Turn it up!

If it’s good enough for dear old Syd Adie to inflict his protectionist/NIMBY/grow-old-and-gather-moss attitude on the good people of Dunedin, and for others to risk a council to further their I’m-not-paying-for-that attitude, then it’s more than time I took the gloves off and got in boots and all over this and other closely related topics (how may clichés can one put in an opening basket sentence).

Fortunately for myself and the good people of Dunedin I’m off to sunny Vancouver for the next 6 months. This is good for several reasons. I’m finally going to get the time to really fill this site up with readings and other material all related to building this stadium. I’ve collected a wealth of material, sorry some of it is academic and thus really interesting but bloody dry. There is enough to provide a new post a day from now till the day the first sounds of the Military Tattoo resonate around the new stadium. This is also good for the people of Dunedin as I may have been tempted to provide a counter to all those wishing to stand for council with the sole aim of shutting down Dunedin and turning it into the Syd Adie Memorial Town For the Progressively Challenged (picking a bitter theme here yet?).

I’d be more than happy to be the Patsy for the developers and the money men. If this sounds all a little too much for such a pinko greenie like myself, don’t be fooled, there is such a thing as progress and development with a social and environmental conscience.

What’s prompted this out-of-the-blue outburst? Ian Taylor (and I want to thank him no end for getting me going again). The piece that he wrote in the ODT about the price of doing nothing, was a stunning opinion piece. My only dread is that either not enough people read it, or even more regrettable, they read it and either didn’t get it, or dismissed it. I’m going to try to contact Ian or the ODT to get permission to re-post here, it needs reading over and over again. His beef with council and protectionists of Dunedin, is the lack of imagination, and I agree wholeheartedly. I had no idea that the relationship between council and business had sunk so low, I also had no idea that there was such a negative attitude to business and progress in this town. I always assumed that it was external factors (relocating head offices etc) that were solely to blame for the cosy-ole-dunners attitude down here. Oh no baby. After reading that piece it should have been bleedingly obvious to the good people of Dunedin that a lynch mob (for want of a better term) should have marched on council and turfed the whole lot out there and then. As left and green as I am, the relationship between council and business must be as strong as it can. This would ensure good governance and of course good communication. What a complete lack of imagination exists in this council.

And no sorry Fliss, getting the Top Gear presenter into town to attract more blokes for the shelias is not a good idea – some things are best not said aloud. There should be vigorous and passionate debate, with brilliant repartee and counterthrust. There should be fundamentals debated (not freaking dating schemes), there should be consultation with business, every business. I mean really do we have to let South Dunners look so poorly? The poor buggers that live there have a hard enough time without us having to neglect them. Why does Forbury Park look so bloody miserable. God knows race 10 at 10:45 last Friday night in the freezing sleety southerly was miserable enough without the place looking like it needs a bullet more than a lame horse. Does anyone in town know or even understand the fine tradition that Forbury Park has played in the social/sporting and cultural heritage of this city, apparently not? A fine old racecourse on the beach in any other town could be the focus of many a great event. I don’t know or care if this is privately owned, council and business should be in bed together over this one (and many many many other facilities in town), as to how do we attract more, get things going better. I mean really, (with all due respects) a shady pub is the flashest thing about that place, yet it should be a fun vibrant place. What kid doesn’t love watching horses going round and round. Then of course what kid at the races doesn’t want to play on the fun things there, with their parents forking over hard earned dosh to the nice family friendly restaurant there. Mind you, with all of the big business and OLD (and my god there is a lot of it in town) money about, why the hell haven’t they been hit up for decent contributions to facilities and prize-money? Baffles me, but them I’m not them and also not in council. Holly crap – another diversion, sorry.

So long story short, business is tight and council is weak, not a good  combination when looking forward. Take the hot salt water pool. Yeah – but – no. Could have been a stunning return to good old days of yonder (whenever that was), instead it feels like a semi-colon in a poorly constructed plan. Yikes stop it, you’ll lose the readers. Anyway without wanting to rant for too long (too late), we must not let the likes of Lee Vandervis and his cohorts dictate to us their incredibly narrow and scary vision for this once great city. There is way too much potential in this town (more per capita than almost any in the country) for his band of scalywags to shut this town down. Let me just pick a small bone with the guy at this time (comments are turned on Lee). Non-binding referenda. 3 words – OXY FUCKING MORONIC. How ‘feel good’ can you get? How two-faced can you get? Pretend to make the people feel like they are included. Pretend to listen to them. I mean if you really wanted to represent the people and are stupid enough to give them a referendum, make the bloody silly thing binding, otherwise you’re lying to them from the outset. “We’ll give you a say, but we might not follow it up”. I bloody well hope you don’t follow it up, and thank god it’s not binding, who has ever heard of progress via committee? Take the work on the Bayfield causeway recently. There would have been a thousand different opinions on how to do the work, what it would look like and who would pay for it, and come 5 years down the track after a steering committee had approved any people’s plan, may have done the work. Ok this is of course taking it to the extreme, but there is no way that binding referenda are good for society. There is no way minorities of any shape or form would be championed, if majority ruled. But to play the pretend we are going to listen card and then make it non binding, my god man you are already lying to the people. They don’t know what is good for them and they don’t know how to run council, this is why we elect council, to provide leadership and employ those whom can do a job, and do it well. Be respectful you bugger. Listen to opinion and engage in discourse, we all have something to say, no matter how silly it sounds, but don’t pretend that non-binding referenda are anything more than a hollow promise, the wolf without the sheep’s clothing, imagine if you will the emperor’s new clothes without the emperor inside of it – nah that doesn’t make any sense, but you get my drift, it’s a hollow promise. So thank god I’m not in town for the elections, or I may have made a fool of myself and kissed babies and grannies on the streets prostituting myself in the name of progress.

