More love and compassion – Elton John

February 5, 2020

Thoughts from Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour:

 

* Thank goodness the people who wanted a roof on Forsyth Barr Stadium prevailed.

It was pouring with rain in Dunedin and it was cold but at least we were dry under the roof.

* The oldies are still the goodies.

The audience had a wide age-range, including people who wouldn’t have been born when Elton started performing 50-odd years ago but young and old were dancing, singing and enjoying themselves.

* Technology enhances the act.

It was a performance on stage and screen that was aurally and visually spectacular.

* More love and compassion.

That was Elton’s message on what the world needs more of and he’s right.


365 days of gratitude

June 23, 2018

An evening of rugby under cover at Forsyth Barr Stadium, catching up with friends, meeting some new people, having fun, a fast-paced exciting game, a win to the All Black and a safe trip home, for all of which I’m grateful.


Stadiums don’t make profits but

April 3, 2018

Economists generally agree that stadiums don’t make profits.

I am not equipped to argue against that but, profitable or not, Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium is making a huge contribution to the social life and economy not just of the city but the wider region.

South-bound traffic was bumper to bumper on State Highway 1 through Oamaru on Thursday as people from Canterbury headed to Dunedin for Ed Sheeran’s first concert.

Traffic heading north and east to the city were just as busy.

The ODT reported on a city full of people enjoying themselves, and spending up large through the weekend.

North-bound traffic was bumper to bumper as people headed home yesterday and businesses en route benefitted from travellers who stopped.

Riverstone Kitchen, north of Oamaru and a few kilometres on the right side of the Waitaki River, is always popular with locals and travellers.

But this Facebook post shows how busy it was this weekend, owing in no small part to concert goers stopping on their way to and from Dunedin.

Easter Weekend – 5 record breaking MAMMOTH DAYS!

Here’s a few stats for you:
38kg Coffee used
over 1/2 tonne of potatoes
25 staff with an accumulated 916 hours worked
2420 people eating in the restaurant ( plus many more takeaways we didn’t count)
95kg fish
312 litres milk
and 218 Hot Cross Buns (sold on just 1 day!)

We hope you all had a good weekend and got to relax a little more than we did.  . . 

The building of the stadium attracted a lot of critics, some still argue against it. They may have grounds for their criticism.

But when the stadium has a show that attracts visitors numbering more than half the city’s population and their spending benefits many businesses en route as well, the optimism of those who backed it is vindicated too.

 


Rod still rocks

April 12, 2015

How many 70 year-olds could keep an audience of mostly 50+ in age on their feet for an hour and a half?

Rod Stewart did it at Forsyth Barr stadium last night when most had already been dancing during James Reyne’s opening act.

Rod gave us all the old hits, a few lesser known songs, sensational lighting and shared the limelight with the musicians and backing singers too.

It’s a pity the photo doesn’t show his stunning shoes and leopard skin socks.

Rod Stewart


28 -27, phew!

June 15, 2014

Dunedin’s Octagon was a sea of black with a very few splashes of red and white before last night’s game.

The sell-out crowd at the Forsyth Barr stadium was also showing its true colours were mostly shades of black.

Before the kick-off the mood was buoyant. The crowd quietened somewhat as England scored the first points and by half-time with the score at 10-6, with the All Blacks behind, there was a fair degree of nervousness.

However, it looked like a different team in the second half and when Ben Smith touched down for his first try as an All Black in front of his home crowd, and put the ABs in front.

He’d been equally as impressive in the first half with sprint half way up the field which ended in a try-saving tackle.

Tries by Ma’a Nonu and Julian Savea followed and with minutes to go the score was 28-27 but England managed a late try.

The All Blacks have already won the three-match series, the Steinlager Cup and the Hillary Shield.

 

abs

 

 

 

 

 

 

But if this is the second-string English team it was described as before the tour, the All Blacks have a lot of work to do.

They won’t be wasting time admiring the silver-ware, they’ll be preparing for another hard test next week.

And that one won’t be played in nearly as good conditions for the teams, or spectators, as last night’s thanks to the stadium roof.


Win tickets to Otago Food Wine & Music Festival

October 28, 2013

The Otago Food Wine & Music Festival is being held at Forsyth Barr Stadium Dunedin on Saturday November 23.

If you like the Facebook page and share the post on the contest before midnight tomorrow you’ll be in to win a double pass:

Win a double pass to the Festival. LIKE our page AND SHARE this post to be in the draw to win a double pass to the Otago Food Wine and Music Festival. Closes midnight Monday 28th October.

Music – Jackie Thomas, Benny Tipene, Tom Batchelor, Jody Direen, The Chills, Matt Langley, Kylie Price and others.

