Earthquake risk prompts stadium closure


Yarrows Taranaki Bulls rugby club on New Zealand’s North Island is without a home base following the sudden closure this week of its stadium.

The decision – driven by what the club calls “a safety-first approach” – was taken after geotechnical testing on the stadium’s West Stand. Tests showed that the ground stability of the bank beneath the stand make it a significant earthquake risk. The tests were commissioned by stadium owner the Taranaki Stadium Trust (TST) after a November report found the stadium’s East Stand was earthquake-prone.

“It’s a real blow and we apologise to everyone involved,” says TST trustee, Mike Nield. He added that it was too early to speculate on the future of the stadium but that the TST would continue investigating the next steps.

“This is a blow but we remain committed to having a facility in Taranaki capable of hosting top-flight sporting events. We’ll be looking at our options and while the loss of Yarrow for 2018 is a setback, it gives us opportunities to look at some of the different choices available to us,” Nield said.

The 25,500-seat Yarrow Stadium, in New Plymouth, was built in 1947, with two new grandstands added in 2002 as part of an extensive modernization program. It was named the third-best rugby stadium on Earth by New Zealand Rugby World magazine in May 2009.

June 8, 2018

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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