Thank god I am also away from all the nonsense and misinformation that will be inflicted upon Dunedinites in the run up to election. But there is no way on earth I would have thought of something so bloody stupid as non-binding citizens initiated referenda would have been a premise for running for office – do you take the people for fools that much? As for those visiting this site for a discourse in architecture and design (as you should expect), I will be ramping up the material asap, and keeping the party political broadcasts to a minimum, and of course will be separating out the content. BTW, I’m all for lowering the age of voting to 16, but then also cutting it off at the other end (how old is Syd?). How sad, your legacy to the city (no matter how great the rest of your contribution may have been), is to be remembered as the many who helped turn Dunedin into a cold (well it is today – despite what the t-shirts say) retirement village. Here endith the sermon today.


Filed under Stadiums

28 responses to “Turn it up!

  1. Nathan Anderson

    Agree with practically every word. I’ve often been frustrated with elements of the Dunedin council and populace being intent on lying back with their feet in the air when it comes to any sort of progress.

    I’m also astonished by the selfishness of a certain section ratepayers outright refusal to pay for any sort of future legacy. So easy for them to forget the legacy of the infrastructure they themselves inherited.

    I think its fair to say that while some of Dunedin’s are to do with market forces and outside influences, a large proportion is the attitude of a population resigned to Dunedin becoming a provincial backwater of lessening significance. Pillocks.

  2. Peter Entwisle

    There’s a lot of abuse in here and not much argument.

    However – you say you are concerned about letting “South Dunners look so poorly” and urge the city and business to do something about Forbury. Yet you support the proposed Awatea Street stadium which would take big matches from Carisbrook, or any matches, and depress South Dunedin further. Redeveloping Carisbrook would give the area a boost and cost much less than the Awatea Street project.

  3. Peter redeveloping Carisbrook may bring some economic impact to someone but will it really be the area of South Dunedin.

    Unless that is the workforce and the companies involved are all from South Dunedin. There are many many issues, but I’d rather walk around the waterfront and sneak into the new stadium for a Flat White and lunch than walk about the streets of South Dunedin and have a coffee in Carisbrook. I mention this because I knew there was a Cafe in St James’ Park in Newcastle in the UK, and because I am a huge football fan I had to go. The walk was fine because it’s bang in the middle of the city.

    I walked to Fenway Park in Boston because it’s along the river and gardens, then the history of the place was enough to keep me there. It’s a very ugly building.

    I drove to Old Trafford, you don’t walk there, it’s ugly and industrial, miles from anywhere. I shopped in the store, because that’s what you do when you are at a new Stadium.

    I flew over the new/old Yankee stadium, and while it is in the Bronx, there are some sports brands that are just too big and become attractions in them selves, like the new Wembley.

    I’m actually going through the same emotions with my beloved Everton at the moment. I cried the first time I walked up to the ticket office and bought my first ticket to a real Everton match. But lets face it, Goodison Park (Original Design aside) is now akin to Carisbrook, ugly, impersonal and univiting. It pays scant regard for architectural integrity, form follows function in the ugliest and most brutal way. It needs to go, but where is the great debate in Everton Liverpool at the moment.

    I would love to walk about the waterfront, maybe catch the tram back into town and stop off at the new Chinese gardens. I can’t really see myself walking past the railway yards and scrap metal site, and hanging out at Carisbrook for an afternoon.

    But once again thanks for commenting. Sorry if you took offence at the tenor of the post, most of the time I don’t blog when I am angry. However this time I was just too angry for words. How dare the nay-sayers try to close down my town. How dare the NIMBYs blow ambition out of the water.

    Sorry Carisbook redeveloped will do nothing to inspire or rejuvenate this area. How many people will be stopping into Wolfenden Clothing on their way out of a test match?

  4. Peter Entwisle

    Realistically the downstream benefits of matches all happen in south Dunedin. Take that to north Dunedin they’ll happen there. They haven’t been enough in south Dunedin to save it from perdition and north Dunedin has the university. If Dunedin is to spend $188m where should it go? To the privileged end or the underprivileged one? OK there’s more to life than social regeneration, but that’s all that stadium projects are good for. And this one has a dog of a building, projected for an area which doesn’t need regeneration. I ask you?

  5. But Peter, we’re not going to be able to change the design of the building, despite both our wishes that it should be different.

    I’d have to disagree entirely, South Dunedin does not need a stadium for regeneration, it needs planners to be shot for allowing the Warehouse and Mitre 10 Mega to go ahead. South Dunedin deserves town planners that are able to make it an environment that is lively to walk through, not dodgems with the cars. Seriously those who cross the street there are unable to get across quickly, I see it every day. Why not change the traffic flow to accommodate this.

