Yarrow Stadium

Yarrow Stadium is situated in the central suburb of Westown in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand, with main vehicle access off Maratahu Street. Named the third best rugby stadium on earth by New Zealand Rugby World magazine in May 2009, Yarrow Stadium (known as Stadium Taranaki for the Rugby World Cup 2011) conforms with the International Rugby Board's "clean stadium" policy.[2]

Yarrow Stadium
'The Bull Ring'
'The Fish Bowl'
Full nameYarrow Stadium
Former namesRugby Park, Stadium Taranaki
LocationNew Plymouth, New Zealand
Coordinates39°4′13″S 174°3′54″E / 39.07028°S 174.06500°E / -39.07028; 174.06500Coordinates: 39°4′13″S 174°3′54″E / 39.07028°S 174.06500°E / -39.07028; 174.06500
Capacity30,000 (30,345 with standing room)[1]
SurfaceGrass with sand base
ScoreboardLocated at the southern end of the ground
Broke groundJanuary 1931
BuiltJune 10th 1947 (Renovated July 18th 2002)
OpenedAugust 1972
Construction costNZ$15 million
ArchitectWarren and Mahoney
Chiefs (Super Rugby)
Hurricanes (Super Rugby) (1996-2013)
Taranaki Rugby Football Union (ITM Cup)
Team Taranaki (Central Premier League)
Taranaki Sharks (NZRL)
Central Districts Stags (NZC)

The primary tenant of this 25,000-capacity stadium is the Taranaki Rugby Football Union which has a representative team playing in the country's principal rugby union competition, the Mitre 10 Cup. Since 2013, the stadium has played host to the Chiefs team as part of a new alliance, after Taranaki cut their ties with the Wellington-based Hurricanes.

The venue was first developed as a rugby ground in 1931, with the first stadium completed in 1947. Further stands were built at the same end and older ones demolished. Four floodlight towers were built in 1998 to hold night events. A major redevelopment saw two new grandstands added and considerable modernisation in 2002, and further enhancements to the venue were completed in 2010, raising the capacity to more than 25,500 for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and other fixtures.

The stadium is a personal legacy of the late Noel Yarrow, a pioneering Taranaki baker and businessman, and active philanthropist. Noel was a passionate rugby supporter, and the major grandstand overlooking the field's western sideline is a tribute to his support.

Currently the western and eastern grandstand are an earthquake risk, not complying with current regulations. The east stand was condemned in November 2017 with the west stand being ruled out of action in June 2018. Rugby was played at the venue in 2018 but spectators had to watch matches from the ends. Temporary infrastructure was bought into cater for the changes as changing facilities and corporate areas were off limits.

In May 2019 owners, the Taranaki Regional Council, made a decision to repair and refurbish both grandstands in order for both stands to comply with earthquake regulations. The Taranaki Rugby Football Union and a catering company moved to alternative locations.[3]

It was announced in November 2020, that the East Stand will be demolished and will be replaced by a similar sized stand but with extra facilities at the back to house events without opening the entire stand. The contract to repair the West Stand was awarded to Clelands Construction in December 2020 and involves major earthquake strengthening works including improvements to ground stability, foundation tiebacks and new steel beams.[4] The roof of the West Stand will remain intact while the bleachers and seating are removed to gain access to the ground below. The West Stand is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, while the East Stand is due to be finished by 2023.

Venue descriptionEdit

  • Yarrow Stadium has four sports fields, the Legends Lounge, concourse and a variety of function rooms.
  • The turf on the main field is laid over irrigation lines and drains on a sand profile.
  • The main field has two grandstands providing undercover seating, terraced and embankment uncovered seating and standing areas.
  • The stadium also has a full sound system, fully electronic scoreboard and floodlights.
  • Fields one, two and three have training level floodlighting. Field two is behind the Eastern Stand (TSB STAND), field three and four are behind the scoreboard on the southern end of the ground.
  • Car parks are situated behind the TSB Bank (eastern side)
  • It was announced in 2009 that Yarrow Stadium was to have a $1.5 million upgrade for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. An extra two thousand or so seats were added on the end embankments, and media facilities were improved.

Legends LoungeEdit

The Legends Lounge is on the top floor of the TSB Bank Stand and has panoramic views of both playing arenas and the back fields. It is used for business conferences, dinners, sales presentations and meetings, and has a capacity of 300 seated and 650 standing.


  • Internal speaker system
  • Power
  • Data points
  • Portable stage
  • Staircase and lift access is at each end of the lounge with direct access to the seating deck.
  • Two kitchens, bar and toilet facilities are located at each end of the lounge so that the area can be partitioned for smaller functions.

Additional corporate boxes are being built at the top of the western stand on either side of the media area.

