Stadium's driving force looks forward to royal visit

Last updated 05:00 11/04/2014

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He's the man who's delivered a stadium fit for a prince.

After years of hard toil, Dunedin businessman Malcolm Farry will have the stadium he built - the $198 million Forsyth Barr Stadium - presented to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday.

The Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman, who is now based in Queenstown, was a driving force behind the stadium - fighting a torrent of anti-stadium sentiment.

He even speculated at the time a feasibility study was being done for the stadium that a multi-purpose stadium would draw royalty to the southern region.

"We thought royal tours would fit brilliantly into the stadium because of the roof," Farry said.

The roof allowed it to host a range of activities that would be of interest to a royal tour party and preserved them from the elements, he said.

The duke and duchess will attend a ripper rugby mini-tournament at the stadium on Sunday, with All Blacks Richie McCaw, Aaron Smith and Ben Smith keeping them company.

Thousands of people were expected to converge on the stadium and 4000 free tickets have been snapped up.

"Everyone wants to see the couple, the potential future king and queen," Farry said.

The visit to the stadium would be great international coverage for the region and the couple's visit the city "gives a lift to the community", he said.

Through all the lows and highs the stadium brought, and the continuing debate over its costs to the ratepayers, Farry says he will have great joy seeing the stadium host the royals.

 

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