    A new stadium in South Dunedin without a vibrant and regular use as proposed by the University will be nothing than a shiny Carisbrook. People aren’t making good regular money out of it now, the certainly won’t be in the future.

    I’m leaving privilege out of this, because in all seriousness, if I believed for one minute that the socio-economic improvement of the people of South Dunedin was dependent on a stadium, I’d be all for it.

    I’m talking about an elitist building. As left as I am, there is no way a new Stadium should have as it’s focus the economic development of the under-privileged. It should be in the best place (read non suburban = waterfront), it should have the best possible design (we both agree it doesn’t) and it should have as much functionality as possible (which University endorsement will do).

    If this stadium has the chance to create a new environment of entertainment, then this is a good thing. I mean where are the entrepreneurs looking to get a tram going between the stadium and town? Where are they with respect to buying old buildings and converting them to any manner of entertainment. We have a chance here to create a whole new part of Dunedin. This is not too dissimilar to the Waterfront in Wellington, and if we were able to recreate any form of landscape architecture like they have up there, we will use the place. If the area was transformed into an area where one parks the car, strolls around the waterfront and enjoying the cafe’s then that’s good. Who would ever have thought Ironic was a place to put a half decent cafe in? But then old industrial buildings are fantastic for this purpose.

    There are 10 million things we could do with this project and we are limited only by our imagination. Come on, where’s the bright spark putting a cable car up the hill to a new park and cafe. Why not steal the title of Mountain Biking capital off the Capital and develop the tracks on the hillside surrounding, with a base in the new stadium. Why isn’t the NZRFU, Otago Rugby and the University offering a couple of high profile scholarships to Otago, to get a real youth development feel to the rugby in the area. Why isn’t a day ferry running on the inner harbour with stops in locations like this and over to Macandrew Bay. Boy all the Uni lecturers living on the peninsular could just hope on and off door to door to work. Likewise tourists could be on in a flash. I’ve seen the inner harbour boats in Vancouver (water taxis) ply their trade all day every day. They only take a max of 10 people and they busy about the harbour all the time, bikes, pushchairs etc all on board.

    This isn’t just a rugby stadium and to exclude the entire area would be too insular and defeat the purpose of the stunning location.

    But then, I like pie in the sky developments, I’m not the investor looking to depart with money.

    Cheers for stopping by again.

    BTW I actually don’t think this will go ahead at the moment, when Michael Deaker changed his tune, I was stunned and more or less put the line through the development at that point alone. I will be immensely sad if this doesn’t go ahead, it will be an opportunity that comes along in a town like this every century or so.

  6. Meg Davidson

    Compie I’m really puzzled. Your ideas may be pie in the sky but I’m sure many of them would fly and Dunedin would be much the better for it. They could transform the harbour area into a wonderful asset for Dunedin. But then you say you will be ‘immensely sad if the [stadium] doesn’t go ahead’. I think the stadium the CST is planning would be the kiss of death for the area, firstly because it is so ugly and secondly because it is so expensive that the DCC will have no ability to fund anything else for decades. (For $188m you don’t even get landscaping around the stadium, did you know that? It was in the exclusions that the peer review was concerned about.) The stadium won’t be the springboard for further development in the area, it will be a bottomless pit that good ideas jump into, never to resurface. (How’s that for a new metaphor.)

    One unexpected spin-off of the stadium debate is that everyone has started their own private wish-list of what they would do with $188 million. It really bugs me that people who oppose the stadium are labelled as naysayers, knockers, anti-progress, lacking in vision. On the contrary, they are generally bursting with ideas and they are thinking along the same lines as you – cable cars etc. There ARE people with vision and imagination in Dunedin. Ironically none of them seem to be on the CST.
    Why are you sticking with the CST’s vision of the future when their stadium is so awful and so out of keeping with your vision?

  7. Peter Entwisle

    I think you’re right that we won’t be able to influence the CST to produce a better design.

    I think the evidence is there that a redevelopment of Carisbrook would have some positive influence on the local community – perhaps not transforming, almost certainly not – but positive. We can all regret developments like Mega but shooting the people responsible for them won’t change much. Nor will re-jigging the traffic arrangements in South Dunedin.

    The idea that the university’s association with the Awatea Street project will make it more positive is a bit dubious. It will mean that some staff and students are using that building during term. Will that be 50 people, or 100? The university has yet to find any department which willingly wants to re-locate there. (So far two candidates have turned it down.) It IS different from re-developing Carisbrook but it isn’t a very big difference.

    And the comparison with Wellington is – a bit optimistic. If the Awatea Street project was being proposed for somewhere nearer the Steamer Basin it would be a closer parallel. In Dunedin terms Awatea Street is suburban and remote from the CBD – the reason why the conference people have said they’d never use it.

    I appreciate your optimism but feel it’s a bit misplaced for this project. If this one goes ahead there won’t be any trams, harbour ferries or anything like that. It will absorb all the spare money for 20 years.

  8. Peter Entwisle

    By the way, I think Michael Deaker is just like a lot of people, including other elected persons. No-one, and especially politicians, wants to appear to be dampening other people’s genuine enthusiasm. But somewhere reality has to kick in. We’re talking about committing a lot of other people’s money, including people who are only kids now, to a project which doesn’t have the wings to fly.

