Many memories in terraces
ON MATCH day at Eden Park the action on the terraces often overshadows what’s going on out in the middle.
But that all comes to an end after the Bledisloe Cup clash between the All Blacks and the Wallabies tomorrow.
Demolition of the stand, which was built in stages between 1967 and 1972, begins at the end of the month in preparation for the building of the new east stand before the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Regular terraces patron Mike Mead says he often turns down offers of tickets to the park’s corporate boxes because there’s a real social element to sitting in the infamous stand.
“People come back from overseas and you know where everyone’s going to be.
“You never know who’s going to be there. Someone might show up after five or 10 years.”
The Mt Eden resident, who first began sitting on the terraces in 1991, often tried to get one over on the security guards in his younger days with plenty of mates in tow.
“We once got a Japanese guy to smuggle 30 beers in and we got him through fine.
“When the guards approached him he started spouting Japanese and walked off.”
These days matches on the terraces are a family affair with Mr Mead’s children Ella, 6, and Hannah, 3, both having their first experience in the stand as babies.
“They love it. They can run around and have a play.
“There’s a good bit of humour there from time to time.”
However, in more recent times the family sat elsewhere during international cricket games because of the rowdy atmosphere.
One part of the terraces Mr Mead won’t be sorry to see go are the bucket seats that were installed several years ago.
“You need a towel to dry them off before you sit down.”
Mr Mead says he’ll be interested to see whether the atmosphere of the terraces is transferred to the new stand.
“You have to have an area where people can do what they like.”
Eden Park Redevelopment Board chief executive Adam Feeley says people will have mixed emotions about the terraces’ last hurrah.
“You either love them or hate them.
“There’s a fair bit of history there, with some of the park’s livelier moments.”
He is confident people will quickly adapt to the new 8600-seat east stand.
“There’s going to be a bit of nostalgia but it will probably lapse pretty quickly.”
The Panasonic stand next to the terraces will be replaced by about 2000 seats in the extension of the ASB stand.
Before the redevelopment the terraces held around 14,000 people.
While capacity on the eastern side of the ground is reduced by more than 3000 Mr Feeley says people will have more space after being jammed in on poor quality seats in the past.
The east and south stands are expected to be complete by October next year, while 10,000 temporary seats installed in mid-2011 will boost capacity to 60,000 for the world cup.