Players/Media areaEdit

  • As the main stand is currently closed, temporary facilities were built in the southeastern compound which can accommodate two teams, match officials, medical personnel with two smaller changing rooms. These are built to Super Rugby standard.
  • Ordinarily, two main change rooms, each with a connecting warm-up room, are located at ground level of the TSB Bank Stand. Five subsidiary changing rooms are located at ground level of the TSB Bank Stand for other teams and referees.
  • A medical room, drug testing room, media interview room and match day office are all located adjacent to the main changing room at the ground level of the TSB Bank Stand. Also located at Yarrow Stadium is the HQ of the Taranaki Rugby Football Union (TRFU). Their officers and a gym are located in the northern end of the TSB Bank Stand.
  • Media: There are media facilities in the western grandstand, "Noel and Melva Yarrow Stand". There is a camera lounge on halfway with four adjacent media boxes for television, radio, additional commentary and television match official/third umpire usage. Other media boxes for extra commentary were built next to the primary boxes prior to 2011 for additional commentary. Scaffolding platforms are temporarily built for cameras during cricket coverage at both ends of the ground. Extra media areas for print media and non-rights holders have an area at the top of the TSB Stand side. Broadcast parking (broadcast compound) is behind the western grandstand.
  • The big screen is located at the top of the southern embankment. An additional screen is brought in by the TSB Community Trust if required.


In the past Yarrow Stadium has hosted Relay for Life, Multi-ethnic Extravaganza and Searchlight Tattoo.[5] Yarrow's has also hosted a number of cricket matches including the Central Districts when they clashed with Sri Lanka. Cricket is usually played at Pukekura Park, because of the incorrect size of Yarrow Stadium's number 1 field. However Yarrow Stadium hosted many matches in the New Zealand domestic Twenty20 cricket competition in the 2015/16 summer the first time in 14 years using a drop in pitch.

In February 2007 about 8000 people attended the Crusty Demons Kiwi Carnage Tour show at Yarrow Stadium to watch the 12-strong team of Kiwi, Australian, and American motorcycle riders perform back-flips and stunts known as the "rock solid" and the "ruler".[6]

In March 2009 the Crusty Demons Unleashed Hell Tour stopped in at Yarrow Stadium and put on a show for the approximately 6500 people who attended the event. Stunts performed by the six riders included the dangerous double back-flip.[7]

Postponed by 24 hours due to rain, the Nitro Circus team made up of around 30 motocross, BMX, FMX, inline skaters and scooter athletes performed at Yarrow Stadium on 12 February 2017. Using a range of different sized ramps, including the 15 metre high Gigantor Ramp, the riders launched themselves into the air on everything from motorbikes and scooters to a couch and a whisky barrel.

Members of the crowd were also called onto the field to take part in the show, with three volunteers jumping on a single motorbike with one of the Nitro riders to perform a back flip, while another went down the ramp on another guy's back.[8]


Date Team No. 1 Res. Team No. 2 Sport Attendance Notes
2000-06-17   New Zealand Māori 18–15   Scotland Rugby union 2000 Scotland tour
2003-06-09   New Zealand Māori 9–23   England Rugby union 20,000 2003 England tour
2006-06-17   Samoa 53–9   Japan Rugby union 4,200 2006 IRB Pacific 5 Nations
2006-06-17   Junior All Blacks 38–10   Tonga Rugby union 4,200 2006 IRB Pacific 5 Nations
2008-09-03   New Zealand 101–14   Samoa Rugby union 22,518 2008 Samoa tour
2010-06-12   New Zealand 66–28   Ireland Rugby union 25,064 2010 Ireland tour
2011-09-11   Ireland 22–10   United States Rugby union 20,823 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match
2011-09-15   Russia 6–13   United States Rugby union 13,931 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match
2011-09-26   Wales 81–7   Namibia Rugby union 13,710 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool D match
2013-06-22   New Zealand 24–9   France Rugby union 23,300 2013 France tour
2005-02-13 New Zealand Warriors 20–10 Parramatta Eels Rugby league 9,500 2005 NRL pre-season
2016-05-21 New Zealand Warriors 12–38 Canberra Raiders Rugby league 12,833 2016 NRL season round 9
1950-07-08 Taranaki 3–25 British Lions Rugby union 1950 British Lions tour
1959-08-08 Taranaki 3–15 British Lions Rugby union 1959 British Lions tour
1966-07-02 Taranaki 9–12 British Lions Rugby union 1966 British Lions tour
1971-07-03 Taranaki 9–14 British Lions Rugby union 1971 British Lions tour
1977-05-28 Taranaki 13–21 British Lions Rugby union 1977 British Lions tour
1993-06-16 Taranaki 25–49 British Lions Rugby union 1993 British Lions tour
2005-06-08 Taranaki 14–36 British & Irish Lions Rugby union 22,000 2005 British & Irish Lions tour
2008-10-12 All Golds 44–10 New Zealand Māori Rugby league 2008 Rugby League World Cup pre-season
2014-10-25 Taranaki 36–32 Tasman Rugby union 21,000 2014 ITM Cup premiership final