  9. Hey all, cheers for the debate, although we are on sides that will possibly never agree, this is fantastic. I feel somewhat that the media has been neglectful in this (well ODT really). Why wasn’t this debate out in the public arena like this instead of the tired old Syd Ade vs CST debate.

    Once again Meg and Peter, it may absorb public money, but this surely leaves the door open for some bright spark developer or operator to get in on the act.

    The type of ferry I would love to see on the harbour are those operated in Vancouver by False Creek Ferries and Aquabus.


    Peter, in terms of distance the area between the CBD and the proposed site for the new stadium is actually less than quarter the length of the walk around the inner harbour. It’s not uncommon to start at the bars near the CBD and walk all the way around to the water fountain at Roseneath. Why simply because it’s beautiful and there are things to see all the way. We have become detached to possibly our greatest asset the harbour and that is a massive shame. In most other cities this size, the old decrepit buildings that haunt the waterfront would have been taken over long ago as artists enclaves, then restaurants and ultimately as civic spaces. No, aside from one new eatery on the water, we are locked away from it.

  10. Peter Entwisle

    I agree that the waterfront is a wasted asset in Dunedin. I support the city’s proposed plan change to allow non-industrial uses there. The reason why artists don’t congregate there, and there are only a few “eateries”, is because at present those aren’t permitted uses.

    I think the plan change will happen – in some form – and slowly Dunedin will redevelop its waterfront a bit in the way that Wellington has. It will be slower because Dunedin is smaller and scarcely growing at present, and because, unlike Wellington, the whole city face of Dunedin is cut off from the harbour by the rail corridor. Making a pedestrian and light vehicle underpass at Rattray Street would do wonders for that regeneration but the city is dragging its feet over it.

    Awatea Street is relatively remote and on foot it’s a long hike from there to the CBD – or up Union Street to the cafe life at the core of the campus. I worked for many years in the old art gallery at Logan Park and know how remote that area is. It takes a constant effort to get people to it. As I said this is why the conference people have dismissed it as a site for that purpose. Conference-goers like to stroll from their accommodation to their meeting place – past plenty of cafes and bars. That won’t happen along Anzac Avenue.

    I suppose a private operator might try reinstating the old harbour ferry services. Shem Sutherland is rerstoring the Elsie Evan for that purpose. But if the Awatea Street stadium goes ahead there wouldn’t be any money from council to give it a boost.

  11. Peter Entwisle

    By the way, I agree it’s a big shame that there haven’t been exchanges like this in the mainstream media and congratulate you compie on achieving it in this forum.

  12. Rosemary McQueen

    Your excellent forum needs more contributors.

    I notice you believe that the Awatea stadium will have shops and coffee-bars open at all times for general public use. This belief is misplaced – the city has a strictly-observed veto on developments like this outside the central CBD. Any shop, bar, cafe, restaurants included in the stadium is to be devoted to stadium-like activities and have to demonstrate that it will not compete with CBD shops & bars.

    In addition, shops, restaurants, bars and the like are all excluded from the $164 million construction cost. They are not part of the proposed stadium. Are you sure you still favour a stadium that will be locked up and empty for 340 days of the year?

  13. Rosemary.

    Sorry I have to correct you.

    The stadium will not have shops, cafes and bars open at all times to the public.

    My vision, is for people to realise that there is an opportunity to now add on to this massive development. What’s to stop a CBD cafe/bar owner saying, OK here’s an opportunity to open something different and new in Dunedin.

    Time and time again, Dunedin has responded well to new and thoughtful ventures, and for me, and many many people including tourists, the waterfront in that part of town if beautified (OVER TIME) will be the place I want to hang out. I mean I love a beer in the Octagon, but seriously how many boy racers can you put up with. If there was a boulevard cafe district, without access for cars, people will go.

    I’m not looking for any money from the council for this, I’m looking to entrepreneurs and others to come along and say, here’s a bloody gold lined opportunity and I’m not going to miss out on this.

    And the stadium will not be locked down for 340 days of the year. That is a misconception and deceitful figure thrown up by the anti-stadium brigade who would rather engage in the exceedingly negative, rather than try to imagine anything different. It has been stated as a goal to have the stadium open for business 3-5 days of the year. Why shouldn’t it be. It doesn’t need to be a rugby match, concert of Crusty Daemon exhibition, it doesn’t even need to be the interior of the stadium, they are looking at the convention facilities offered by the stadium.

    Other new stadia around the world are used upwards of 75% of the time and this is how they operate. To suggest that the stadium will be shut up is just wrong. If it is those managing the place at the time need to be sacked and new people bought in. Those willing to put the effort into making it alive and work. It’s not rocket science, anyone doesn’t matter what the job, if they aren’t doing their job face the same fate.

    Back to the Boulevard, before you ask, why not get the developers to pay for it. I’ve seen it the world over, places where stadiums are built or redeveloped and then shut to the world, are cold and desolate places. Those that are open for business time after time, will generate a vibe of their own.

    Take a very simple example which I’ve used before. I love English football, and although Newcastle Utd weren’t my team, they had an excellent simple cafe inside, which I just had to go to. Same with Manchester Utd, I had to go to the shop, and cafe there. As with the Tate Modern, I went not only for the wonderful art, but because I could get a great coffee and feed there.

