Together with so many much-loved aspects of Christchurch, the city's primary sports ground Lancaster Park was laid low by the earthquake of February 2011. This was also the home of county rugby team the Crusaders, making the loss even harder. It was recognised early on that one way to rejuvenate civic pride would be to speedily create a new home base for the local sporting heroes and symbolise the city's recovery and rebuild. However, with the rugby season fast approaching, time was critical. Always playing away had put a strain on the red-and-black team's coffers and also meant Christchurch's beleaguered citizens had no home matches to offer light relief.
Driven by charitable entity the Christchurch Stadium Trust, the City Council and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, or CERA, the decision was made to build a temporary, 18,000-seat multipurpose stadium. The idea was to use existing resources from around the country and create temporary stands from scaffolding.
Before the site was chosen, Populous was asked to create generic designs to suit a range of situations drawing on its experience with Forsyth Barr Stadium and London's Olympic stadiums. After several options and sites were considered, an existing sports field by Addington showgrounds was selected this was owned by the city council and a resource consent was issued under the CERA legislation due to time constraints.
Originally the home of Canterbury Rugby League, the site had small stands and two fields end to end, says project director Daryl Maguire.
"Within this pretty tight space we put the main field, two covered stands, two open stands, player, coach and media facilities, food and beverage portacoms, toilets and a public concourse."