IRB Rugby World Cup 2011Edit

Stadium Taranaki, as Yarrow Stadium was temporarily renamed for the World Cup, hosted three matches during the pool play stage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup:

Date Team No. 1 Res. Team No. 2 Round Attendance
2011-09-11   Ireland 22–10   United States Pool C 20,823
2011-09-15   Russia 6–13   United States Pool C 13,931
2011-09-26   Wales 81–7   Namibia Pool D 13,710


While Pukekura Park is the traditional cricket venue in New Plymouth, Yarrow Stadium held matches over the years. It hosted two first-class one-day matches before its major development, completed in 2002 when Central Districts hosted Wellington in 1998 then Otago a year later. Central Districts returned in the summer of 2003 to play Wellington before a one-day match against Sri Lanka in 2004, despite the smaller boundaries. All four matches were under lights. In 2015, the stadium was used to host the final and semi-finals of the Georgie Pie Super Smash matches along with Pukekura Park. There were a handful of matches scheduled at the stadium for the 2016/17 season.[9][10][11][12][13]

Rugby LeagueEdit

For a single match, Yarrow Stadium acted as the home ground for the New Zealand Warriors as they played against the Canberra Raiders in the National Rugby League competition on 21 May 2016. Captained by Ryan Hoffman, the Warriors trailed the Raiders 20-0 at halftime eventually losing to the away team 38-12. More than 12,000 people turned up to watch the game and also hometown hero, Hāwera's own Issac Luke. The Warriors scored two tries to the Raider's six.[14][15]


Referred to as Stadium Taranaki for the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, the venue played host to Group E and the Brazil v Uruguay match in the Round of 16 knockout round.

The Wellington Phoenix played against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Yarrow Stadium on Saturday 4 February 2017. With just 40 percent of the possession the Wanderers beat a 10-man Phoenix team 3-1 in their round 18 A-League match in New Plymouth. Goal scorers for the Wanderers were Brendon Santalab (2) and Nicolás Martínez, and Shane Smeltz for the Phoenix.[16][17]



In 2002, work on a $17m redevelopment of the park was completed with ground capacity believed to be 25,000. But while 22,500 crammed in for the All Blacks match against Manu Samoa in 2008, the game revealed the stadium could safely hold just 17,000.

Heavy rain or other problems during the match could have resulted in safety issues for people sitting at either end of the ground. Council re-evaluations of the stadium's capacity showed that to meet self-imposed health and safety standards the stadium could hold only 17,000 people. The region's World Cup bid and future ability to attract top games such as another All Blacks test meant a greater capacity was needed.

The upgrade plans included levelling out the northern grass bank to make grass terraces with standing room for 8500 people, up from the estimated 1,500. At the southern end of the ground, 3,200 plastic shell seats replaced the concrete seating underneath the scoreboard. At both the northern and southern ends of the field, concrete walls were removed and the crowd area brought back down to ground level just six metres from the dead-ball line. Additional broadcast media facilities were installed next to existing media boxes. Print media and non-rights holder positions are based in tribunes at the rear of the TSB Bank Stand.[18]


  1. ^ Yarrow Stadium (NZ)
  2. ^ "Stadium third best in the world". 18 May 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  3. ^ "The decision has been made, Council determines future of Yarrow Stadium". 21 May 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Stadium update: Taranaki Contractor starts West Stand repairs". 7 December 2020. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  5. ^ "Multi-Ethnic Extravaganza". 30 April 2009.
  6. ^ "Acrobats on motorbikes rev up crowd". 22 February 2007.
  7. ^ "Demons unleash hell". 10 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Nitro Circus comes to New Plymouth a day late but worth the wait". 13 February 2017.
  9. ^ New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium to host Twenty20 finals weekend
  10. ^ T20 cricket returning to New Plymouth and will play at Yarrow Stadium
  11. ^ Yarrow Stadium
  12. ^ Cricbuzz
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "'We just don't want to defend': Warriors humiliated by Raiders in New Plymouth". 21 May 2016.
  15. ^ "Warriors fans delight at meeting their heroes in New Plymouth". 20 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Wellington Phoenix control possession but fall 3-1 to Western Sydney Wanderers in New Plymouth". 4 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Wellington Phoenix v Western Sydney Wanderers Match Report". 4 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Yarrow Stadium to get World Cup facelift". Stuff.co.nz. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2009.

External linksEdit