    I’m not looking for any more money from the council, and no private money will not be exhausted by this venture.

    I only wish I had the business acumn to undertake some of these ventures, because I have a vision of a beautiful place to stroll down on a late summers evening. It’s a great part of town and a waterfront is a bonus not afforded to just any town.

    Or, late summers evening I could walk past Otago Tires then the workshops and hope to get a curly sandwich somewhere, with the boy hoons screaming by.

    I just don’t understand why, when faced with the option to be positive and use the most astonishing gift humans have, imagination, that we choose the negative paths. It’s like the old saying, it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.

    Finally, I’m not expecting this development to happen over night or even by the time the stadium is built, but it should be an aim.

    And no, no public money.

    Thanks for stopping by though I do appreciate it. I started this blog, because the day I heard of the development, I thought there’d be a debate going on, and with my background in design and urban planing, I thought I’d be able to offer a view other than what I predicated (and happened) the us v them ‘not with my money’ debate. It was a personal blog with insights to other developments and urban planning issues. I really don’t want it to be a ‘not my money’ blog. That’s why I’ve offered up so many peer reviewed and academic links and articles. I have dozens more – 6 months in Vancouver last year a Mecca of stunning urban development I had to do something.

    Since people are coming along again, I’ll post more regularly.

  14. Peter Entwisle

    Dear Compie,

    You say above: “they are looking at the convention facilities offered by the stadium”. The Carisbrook Stadium Trust’s own commissioned Horwath report negatived this. The Horwath authors talked to conference users and providers in Dunedin and the strong consensus was that conference facilities need to be closer to the heart of the CBD. An Awatea Street stadium would have minimal conference uses and the conference people say they are relying on the city council re-developing the Dunedin Centre – i.e. expanding it to provide enhanced facilities. I have my doubts about the economics of that and certainly about the aesthetics of expanding into Harrop Street and Moray Place. But the point is, conferencing isn’t scheduled to be a major activity at Awatea Street.

    I appreciate your vision of a re-developed waterfront. I support the city’s “harbourside redevelopment” initiative – to be facilitated by plan change 7. Because the steamer basin is much closer to the CBD I think it is likely that’s where the first clusters of restaurants cafes and apartments will be provided by private capital. I notice it has been scaled back which is apparently because if it is granted the city would become liable to buy affected businesses’ leases and land and it is trying to conserve its funds. The city’s staff may also think that if plan change 7 re-zones less industrial land it will make it easier to win approval for plan change 8 – the one to enable the Awatea Street stadium and university development in that area. People will object, with some reason, on the grounds this diminishes the available industrial zoned land close to the rail and highway corridors and the port.

    I appreciate your desire for people to use their imaginations and avoid knee-jerk negativism. But with a very large contribution of public money called for surely it’s reasonable for people to question whether it’s the best use of the money – from a public perspective – and whether the city can even really afford it?

  15. Anne Elliot

    Interesting points, Peter.

    I just read the Horwath report, which you cite. I wonder why so many sections are still blacked out. It’s a simple case of opening the report in Adobe Acrobat Pro and then copy and paste the blackened parts into a text editor. Makes interesting reading, but why is this information withheld for a project which is to be funded largely from the public purse?? It seems suspect to me.

  16. Meg Davidson

    I take your point Compie. No restaurants, bars etc IN the stadium complex. Just AROUND it. Why, for that matter, have the stadium at all? Why not spend some of the money instead developing the harbour area, which would then attract people all of the time, not just when the stadium was in use? It’s a chicken and egg thing, for sure, but trying to make a go of a restaurant near a monstrous deserted stadium with no landscaping would be a pretty tough call. Nice harbourside walks, as you have pointed out, would be a big draw card. But there’s nothing like that in the stadium plan.

    NOT a deserted stadium, you say. Compie, it is facile and insulting to slam anti-stadium people as negative just because they don’t believe the stadium would get a lot of use, based on the evidence available.
    Rugby, a few games a year. Crusty Demons, once, maybe. A few trade shows – maybe, but the Edgar Centre seems to work fine and is cheaper. Concerts? Unlikely. Conferences, sorry, no. The Pope? Hmm. That has to be a oncer. The Masters Games? I don’t know enough to know whether this is feasible. But it does occur to me that I cannot recall ONE SINGLE POTENTIAL USER apart from the ORFU fronting up and saying ‘Yes, if the stadium was built WE WOULD USE IT.” Are these potential users also negative and lacking in imagination, or what?

  17. “Why, for that matter, have the stadium at all”

    Simply because Carisbrook needs to be replaced and some very exciting people have come up with a plan for development.

    No there’s nothing like the ‘surrounding’ developments in the plan, that’s not what they are asking the councils and private money to build. They are asking to build a stadium. It’s up to other bright sparks to go with these developments, and if anyone wants to do something bad enough, they will do it. Queenstown is a prime example. There was one operator of Bungy Jumps, one operator of jet boats, nobody told the competitors that they couldn’t muscle in on the competition.