Enjoy scrumptious Otago wines, and gourmet food, on the pitch at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. November 23rd from 12 noon.

Tickets – Adults $49, Secondary School Students $25 (Ticket Direct).


Loving the stadium

October 20, 2013

Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium wasn’t universally welcomed and mumblings about its cost to ratepayers continues.

But yesterday the city was buzzing and a near-capacity crowd enjoyed a wonderful game of rugby there in comfort.

It was a mild evening but even so it was probably the first time most of the crowd had watched a test in Dunedin in shirt sleeves.

The roof climate-proofs events and that matters this far south.

Rugby was the winner last night but the stadium is used for a variety of other activities which are much more enjoyable for being held under cover.

Among these is the Otago wine and food festival which will take place at the stadium on November 23rd.

Economists say that people putting the case for stadiums overestimate the benefits and underestimate the costs.

But not everything can be measured in money.

Dunedin isn’t feeling very positive at the moment but the stadium is a bright spot which brings locals together and attracts people from other places too.


Mr Brown’s boys

September 1, 2013

The Otago rugby team  and the Ranfurly shield they won were welcomed back to Dunedin last week by a crowd of 1000 and a banner reading: “Welcome Home, Mr Brown’s Boys”.

The province has celebrated but coach Tony Brown and the team have been focussed on something more important than celebrating the win – retaining the shield.

. . . There is no point giving up the trophy in week one after having waited more than 20,000 days to have it. The first week has been a great ride and no-one wants to jump off so quickly. . .

Forsyth Barr Stadium has been renamed Tony Brown’s place for the occasion.

We were at Carisbrook when it was dubbed Tony Brown’s place for a Super 12 final in 1999.

Unfortunately the Highlanders weren’t able to beat the Crusaders that day.

All my fingers and toes are crossed that the party at Tony Brown’s place this afternoon when Otago defends the shield against the Hawkes Bay Magpies, has a much happier outcome.

Go Otaaaago!

P.S.

Alwyn and I have a bottle of Otago or Hawkes Bay wine of the winner’s choice on the results. I’m happy to accept the same wager from others who doubt Otago.


The roof was the winner on the night

September 16, 2012

The economists tell us that stadiums (stadia?) don’t stack up financially.

The Forsyth Barr Stadium has plenty of critics who will feel vindicated by that but I doubt if anyone among the capacity crowd at the All Blacks’ first test there cared about that and the roof was the winner on the night.

The forecast was for wintry conditions. I was drizzling as we arrived for the match against the Springbok, but with a covered stadium, once we were inside it didn’t matter.

Only in Dunedin would pre-match entertainment include blokes in tutus – the Selwyn Ballet – and I am sure they too appreciated being under cover.

We were at the game as guests of Ravensdown which brought the bonus of pre-match banter from former All Blacks Buck Shelford, John Timu and Josh Kronfeld. Then there was after-match excitement when we were joined by Olympic rowers Mahe Drysdale and Juliette Haigh.

As for the rugby? A win’s a win but there were plenty of times when it looked like the 21 – 11 score in New Zealand’s favour could just have easily gone the other way.

At the final whistle it was the All Blacks ahead and the winners of the Freedom Cup.


Elton John rocks

November 26, 2011

Take 35,000 people, pour into the Forsyth Barr Stadium, add Elton John and ROCK!

Opening  artist Katie Thomson, a country singer from Hokitikia, warmed up the audience.

The introduction of Auckland rock guitarist Kara Gordon wasn’t very clear and it was only in reading this morning’s paper than I discovered she was doing a  Jimi Hendrix-inspired New Zealand National Anthem. No-one near us recognised it and several used the excuse of a loo-break to escape the noise.

Then Elton appeared on the screen to introduce his two cellists. They held us spell-bound with a couple of tunes before Elton bounded on stage and gave us more than two hours of old favourites mixed with a few newer songs.

He was fantastic, it was fun.

As the ODT said: Oh what a knight!

P.S.

What is it modern audiences don’t understand about concerts – you’re supposed to listen, you’re allowed to sing along at times, you can dance if you’re not getting in other people’s way, you can also comment between songs. But you’re not supposed to talk all the way through songs and as for the constant movement to and from seats, how hard is it to stay put for a couple of hours?


Loving that roof

September 25, 2011

It was raining steadily when we got to Dunedin late yesterday afternoon and we were more than a little damp by the time we got to the stadium.

Bu once inside, out of the rain and the wind, we were able to enjoy the pre-match entertainment from the Army Band and the fun of being part of a near-capacity crowd at an international fixture without being distracted by the wet and cold.

