Forsyth Barr Stadium

Forsyth Barr Stadium
Forsyth Barr Stadium
Former names New Carisbrook, Dunedin Stadium, Awatea Street Stadium, Otago Stadium
Location Anzac Avenue, Logan Park, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
Coordinates 45°52′9″S 170°31′28″E / 45.86917°S 170.52444°E / -45.86917; 170.52444Coordinates: 45°52′9″S 170°31′28″E / 45.86917°S 170.52444°E / -45.86917; 170.52444
Broke ground May 2009
Owner Dunedin City Council
Operator Dunedin Venues Management Ltd
Surface Grass
Construction cost NZ$ 198.3 million
Architect Jasmax
Capacity 30,748 (Rugby/Football)
36,000 (Concerts)
Otago Rugby Football Union (2011–)
Highlanders (2012–)
Otago United (2011–)
The location of the stadium within Dunedin's urban area
Outside view of the stadium.

The Forsyth Barr Stadium (officially Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza) is a multi-purpose stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand.[1][2] At various stages of development it was also known as Dunedin Stadium, Awatea Street Stadium, New Carisbrook, or its non-commercial official name during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Otago Stadium[3].

The stadium was opened by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on 5 August 2011, replacing Carisbrook as the home stadium of the Highlanders team in Super Rugby and the Otago Rugby Football Union in the domestic ITM Cup. The stadium hosted four matches of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.



The stadium is located in Dunedin North, close to the outflow of the Water of Leith into Otago Harbour (and directly over the outflow of Opoho Stream). Its site is close to several other major sports venues. Logan Park lies immediately to the north, and the University Oval and the Caledonian Ground are also nearby to the north of the stadium. Also to the north of the stadium is Logan Point quarry, at the foot of Signal Hill.

To the west, the stadium's near neighbours include Otago Polytechnic and the University of Otago College of Education. The main campus of the University of Otago lies one kilometre to the west.

The stadium's construction required the shifting of New Zealand State Highway 88, the main road between the CBD to the West Harbour Suburbs and the port facilities,which prior to stadium construction followed Anzac Avenue as part of its route, turning northeast at Logan Park before following the harbour's edge past Ravensbourne. The highway was diverted onto a new stretch of road alongside the railway line, 200 metres east of Anzac Avenue.


The stadium was designed by Populous and Jasmax in a joint venture, and is the world's first fully enclosed grassed stadium[citation needed] since the original grass field of the Astrodome in Houston was replaced in 1966 with what would be known as AstroTurf. The stadium roof was constructed with a clear ETFE roof, the same material as used at Allianz Arena in Munich and the Water Cube in Beijing.

The stadium was designed as a versatile venue, and is expected to be able to host a range of events including sports (rugby union, rugby league, football, basketball, netball), concerts, trade fairs and other large scale events. The use of relocatable seating allows for flexibility to suit a range of event requirements.

It has an a maximum seated capacity of 30,000 in a full sports mode, and capacity in excess of 35,000 for concerts There are permanent stands in the South and North with removable seating in East and West Stand areas.

Roof: Internal roof height at centre line: 37 metres Highest observed rugby kick 29.4m External roof height 47 metres (equivalent to a 12 storey building) Football goal posts: 16 metres The roof is covered with 20,500m2 of ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) transparent roofing material (also used in the Eden Project, England and the Beijing Cube, China). This has been angled to face north to optimise sun in Southern Hemisphere winter. Rainwater is collected from the 20,500m2 roof surface and recycled to irrigate the pitch. The roof, supported by 5 steel trusses each spanning 105 metres, is capable of supporting the weight of a car. The main truss (South Stand) is 130 metres long and weighs 390 tonnes.

Turf: Real grass is strengthened by synthetic grass fibres injected deep into the soil. This increases the hard-wearing capability, allowing 3 times the use of natural grass field. The turf is serviced by 2.5km of drainage, 15 km of irrigation and 40 automated sprinkler heads. The turf consists of three different types of seed, 3200m3 of sand, soil and compost in three different layers.


Hawkins Construction began work on the site during May 2009. It was completed in August 2011. 609 piles were driven to support stadium structure 1840m3 concrete poured in North and South stand seating areas 22,000m3 of excavated fill – much from buildings demolished to make way for the stadium 3,200 tonnes of structural steel and 2,000 tonnes of steel reinforcing 318 toilets and 260 metres of urinals 12 food and beverage stalls 220 two-kilowatt sports lights At least 600 people worked in new jobs created by Stadium construction and fit out Changes to State Highway 88 proposed prior to the stadium proposal, have been amended to accommodate the proposed new structure. Construction of the revamped highway was completed in mid 2011


The Forsyth Barr Stadium project was met with some opposition within Dunedin, with objections focusing largely on the expected cost of a stadium that may find limited use.[4] After prolonged deliberation the Dunedin City Council on 17 March 2008 voted 12–2 in favour of proceeding with the project.[5]

A telephone survey of 2200 residents run by the Dunedin City Council in early 2007 showed 51.9% thought the council should pay for the project, and larger mail-out surveys by the city and Otago Regional councils showed around 40%.[6] A November 2008 survey organised by Stop the Stadium showed 73.3% of respondents did not support public funding.[6]

Two legal proceedings were taken separately against the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council, attempting to stop funding the stadium with public money.[7] The Otago Regional Council won the case against it in the Dunedin High Court,[8] and the Dunedin City Council won both the High Court proceedings, and subsequent Court of Appeal hearing.[9]


The total cost of the stadium including land purchases is projected to be NZ $198.3 million. The following contributors make up the total cost of the project:[10]

  • Otago Regional Council $37.5 million
  • Community Trust of Otago $7.0 million
  • University of Otago $10.0 million
  • Government $15.0 million
  • Dunedin City Council $98.5 million
  • Private Sector Funding $30.3 million

The Carisbrook Stadium Trust began purchasing the required land on 31 July 2008, with remaining settlements on 31 October 2008. The final cost of the land was $32.5 million, above the original budget of $20 million, but the trust expected to make some money back from the sale of surplus land and materials from the demolition.[11]


The stadium's inaugural game was a pre-season match between Wellington Phoenix and Brisbane Roar on the 20th of August 2011, with an attendance of over 15,000.[12] This will be followed on the 14th of December 2011 as Phoenix host the same opposition in an A-League regional round fixture.[13]


  1. ^ Price, Mark (30 January 2009). "Dunedin company Forsyth Barr puts name to stadium". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Craymer, Lucy (30 January 2009). "Forsyth Barr ignores recession to buy Otago stadium naming rights". National Business Review. Retrieved 29 January 2009. 
  3. ^ "Stadium nears completion". Otago Daily Times. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 30 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Morris, Chris (31 January 2009). "1300 march against stadium". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 2 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Dunedin council to help fund stadium". TVNZ. 17 March 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Loughrey, David (25 November 2008). "Survey shows big swing against stadium". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  7. ^ Loughrey, David (14 May 2009). "Council will carry on with stadium". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Loughrey, David (12 June 2009). "Bid fails to block stadium grant". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Loughrey, David (6 February 2010). "Councillors, courts and construction". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Cost and Funding of the Stadium". Dunedin City Council. 5 October 2009. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
  11. ^ Loughrey, David (29 August 2008). "Council starts buying stadium land". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 29 August 2008. 
  12. ^ Rigters Stars As Roar Romp,, 20 August 2011. Retrieved on 13 November 2011.
  13. ^ FFA Take A-League Into The Regions,, 29 September 2011. Retrieved on 13 November 2011.

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