    “Concerts? Unlikely” – who says’ D-Scene and their disingenuous journalism. By asking rival cities promoters if they would give up business in their towns to bring acts south, was about as useful as asking the Canterbury Crusaders to play ‘home’ games as the Brook, it just won’t happen. We do have our own concert promoters in the southern region. If the Wgtn promoter was to bring say George Michael to Dunedin, and not Wgtn (as would almost certainly be the case), then not only would the city miss out on a concert, all of his business relationships built up around that industry would be damaged severely. It has already been mooted that a mini Big Day Out be proposed for the south, what a great idea. Why not and just saying so isn’t an answer that I will even dignify with a reply.

    “Conferences, sorry, no.” That’s a fact is it. I would strongly disagree. Once the venue is up and running any number of conferences could be held in Dunedin. A stumbling block to this has been in the past a lack of quality accommodation. This is no longer the case and with the 5 star Hilton development the bar has been raised higher than almost what any other city in NZ can offer. Sorry – wrong defeatist answer and also just un-provable.

    “The Pope? Hmm” Most probably not, as NZ has 12% Catholic population of 4 million people, while the 21 million people are 27% catholic. However I did see the Dali Lama in Nelson of all places.

    “The Masters Games” Yes. It’s already based at the Uni and many of the games played across the road at Logan park. They are looking to make it the biggest masters games in the world (imagine thinking big the shame of it). Why not hold equestrian indoors there? Why not hold a masters cricket final in there (they don’t need proper dimensions).

    The Southern Lakes region already secured a mini Winter Olympics from nowhere by someone getting off their behind and wanting it to happen.

    As for the no landscaping, yeah right. The original plan for the Chinese gardens also included no landscaping surrounding it, that was done. There will be landscaping, it just won’t be the stunning European boulevard styled paved cafe precinct I would love to see – well not from day one that’s for sure. I mean who would have thought that Blair st in Wellington would become one of the Eating capitals of NZ, or that putting 5,6,7,8 bars right next to each other at a dead end of CHCH would become the buzz place to be. Imagination people.

    Meg, am allowed to point out you being negative when you are. Do you know for a fact all of the events that will and won’t be in the stadium from day one.

  18. This stadium is still at least 3 years from completiton. 3 years out from the completion of the new Wembly they did not know of reveal (for commercial sensitivity) all of the acts and conferences to be held there. Ditto for the new O2 arena, the National Stadium in Wales. 3 years ago where they announcing the up coming acts to be playing at the new Vector Arena in Auckland?

    The biggest conference I’ve been to in Boston doesn’t know where it will be in 3 years time. Some of the biggest conferences in the world are science conferences, with upwards of 15,000 attendees, there is no law of economics, physics or politics which says we can’t host one of these. I mean who told the ChCh crowd they weren’t able to steal the Ellerslie Flower show?

    The Who don’t know 4 months out if they are going on tour, yet sell out every concert they stage. If the CST was to announce today who was opening the building, I’d be dissapointed, as who’s to say that act will still be about or even popular in 3 years time. You people are trying to nail down the CST to some pretty unrealistic expectations this far out, ones that aren’t expected or known for other stadiums in similar situations anywhere in the world.

  19. Meg Davidson

    I vote Compie for stadium manager. I’m sure he would do a great job.

  20. Meg Davidson

    No of course I don’t know for a fact what users are going to be in the stadium for day one. But if was going to spend $140m of public money on it I would at least try to find out. The CST doesn’t seem to have done this. Or if it has, it’s not telling us the results. If the bodies approached HAD said they would use the stadium, you may be sure the CST would be shouting it from the rooftops.
    Compie, I ask again, are the possible user groups which have not expressed an interest in using the stadium negative, or lacking in imagination, or what?

  21. Peter Entwisle

    You’re definitely a valiant trier Compie but there’s a few holes in your arguments.

    1. “Carisbrook needs to be replaced…”
    You’re assuming your conclusion. Does it? Or does it just need an upgrade? Also, upgraded Carisbrook or new covered stadium, will the NZRU give either many big matches? There are, or soon will be, more good facilities around New Zealand than big matches to fill them all for more than a few days each year. Even the CST says rugby isn’t enough to justify the stadium.

    2. Conferences: you’re still supposing there may be lots at Awatea Street when the CST’s Horwath report and the DCC both say there won’t be. It’s true some people in the past have said a lack of 5 star accommodation holds back conferencing in Dunedin. But even a DCC subsidised site hasn’t attracted a 5 star hotel although it’s been on offer since 1986 and the only new 5 star accommodation being built – the Dunedin Hilton – is being provided in the Exchange, remote from Awatea Street.

    3. Concerts: you continue to suppose the Wellington-based providers wouldn’t host ones in Dunedin because they would thereby hurt their hometown business. But these people provide concerts in Auckland and Christchurch so that argument doesn’t fly.

    4. The Dalai Lama has been to New Zealand but doesn’t attract big crowds. The Town Hall would probably do for him. And would the Pope really fill the stadium, supposing he could be persuaded to make a one venue tour to New Zealand and fixed on Dunedin for it? Billy Graham didn’t fill Carisbrook when he came in 1968 – but then he’s not the Pope.

    5. The Masters Games. These already do very nicely thank you at Logan Park. Why spend $188m on a stadium for them when those people are happy without one?

