couldn't be bothered with the drama so bailed and found plenty of space just behind the terraces near the bottom of the grass embankment. Which in the conditions was half mud and very slippery. Best avoided in the conditions. Meanwhile, the remaining paved areas (stairs and pathways) began to fill up with people which a smattering of thoroughly unenthused security staff quickly flagged trying to move on. By kick off, visibility was seriously obscured by people standing where they shouldn't, and the risk of slipping down a muddy slope increased by the minute.

    We could see a block of toilets but had no idea where to get a beer, plus the paths were mostly blocked by spectators avoiding the mud and slippage risk. So the game was a dry argument. If not for the rain, in our exposed position.

    By no means were we the only disgruntled punters. We talked to Lions supporters who couldn't believe they were dealing with the same crap, including getting shit from locals on the terraces. I'm sure sitting on those terraces on a cushion for a Steamers game with 5,000 people in the ground works well, but it's not at all appropriate when the venue is packed. Something should have been done to pre empt this situation, at the very least.

    Ultimately though, this game should have been held at a marquee venue and my suggestion would be Forsyth Barr as this would have sold out, at higher prices, and would have certainly dragged more Lions supporters to the SI in lieu of a test.

    This was a really shithouse scheduling decision from NZ Rugby.



  • Please pardon my possible ignorance, but wasn't Rotorua partly picked due to the cultural importance? Not suggesting that should outweigh common sense, just asking really.



  • @Catogrande said in Rotorua 'International' Stadium:

    Please pardon my possible ignorance, but wasn't Rotorua partly picked due to the cultural importance? Not suggesting that should outweigh common sense, just asking really.

    You're quite correct. And you're also correct that common sense was outweighed by that factor in the decision.



  • It's shit. It's shit to get to (I'm lucky to have a mate who lives around the corner) the facilites are crap, and it's bad enough in the dry, let alone the wet.

    In the 90s the surface was one of the best around apparently, doubt that's true today.

    Certainly was an odd choice. What was the crowd size?



  • Even if the stadium was of a higher standard, theres a really solid argument that the game could have been held in Dunedin or Christchurch. Revenue may have been greater and ultimately it's a national representative side who's major fixtures can and should be shared around the country. Lions fans would have been compelled to travel to the South Island to spend their coin, and as the third biggest and best venue in the country, FBS certainly makes more sense than Rotorua's shitty ground when hosting a major international match. The rotorua experience was an embarrassment to rugby in NZ.



  • @Catogrande said in Rotorua 'International' Stadium:

    Please pardon my possible ignorance, but wasn't Rotorua partly picked due to the cultural importance? Not suggesting that should outweigh common sense, just asking really.

    Also probably partly picked for fan tour schedules. Look at the packages and a lot of them were starting a week or so before Test 1 so games needed to be in the vicinity eg Hamilton, Rotorua.
    Unfortunately Tauranga, despite it's riches still can't get its shit together and build anything decent ;)



  • The banks looked worse than Woodstock at the end of the game. Rubbish farrrrkin EVERYWHERE. Glad I wasn't on clean up duty.



  • Based on some of the pics I've seen, would have sucked to be behind the goal posts also. Behind the in goal there was fencing as usual, then a massive warm up area, again fenced off. Fans were miles away from the action.



  • It's a good stadium for a day game when the weather is sunny as you can maximise the caldera effect of the venue when sitting/standing on the embankment. When it's wet you stand on the embankment at your own risk. We stood at the top near the paths.

    The surface is still very good. The in goal area was smaller than in the past. Food/drink facilities are poor.

    The crowd was 28K and they reckon the majority were from out of town.



  • I had an absolute shit experience here for the 2005 tour game v BOP. I will regale you with the details later ........



  • I had a great experience there for the 2011 RWC. It helped that while waiting for a cousin to pick me up, I bumped into some South Africans who had stashed a crate before the game.



  • I went with WTW and after the game we played Mexi back at the hire mini van for two hours waiting for traffic to move. Apparently the volunteers threw their hands up and just walked away the caos was that bad.

    Also they said everyone should bus to the game so a lot did but after the game there was no cones/barriers for people to form long queues so people just mad rushed to the doors of bus.

    Really poorly executed the whole day.

    I thought it was really easy to get beer and food though.



  • @Hooroo said in Rotorua 'International' Stadium:

    I went with WTW and after the game we played Mexi back at the hire mini van for two hours waiting for traffic to move. Apparently the volunteers threw their hands up and just walked away the caos was that bad.

    Also they said everyone should bus to the game so a lot did but after the game there was no cones/barriers for people to form long queues so people just mad rushed to the doors of bus.

    Really poorly executed the whole day.

    I thought it was really easy to get beer and food though.

    Yep the bus queues were a shambles. Even when we left 20 mins early there were heaps of people getting on them with a lack of cones and just one hi-vis Nazi yelling at people who had no idea where they were supposed to be so they just jumped on the nearest bus.



  • @Rapido said in Rotorua 'International' Stadium:

    I had an absolute shit experience here for the 2005 tour game v BOP. I will regale you with the details later ........

    Go on....



  • We got out of the car park really quickly with minimal hassle.

    There was a bigger queue at the BP on SH5.



  • First of all.

    I'll concede that some things are beyond the locals control.

    28,000 crowd in a town that is pretty much about 70,000 population. That is quite amazing. And it is going to cause some chaos due to infrastructure not set up to cope with one off exceptional events.

    Secondly. A modest stadium with a big grass amphitheater is the perfect cost effective way to provide for very occasional extraordinary crowds, with the only upkeep in the fallow years in between is a mower. This is how most of the provincial unions operated; Okara Oaek, Rugby Park New Plymouth etc etc.



  • My experience in 2005, which I would have moaned about on here 12 years ago:

    Travelled from Tauranga to Rotorua with 2 adults and 2 kids. Gave ourselves plenty of time thinking we'd judged it to allow getting some takeaways in Rotorua and get there an hour early (gave ourselves 3 hours for a 1 hour journey in normal times).

    The traffic jam started almost at Hamurana. We got in the stadium literally as they were kicking off. What on earth do you do with 2 waist high kids in a stadium with 25,000 people standing? And your late?

    We found a spot near the corner flag with an obstructed view (obstructed by the grandstand), and could see half the field. Looked at big screen for the other half. This area had hundreds of people deciding that a view of half the field was the best spot available.

    No complaints about locals. Just a complaint about how kid un-friendly it was. It wasn't rainy that day, but either because night time and dew, or because it's so full - no one on grass was sitting.

    Didn't get home until midnight or after.

    I went to the Lions tour match in 83 at same stadium. Back then they let in 35000 and the local population was only about 50,000 then. I think my much more organised than me parent got us there in time for curtain raiser and I sat on the concrete terrace part. Day game, soup in a flask etc, John Carleton got 2 tries.



  • So in summary. Napier or New Plymouth which upgraded their grounds for 2011 should have hosted this tour match.



  • @Rapido said in Rotorua 'International' Stadium:

    So in summary. Napier or New Plymouth which upgraded their grounds for 2011 should have hosted this tour match.

    Yarrow Stadium should have been the option if you base it on stadium quality.



  • @antipodean Samoa v Namibia at Rotorua was pretty good in '11. Not a huge crowd, nice day, kids could get a seat and watch the game. I imagine this was a very different animal.


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