Wellington Scoop

Restoring it, not bowling it


by Alana Bowman
To the relief of cricket fans, community groups, and admirers of the Basin Reserve, Mayor Justin Lester yesterday confirmed it’s his intention that the Museum Stand will not be bowled, but will be restored.

On Monday the Wellington City Council will be asked to agree to pay $7.7million to save the building by re-prioritising funds of $21m already allocated in the Basin Reserve Framework. The roof will be strengthened to 100% and the lower portion to 50% of earthquake requirements, with the expectation that the rebuild will extend the life of the Stand by at least another 50 years.

The project is expected to be completed in 2020.


Mayor Lester, who previously favoured taking the stand down, said at a news conference at the Basin yesterday that he changed his mind when the facts changed. Previous estimates for renovating the building were between $8 – 13 million, but a structural review substantially lowered the costs. He said the Council favours retaining heritage buildings whenever it can – and the Museum Stand is a heritage listed structure. The proposal will be debated in Council next week, and Lester expected strong support.


The Museum Stand was built in 1924, and the seating area was closed in 2012 due to an earthquake strength rating of 23%; the Cricket Museum has remained open.

When restored, the grandstand capacity will increase from 900 seats to 1,000, and the Cricket Museum will return to the ground level, Cricket Wellington will occupy offices on the second level, with space for the cricket book archives. Additional space will be created for community groups and functions.

The players’ rooms will receive an upgrade and will be reconfigured to allow both home and visiting teams to view the match. Currently, visiting teams have obstructed views of play.

The cost for lighting the Basin will be picked up by the Basin Reserve Trust.

Recently the Vance Stand has had structural and cosmetic improvements and the toilet blocks, now in poor condition, will also be receive attention.

Cricket Wellington, previously in the Brierley Pavilion, will operate from the Vance Stand until the Museum Stand is re-opened. The Pavilion is being moved to Zealandia, and its former space will be leveled and a new playground will be built near the groundsman’s cottage.

The Mayor was backed at the news conference by Southern Ward Councilor and Basin Reserve Trustee Fleur Fitzsimons, Onslow-Western Councilor Sport Portfolio Leader Simon Woolf, and Eastern Ward Councilor and Transport Portfolio Leader Chris Calvi-Freeman, along with cricket and Basin Reserve historian Don Neely.

Watching a cricket match from the Museum Stand was always a great experience. The view of the Basin was spectacular and looking straight ahead to the Mt Victoria hills was a joy. The wind swirled by, seldom hitting the stand, and sitting in the late afternoon sun was wonderful.

Now the City Council seems determined to restore the and strengthen the structure and then to reopen this marvelous building.

17 May: Unanimous vote to save the stand

David Batchelor: The wonderful interior of the Museum Stand


  1. Victor Davie, 10. May 2018, 22:46

    I attended Mayor Lester’s news conference at the Basin Reserve. And fantastic news it was. All the considerable effort made by the public to save the historic Museum Stand is further proof that democracy and a good mayor at the helm are mostly in tune.

  2. Alana, 17. May 2018, 21:57

    Unanimous vote today by the Council to keep the Museum Stand – we will soon be able to enjoy this place again. And future generations will have the pleasure as well!

  3. City Lad, 20. May 2018, 17:10

    Objectors to the stand’s retention were clean bowled and applause was heard from the embankment!

  4. Citizen Joe, 21. May 2018, 10:32

    Where is the $7 million coming from: ratepayers, cricket supporters or a rich benefactor? [It’s being reallocated from council funds already tied to the Basin.]