    It’s great to be positive Compie but it doesn’t make people able to walk on water. Why not use all that positivism and imagination – which you obviously have, and I’m serious – to think of something to do with all that money which would really benefit the city to an extent that would make it worthwhile? That’s the real challenge, I think.

  22. Peter,

    Carisbrook, replace or upgrade?

    Of course this is a subjective opinion, and always will be. However I feel that any money thrown at that grand old place will be good money at a patch-up job. Although I appreciate for many people this is the most preferable option. For me this is not an option, as even an upgrade (for the sort of money mentioned) will not result in the aesthetic impact of the building being any greater. It’s an ugly building with ugly add-ons and throwing more money at it will only produce further band aid aesthetics on the skin, and some pretty rooms on the inside. Nothing overly to be proud of.

    Conferences: Because they haven’t been in the past simply isn’t a good enough answer for why we can’t hold them in the future. If this was the sort of attitude that pervaded the economic growth thinking of Dunedin and it’s people, we simply must shut up shop now and save the country some money. Awatea St will be a little over 2.5km from the new Hilton, hardly Middlemarch. What would that be a $5 taxi ride. My hotel in Boston was 4x that away from the conference venue. Also that end of Dunedin is famous for it’s Motel accommodation, most of which is up to standard to host academics and the like. Not to mention they all pretty much stay in places like St Margaret’s and other University Halls of residence when they come to town for conferences (academics don’t have deep pockets). I just can’t buy into this argument.

    We must fight for good conferences – we got the Masters Games and the Under 17 Football World Cup tournament, nothing is impossible.

    Concerts: Again, because it hasn’t been done in the past just simply isn’t a good enough answer. The rival South Island venue, Westpac Stadium in CHCH is a hideous concrete cavern in which there should never be music played. The artists hate it, the promoters don’t care ($$) and the people hate it. Seriously it’s the musical equivalent to listening to an old gramophone through a monstrous concrete pipe, I should know I’ve been to plenty up there. But as mentioned the talk of a ‘mini’ Big Day Out has already been mooted, the artists can simply hop on the plane the next day and they are in OZ, something in the past which hasn’t been possible.

    I’m not actually saying the Dali Lama should be in the stadium, or the pope for that matter.

    The Masters Games does do nicely, but how about thinking for the future, and allow them to use the building too.

    All of the objections to the stadium raised in this blog are held up to be singular or in isolation, as reasons why we shouldn’t do it. I turn that on it’s head and say as a set of if’s, possibilities and maybe’s combined they all add up to a potentially great alive venue.

    The Pope on his own will never justify that sort of money, neither would Pink Floyd on a reunion tour, or Led Zep, The Who, George Michael, The Crusty Deamons, The Edinburgh Tattoo, Musicals of international quality and size, Evangelists, Conferences, sports events and cultural events, but as a combined package they would add up to the very justifiable spend of this magnitude.

    Although aesthetically not even a slight comparison to Guggenheim Bilbao (by the wildest imagination possible), I will draw the comparison for what that building has done for the city and region. It has become a single building that has signaled the enthusiasm and desire of the people, and through private development and other positive economic spin offs has turned the once relatively sleepy Basque city into a place of vision and prosperity. I’m not saying that the new stadium will do the same on the same scale, but if it does half of what I would think it’s capable of doing, then there is no way Dunedin would miss out on cultural and economic development. Making pretty street signs and building ugly glass clip ons to the town hall will never do anything more than put new ‘lippie’ on ole Dunners.

  23. Peter Entwisle

    Carisbrook replace or upgrade?

    The aesthetics of the result don’t depend on how much money you spend. And upgrades can be very successful aesthetically – look at the makeover of the old DIC in the Octagon into the new public art gallery.


    You are at odds with the CST here – in their proposal to the city – though not in their advertising, they have bowed to the advice in the Horwath Report and city council policy. Conferences in Dunedin will mostly be at the Dunedin Centre, not at Awatea Street.


    The argument is not that big concerts have never happened here before so they will never happen in the future. They used to happen here. I remember when the Beatles came to Dunedin at the height of their fame in 1964. But the economics of concert provision have changed. Since you don’t like Magan and Sprey’s advice read Murray Stott’s articles recently posted on the StS website. He’s known Dunedin since the Beatle days and has been staging big concerts and other events here and overseas since the 1970s. He’s currently doing it in Auckland. He has more of chapter and verse about why big concerts won’t be happening at Awatea Street.

    Turning the argument on its head.

    Any number of doubtful ifs don’t turn into some sort of positive. You have to look at possibilities and weigh their likelihood, case by case. The trouble with most of the proposed multi-uses for Awatea Street is they are either completely illusory – like Papal visits – now mercifully removed from the menu, or merely duplicate existing ones presently catered for elsewhere. What’s the point of supplying expensive duplicate facilities?


    Another case of numbers. The people there did not proportionately pay anything like what is being asked of Dunedin people for Awatea Street. As for the likely returns – well, as you acknowledge, the proposed design for Awatea Street isn’t in the Gehry league and as for the likely benefits – see immediately above. There’s no good reason to suppose they will materialise.

    Pretty street signs; glass clip ons.

    I don’t know what street signs you’re talking about and I thought you knew I’m opposed to building the glass clip on in Harrop Street. I’m a member of HoH (Hands off Harrop) as well as StS. More terrible negativism on my part – or perhaps just reasonable because the proposal would spoil some good buildings – as you seem to think as well.

