Venues: Uncertainty about top-flight cricket at Pukekura Park

Tuesday, May 28 2024

Venues: Uncertainty about top-flight cricket at Pukekura Park

Will Johnston  

The future of domestic cricket at Pukekura Park is up-in-the-air after the New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) voted to only repair the battered Bellringer Pavilion. 

During yesterday's ten-year long-term plan deliberations, councillors voted against a recommendation to invest $8million in building a new pavilion. Instead, they opted to repair the existing building for $3million or to devise a cheaper alternative.  

Council had originally consulted on a $16million rebuild option but had altered this following the feedback stages. A new recommendation meant council could fund up to $8million of the development with a further $2million needed to be fundraised through venue users.  

The new building, which was proposed to be developed at the southwestern corner of the ground, would meet New Zealand Cricket (NZC) requirements.  

The decision means there is more uncertainty about whether domestic cricket will return to the picturesque ground after NZC threatened to blacklist the venue citing issues with the current pavilion.  

“We don’t know what this will mean for the future of top-level and televised domestic cricket in Taranaki at this stage,” Taranaki Cricket general manager Ryan Evans said.  

“Taranaki Cricket was very disappointed in the NPDC councillors’ decision yesterday and we’re sure that many people, who responded to the NPDC telling them they wanted a pavilion upgrade, will be disappointed too.”  

He said it will take some time to work through the decision and its implications alongside their key stakeholders and look at “where to from here.” 

“We will continue to advocate for our sport and for opportunities to respect and protect the legacy of Pukekura Park into the future.”  

Taranaki Cricket underwent its own survey, which attracted over 400 submissions, and presented its findings to councilors. Evans said the results were close between building a new pavilion and repairing the existing building.  

NPDC’s consultation had 2,488 respondents. The public’s view was also close as 40.4% favoured the repair at $1million, while 40.1% wanted the new development. 

The park has been a key venue for Central Districts matches in the Twenty20 and one-day competitions for both men and women and has hosted many finals across those formats. 

Central Districts chief executive Lance Hamilton is equally disappointed.  

“We share Taranaki Cricket’s sentiments, and we’ll be working through the implications with them in due course,” he said.