The Forsyth Barr stadium was a controversial project and some are still concerned about its cost. But it is a wonderful facility and there is no doubt that putting a roof on it has made it much more comfortable for spectators and players.

Whoever is in charge of building whatever will replace the Christchurch stadium should be consulting the people behind Dunedin’s and going for a roof too.

And the rugby? To my admittedly inexpert eyes, England never even approached top gear and the 67-3 score said more about Romania being mis-matched than the English team performing well.

They struggled against Argentina in their first match, last week the score in the game against Georgia flattered them and last night they showed little if any flair.

The question is, is that it or will they be able to go up several notches when they’re really tested in the quarter finals?

A couple of young Scots were sitting behind us. We asked why they weren’t in Wellington to support their own team. They said they’d had tickets for Christchurch, built their itinerary round that and it was too expensive to fly from Queenstown to Wellington so they were making the most of the Rugby World Cup experience.

We didn’t tell them our nephew and his Argentinean wife got cheap seats to fly up from Dunedin and will be at the Cake Tin today cheering on Los Pumas.

We’d booked a table at Filadelfio’s to enable us to combine dinner with watching the All Blacks vs France.

It’s too soon to relax, there are a lot of important games to go  yet. But last night’s 37-17 win  was a wonderful way for Richie McCaw to celebrate his 100th match for the All Blacks.

Like Inventory 2, I was moved to watch an obviously ill Jock Hobbs present Richie with the silver test cap.

P.S. – We noticed a photographer with a big lens on the catwalk high above the ground. It wasn’t us he was looking for though, it was Zara Philliips and he found her.

P.P.S. – The curtain raiser was a few hours before the main game. The Nude Blacks met the Romanian Vampires (with fangs and cloaks but sans clothes) in a match at Larnach Castle earlier in the day. (Don’t click the link if you’re offended by nudity).

Full credit to whoever saw the marketing opportunity – the Nude Blacks were sponsored by grabaseat and Bottom Bus.


Thanks for the stadium, Malcolm

August 8, 2011

Malcolm Farry and the team promoting the Forsyth Barr stadium have faced a barrage of criticism over the design, location and cost.

They stayed firm, focussed on building a stadium we could be proud of and it opened on Friday – more or less on time and to budget.

That was no small achievement and the stadium itself is a wonderful asset not just for Dunedin but the lower South Island and, at least until the rest of New Zealand catches up, the country.

Thank you Malcolm, you and your team have done a really good job.

Snow threatened yesterday morning and there was a polar wind blowing when we got to Dunedin an hour before kick-off in the match between North Otago and West Coast. Inside the stadium and out of the wind, though the temperature was merely cool but not uncomfortable.

We were on the lower level of the south stand near the 22m line and had a good view of the whole field. The loos were spotless and plentiful – 38 loos and 14 hand basins with high speed hand dryers for women  at either end of each level and men reported more than enough for them. 

I have just a couple of recommendations for improvements – a responsible host might consider selling water for less than $5 a bottle when beer cost just $1 more; and there would be a market for hot drinks as well as cold.

Hundreds of North Otago people had come down to inspect the stadium and cheer on the team. We were rewarded when halfback Hamish McKenzie went over for the historic first inter-provincial try at the stadium.

North Otago kept the lead, although the final score , 29-19, probably flattered the team .

For more words and some photos of the stadium and yesterday’s game check out this baby makes it all worth while by  Hayden Meikle  and a match report in the ODT and Mydeology’s day 5 of opt-out watch Forsyth Barr stadium bonanza edition.

Former Dunedin mayor Peter Chin and sitting councsellor Lee Vandervis debated stadium funding on Afternoons.


Forsyth Barr Stadium opens

August 5, 2011

The controversy over Dunedin’s new Forsyth Barr Stadium continued this week with the news that Dunedin City Holdings Limited (DCHL) won’t be able to pay an $8m dividend to the city council. Part of that would have hleped fund the stadium.

That announcement was followed by news that negotiations between the stadium and  promoters of Rod Stewart and  Meat Loaf had broken down. It is, however, a moot point whether big name acts like that should need the venue for free.

But the stadium was officially opened this morning by Prime Minister John Key  so like it or not, it’s up and running.

And I do like it  – the only stadium in the country with a roof, and able to grow grass under that roof.

The opening game will be played this afternoon between university colleges Knox and Selwyn and on Sunday North Otago plays West Coast.

 


Not enough rooms at the inns

April 12, 2011

Friends had been planning to spend the night in Dunedin but couldn’t find a bed.

The Crusaders were playing the Highlanders and there might have been another special event attracting visitors to the city but whatever the reason there was no room at any of the inns.

That isn’t unusual in Dunedin. 