  24. Kane David


    It has already been determined that Carisbrook needs to be replaced. Yes, it is possible that it “could” be upgraded however preliminary estimates suggest that this could cost as much as the new stadium anyhow since it would need a major upgrade to meet the requirements of the NZRFU to be able to host an international match.
    Even if an upgrade is made, it will still predominately be a “Rugby Ground” rather than a multipurpose stadium. If the interested parties are going to spend $188m for a new stadium compared to $150m to upgrade the existing one, then at a hunch, I’d say the $188m option would be the better one.

    With regards to Conferences and Conventions then I would generally agree that a new stadium wouldn’t be likely to attract dozens of conferences that some have suggested. This is primarily due to the fact that the venue isn’t being designed as a specialist conference venue. This is much like the Westpac Arena in Christchurch which rarely hosts conventions as they are held at the Convention Centre which, in my opinion, is a far more suitable venue for that type of event anyhow.

    That said, it is still possible and likely that the stadium could host major trade-show and exhibition type events. For example there is no reason why Dunedin wouldn’t be able to host an event of a similar nature to the “Field-days” expo that is held at Mystery Creek in Hamilton each year.

    As for concerts? While Dunedin isn’t typically on the “tour” circuit, it has generally been because of Dunedin’s low population base along with a general lack of a suitable venue. Now I am not going to suggest for a minute that artists such as U2 or the Rolling Stones would go to Dunedin, but I am sure that there are dozens more artists that you would perhaps put in the tier below those above that would consider Dunedin if they had the new stadium.

    Again, to pick a comparable example, Christchurch managed to woo Neil Diamond during the late 1990’s(?) for FOUR back to back concerts – all held at the 8000 seat Westpac Arena. Christchurch was the only city to host Neil Diamond… Why? Because we were the only city in NZ at the time to have a suitable facility. And even then, we originally only got TWO concerts which sold out in hours thus necessitating the need to put on two more.

    Now with Dunedins new stadium, you guys really have the upper hand as your venue will hold roughly 3 times the capacity of NZ’s second biggest indoor venue – Auckland’s Vector Arena. Sure, Dunedin doesn’t have the population on it’s own, but air travel has never been cheaper in this country, or between NZ and Aussie. Remember all those times when you hear people say “It’s cheaper to fly to Oz than it is to fly to Auckland?” Well with Dunedin’s growing tourism industry, it is only a matter of time when Syndeysiders might say “Why don’t we fly to Dunedin for a week… Do a bit of Skiing in Queenstown and catch that concert in Dunedin” and so on…

    The point of my rant is that at the moment, Dunedin does NOT know, and cannot easily quantify what opportunities it stands to lose by not having the stadium. If they chose not to build it, you will only ever be able to wonder “What might have been”. Dozens of other cities around the world, and some in NZ have developed significantly as a result of council investment in infrastructure facilities with which to attract people to the city. Remember too that a city that attracts people, albeit tourists and other temporary visitors, creates economic growth, and therefore jobs, and therefore population growth which all helps to make Dunedin a more vibrant and attractive city for everyone. Without it, then in 2050, Dunedin will still be stagnant with 118,000 people thereabouts.

  25. Kane,

    thanks so much for dropping by and making the time to comment. Careful though, you’re likely to be labelled too positive (seemingly a bad thing).

  26. Meg Davidson

    Kane David, I suggest you read opinion piece by three Dunedin City Councillors in the ODT today (21.8.08). The stadium budget does not include facilities for expos, concerts or even rugby tests. There is no kitchen, lounge or bar fitout, no broadcasting facilities and no big screen. It’s hard to imagine how it can attract any events at all when all we will be getting for $188m is just a big empty shell. This is not negativity talking. This is FACT. It is all in the peer reviews, which Paul says he has read. Denying the truth is not positive. It is just stupid.

  27. Meg

    this has been refuted and some. So there are going to be no catering facilites or bars what so ever at the new stadium. This will please many of the old folk who landed in Dunedin, the first Dry stadium in the world. Well that is, except for the bars where they will be serving beer to the sports fans.

    BTW, these facts have since been fully refuted in today’s paper.

    If I am stupid, what is the contortion, and mirrors game that the StS is playing with the truth?

    Can we please leave the bleeding stupidity at home. I would have 100x more respect for you people if you just said, “I don’t like or want the stadium” But to make claim after claim (remember the 20,000 seat claim, now it’s a dry stadium) only to have these shot down as quick as they are published, lacks any credibility in my books.

    A good friend, works in event management. One of the biggest aspects of their business is the mobile catering facilities they provide. I’m sure some enterprising company in Dunedin is now rubbing it’s hands together and getting the contacts of the CST after this revelation that they might be catering for 32,000 at a Dunedin Test.

  28. Meg Davidson

    For goodness sake Paul, READ THE PEER REVIEWS. Someone is being bleedingly stupid here, and it’s not me. The fact that there would be no kitchen and food and beverage fitout, and the fact that the CST had not factored that fact into its business case for the stadium, was of concern to the peer reviewers. Perhaps they were secretly in the employ of STS? Perhaps they hadn’t taken their positivity pills for the day?

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