Stadium in the best of company

Last updated 05:00 02/12/2013
tdn stad stand
Yarrow Stadium

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Yarrow Stadium has been judged as one of the three best venues in the country, having been named a finalist for a national award.

The winner of the 2013 Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand award will be announced in Auckland today, with Yarrow Stadium up against Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium and Auckland's Vector Arena.

"It's excellent news and we're very excited about it," New Plymouth District Council manager of recreation and events Ron Murray said.

The old Rugby Park, in the heart of New Plymouth's Westown, was redeveloped in 2002 to become Yarrow Stadium at a cost of more than $17 million.

More significant developments were made in 2010 before the Rugby World Cup when the terraces were overhauled and seating placed at the southern end of the ground.

The stadium has hosted a variety of events since it was upgraded, including three All Blacks tests and three Rugby World Cup matches and it will host six football games during the Fifa under-20 World Cup in 2015.

Mr Murray believed the nomination came about not only from the past 12 months, when 25,000 filled the stadium for the All Blacks match against France, but over a significant period.

"We haven't received any feedback yet but we feel quite confident that the profile of Yarrow Stadium has increased over the years with the Rugby World Cup and the All Blacks matches," he said.

"We don't think it's been a flash in the pan because there has been a sustained attempt to keep Yarrow Stadium in the national and international spotlight and that has been noticed."

It is not the first time the stadium has been recognised as a venue.

In 2009, New Zealand Rugby World magazine named it as the third best rugby ground in the world for its "distinctly Kiwi" atmosphere and the "shared, intense experience" the stands created by being so close to the playing arena.

As well as the stadium, Taranaki Arts Festival Trust's venue manager at the TSB Showplace, Megan Brown, has been named a finalist in the Rising Star of the Year award, which will also be made today.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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