Eden Park bosses confident Te Matatini is a go, despite swamped stadium

By Will Trafford

Eden Park's pitch became a 'basin' for the surrounding area as concert-goers arrived for Elton John's final world tour last week. Photo / Supplied

Bosses of the country's largest stadium say they're confident Te Matatini will go ahead in two weeks' time, despite the stadium's pitch resembling more waterpark than rugby park - after Auckland's record rainfall.

Questions were raised about the state of the venue after images emerged of its pitch completely underwater this week, but park bosses tell teaomaori.news it's still a go for Te Matatini.

"We are looking forward to hosting the internationally recognised Te Matatini festival." the organisation said in a statement.

"Our team is 100% focused on ensuring the stadium is fit for purpose."

Engineers have investigated the flooding and the water is now "draining effectively". The park's managers say they've even been able to share their pumping equipment with other venues across the region.

"We have been incredibly humbled by all the offers of local and international support, and we are privileged to be part of such a kind community," the operator said.

Eden Park is scheduled to host Te Matatini from February 22-25, with 50,000 people expected to pass through the gates during the three-day kapa haka festival.

Last Friday Auckland's second stadium Mt Smart was supposed to play host to record crowds for Elton John's farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, when organisers pulled the plug just 30 minutes before the concert, as water engulfed the pitch there.

Eden Park management say the unseasonal weather resulted in the aquifer beneath their park "filling to the point that it reached ground level", effectively making the park a basin for the surrounding area.

The second field at Eden Park remains flooded after heavy rain early on Wednesday. Photo / David White / Stuff

The second field at Eden Park remains flooded after heavy rain early on Wednesday. Photo / David White / Stuff

"The bulk of the surface water that can be seen on Eden Park’s turf originates from surrounding roads and properties, not as a result of rainfall," the park management says.

British chart-topping pop singer Ed Sheeran is scheduled to play the final concerts of his New Zealand tour at Eden Park next Friday and Saturday but the operators say they're confident they'll be ready for that too.

"We are looking forward to hosting Ed Sheeran next weekend," the statement says.

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