“I’m thrilled to announce that we are going to be making a decision on the future of this iconic Wellington landmark,” the Mayor says.
“We want to retain the Basin Reserve’s place as the premier cricket ground in New Zealand and celebrate the heritage of cricket.
“A central part of the character and history of the ground is the Museum Stand, from recognising Brendon McCullum’s great 302 high score in the museum window to the famously Spartan official lunches served to players in the 1960s and 70s by cricket commentator Bryan Waddle’s mother Rita during rep matches.”
The building and grandstand has been yellow-stickered and, apart from the museum on the ground floor, closed to the public since 2012, following engineering reports that put it at 23 per cent of New Build Standard (NBS). It is required to be demolished or upgraded by 2022.
Three proposals for strengthening have been prepared for councillors’ consideration. All would enable the stand to re-open.
The cost ranges from $7.4m to $11m, and all options include strengthening the roof to 100 per cent of NBS.
The recommended option is $7.76m, which will strengthen the building to 50 per cent of code. The funding will come from a reprioritisation of the Basin Reserve Redevelopment budget, meaning no new money is needed.
The expected cost to Council will be $6.7m with the Basin Reserve Trust contributing $1m. The strengthened and refurbished stand will return the main entrance, staircase and exterior to the original condition, upgrade the stand’s public toilets and add two new accessible toilets.
There will be spaces for the Cricket Museum and Cricket Wellington offices.
Cr Fleur Fitzsimons, the council representative on the Basin Reserve Trust, says the trust, council and other key stakeholders have been engaged in finding a solution for the stand and are happy with the results.
“Those we have talked to have indicated they are pleased we are proposing a scheme that will allow us to strengthen and refurbish the stand rather than demolish it.”
Cr Iona Pannett, who holds the heritage and resilience portfolios, says retaining the heritage-listed building is the right call for the city.
“I’m pleased that, aside from the heritage benefits of bringing this stand back to life, the seismic strengthening proposed is very pragmatic and will deliver a solution that enables us to re-open this iconic grandstand to spectators.”
Wellington City Council will vote on the future of the Basin Reserve Museum Stand at the City Strategy Committee meeting on Thursday 17 May.
History of the Museum Stand
- The Museum Stand was opened in 1925, replacing the original Caledonian Stand that as built in 1868. The cost of the new stand was £16,710 ($1.6 million today). The 94-year-old stand is a Category 2 Heritage Listed building.
- The Edward Dixon Clock that was installed in the first grandstand, the Caledonian, was moved to the new stand and is still there.
- The downstairs area of the stand was used as a boxing gym in the late 1930s and 40s.
- The Museum Stand was so named when the NZ Cricket Museum was opened in 1987.
- The Basin Reserve is one of New Zealand’s most historic sporting grounds. In 1998 it was registered by Heritage New Zealand as a Historic Area, the first sports ground to be recognised in this way.
- Although the Basin Reserve is primarily a cricket ground, over the years it has also hosted hockey, rugby union, rugby league, football, cycling, rifle practice, band displays, dog racing, baseball, lacrosse, softball, open-air religious services, concerts, opera, jamborees, military displays and political and royal visits.