Any time there is an event which brings people to Dunedin it’s difficult to find a spare bed.  When something like the Masters games, conferences, capping or  test matches is on it’s not unusual for accommodation providers – hotels, motels, B&Bs, backpackers and camping grounds – as far away as Oamaru and Balclutha to get bookings from those who aren’t able to stay in the city.

The new Forsyth Barr stadium might have been able to hold one of the  Rugby World Cup quarter-finals which were to have been played in Christchurch but lack of accommodation for the crowds the game would attract ruled it out.

The stadium will bring people to Dunedin but a venue isn’t enough by itself.

If the city is to get maximum benefit from the new facility it will need to come up with more beds for the visitors.


Elton John makes stadium popular

February 14, 2011

Like any big project the Forsyth Barr stadium which is under construction in Dunedin has been controversial.

The refurbishment of the Opera House in Oamaru attracted similar opposition but I supported it from the start. I didn’t want to be part of a generation which let a beautiful historic building crumble. Nor did I see the sense in merely doing enough to preserve it which would have made it a very expensive monument.

It was better to do the job properly and give the community something which would be used and appreciated.

Since it opened last year it has become an asset to the community as a venue for performing artists, conferences, weddings, meetings and other gatherings.

Building a new stadium isn’t the same as preserving and restoring a historic building and I understand ratepayers’ concerns over construction and operating costs. But I agree with the supporters who regard it as an asset for the city and province.

Stadium trust chair, Malcolm Farry, keeps saying the stadium would bring more events, and people, to Dunedin.

The difficulty getting tickets to the first show indicates he is right.

Tickets for the first big event – an Elton John concert – went on sale for stadium seat-holders, Otago ratepayers and Ticketdirect members at nine o’clock this morning.

I logged on as the 9am pips sounded on the radio and I’m still getting a message saying servers are busy.

One popular concert doesn’t make the stadium a success but it’s a very good start.


What’ll we call the new stadium?

June 21, 2010

Dunedin’s new stadium has been controversial.

Some people think there’s  nothing wrong with Carisbrook, some don’t like the new location, many object to the cost.

I support the new stadium and its location in the north end of the city, close to the campus which is such an important part of the historical, cultural and financial fabric of Dunedin.

Saturday was very mild for winter in this part of the world – 16 degrees at lunchtime. But that’s unusual for winter and it wouldn’t be unknown for some summer days to struggle to get that high,

The idea of a roofed stadium which takes away worries about weather for event organisers is a good one for a venue which is suitable for a variety of sports, the arts and other entertainment options.

On Saturday we joined the thousands who accepted the invitation to visit the building and were impressed with what’s been achieved so far.

Wellington’s stadium is better known at the Cake Tin, Carisbrook was the ‘Brook or House of Pain.

It’s officially called the Forsyth Barr stadium and while I appreciate the need to give the major sponsors their due, that’s a bit of a mouthful and I suspect it won’t be long before it gets a nick name, but what’ll it be?


Stadium gets tick, opponents get bill

August 25, 2009

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against the Dunedin City Council’s funding of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Stop the Stadium which brought the action will have to pay up to $17,000 for costs.

That’s how it should be.

Ratepayers will have spent a lot more on the council’s defence of the action and if the opponents didn’t pay court costs the taxpayer would have to.


Blessed are those who give

May 9, 2009

Three acts of generosity in the last couple of days:

Julian and Josie Robertson from the USA have donated 15 major art works to the Auckland Art Gallery.

The appreciation shown by people when the Robertsons allowed 12 works from their art collection to be shown in an exhibition in Auckland and Wellington, motivated them to make this donation.

From the arts to sport – Eion Edgar donated $1 million to the New Zealand Committee when he retired as president this week.

Mr Edgar and his wife, Jan, have made several substantial philanthropic donations, notably to the New Zealand Olympic Committee, the Edgar Centre in Dunedin, the Edgar National Centre for Diabetes Research and Dunedin’s new stadium, which will be known as Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza.

And from sport to farming –  Ravensdown is offering  shareholders in drought affected areas interest free, deferred payment terms on fertiliser purchases plust free technical advice.

When drought hits, fertiliser often comes out of budgets which means when it rains again pastures don’t get grow as well as they should.

This offer will enable farmers to keep up their fertiliser programmes without increasing their overdraughts.


Stadium injunction dismissed

April 24, 2009

The ODT reports that the High Court has dismissed Stop the Stadium’s injunction.

The paper covered yesterday’s court hearing here.

The Dunedin City Council decided on Monday, by 10 votes to 4,  to sign a guaranteed maximum price contract for the construction of the $188m Forsyth Barr Stadium.

A lot of energy has been expended on the stadium debate, it should now go to ensuring the project succeeds.


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