We are so very proud to see an asset paid for by our community be recognised as New Zealand’s best event venue for 2023.

The Northland Events Centre/Semenoff Stadium, which underwent a controversial $16 million redevelopment in 2010, has hosted a series of stand-out events, including the Rugby World Cup in 2011, and of course, the hugely popular Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, played in 2022. After 13 years of event management, it’s fantastic to see this outstanding community asset being awarded on a national level.

Our local stadium, originally built in 1965, won against Auckland’s Spark Arena and Eden Park to take out the top prize in the country. This is a fantastic boost to our district, and just goes to show Whangārei has what it takes to win big on the national stage.

The events and management team at Semenoff Stadium have done a fantastic job of attracting and hosting world-class entertainment and sporting events, which is what tipped the judgement in our favour for this award. Congratulations to everyone on their hard work and incredible organisational skills in managing the huge events over the past years.

I also need to acknowledge the foresight of our events team at the council and the previous council’s support for their successful bid to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup played in 2022.

This win (along with plenty of other accolades) shows us with planning and foresight in infrastructure, Whangārei can attract crowds, encourage growth and show the world this is a great place to live, work and play. It’s like the old saying goes: “Build it and they will come.” The real question now is, how will they get here?

There’s a lot of talk online right now about Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency’s mid-summer closure of State Highway 1 through the Brynderwyns to allow for structural repairs of a road that needs replacing. Our Northland economy took a big hit during the severe weather events of 2022/2023, and the thought of enduring yet another arterial road closure is hard to bear – especially during our peak visitor period.

While there is no doubt in my mind that SH1 needs to be replaced with a four-lane expressway, in the meantime, these repairs need to happen to keep Northland connected. My priority right now is making sure the bypass routes are upgraded before the Brynderwyns closure takes place.

I am having daily conversations with our MPs and Waka Kotahi roading representatives about upgrading the bypass routes before the closure of SH1. Our Northland economy needs to be protected, and we need to ensure the safety of those travelling via the Waipū and Mangawhai and Paparoa-Oakleigh detour routes.

On Saturday, December 2, you will see myself and your councillors welcoming you to Whangārei’s A&P Show in Barge Park at the Whangārei District Council tent. This is a great time to come and chat with us about your roading concerns, the Long Term Plan 2024-2034 decision-making process, and to learn about council processes, projects and funding.

Whangārei and Northland are growing, and it is when we plan for success that we can achieve greatness.

2023-11-19T16:48:27Z dg43tfdfdgfd