Basin Reserve Historic Area

Sussex Street, Buckle Street, Ellice Street, Dufferin Street And Rugby Street, Wellington

  • Basin Reserve Historic Area, Wellington. View over the Basin Reserve from Mt Victoria. Image courtesy of CC BY 2.0.
    Copyright: C. K. Hartman . Taken By: C. K. Hartman . Date: 9/02/2008.
  • Bssin Reserve Historic Area, Wellington. CC BY-SA 3.0 Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Roisterer - Wikimedia Commons. Taken By: Roisterer. Date: 4/08/2004.
  • Basin Reserve Historic Area, Wellington. The William Wakefield Memorial, located on the eastern end of the embankment within the perimeter fence of the Basin Reserve.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Anika Klee. Date: 14/05/2009.
  • Basin Reserve Historic Area, Wellington c.1920s Looking north west from St Marks corner. Shows a crowd watching a cricket match. Ref: EP-0007-1/2-G.
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington .

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7441 Date Entered 10th December 1998 Date of Effect 10th December 1998


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lots 1 and 2 DP 90475 (WN58A/615 and WN58A/616), Wellington Land District and the associated buildings, structures and sites thereon. Items include: Museum stand, R.A. Vance Stand, Groundman's Shed, Playing Oval & Picket Fence, Reid & Dempster Gates, Fmr Midland St Pats Cricket Clubrooms, Main Fence, William Wakefield Fountain,Toilets, Scoreboard, Play Area, Light Towers(3), Bank

City/District Council

Wellington City


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lots 1 and 2 DP 90475 (WN58A/615 and WN58A/616), Wellington Land District.


The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessement Under Section 23 Criteria report presented to the Board Dec 1998:

The Basin Reserve Historic Area occupies an oval, formerly a rectangle, surrounded by the four streets which once formed Sussex Square - Buckle/Ellice, Dufferin, Sussex and Rugby Streets. In addition three main traffic arteries - Kent and Cambridge Terraces, Adelaide Road and Mt Victoria Tunnel - intersect with the Basin Reserve on the north, south and east sides of the ground respectively.

As an oval, the ground is oriented north-south with the cricket pitch block aligned along that axis. The R.A. Vance stand, the dominant feature of the ground, is, in a general sense, end on to the pitches. A long elevated bank defines the eastern edge of the ground and sits between the exterior fence and the perimeter of the playing surface. The playing surface is defined by a picket fence. Around the ground are scattered a number of buildings and structures.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessement Under Section 23 Criteria report presented to the Board Dec 1998:


The Basin Reserve was first surveyed in 1840 for possible use as an enclosed shipping basin. That option was closed off when earthquakes lifted the land and in 1857 it was reserved for recreational purposes. Work began on draining it fully in 1863 and the first large-scale games were held that decade, with cricketers and the Caledonian Games Committee taking the leading roles. Considerable improvements were made during the 1880s. since then many structures and features have been added to the grounds. The Basin has been protected from encroachment by traffic and has for 130 years been a major venue for international, national and local cricket, as well as other recreational and cultural purposes.

The HP Act 1993 requires an historic area to meet three criteria:

(a) Contains an inter-related group of historic places:

The Basin Reserve has been little altered since it was set aside as a recreational reserve in 1857 and drained by prison labour early the following decade. The principal alterations have been changes to the fences, boundaries and to buildings, but these have made only relatively minor changes to the overall shape of the grounds themselves. Indeed, one of the recurring features of the Basin Reserve's history has been the successful attempts by its supporters to resist pressure for making the grounds a thoroughfare for traffic.

The grounds contains a diverse range of inter-related buildings, structures and features. Such is the historic associations of the grounds that some structures are already registered by the Trust and one now functions as a cricket museum.

(b) Forms part of the historical and cultural heritage of New Zealand:

The Basin Reserve is one of New Zealand's most historic sporting grounds. Originally projected as the site for an enclosed basin for shipping until an earthquake lifted the land, the reserve has been used for the last 130 years as the venue for international, national and local sporting events. Although used for a variety of sporting and cultural events, the Basin is most closely associated with cricket.

(c) Lies within the territorial limits of New Zealand:


Historical Significance:

The Basin Reserve is one of the country's longest serving recreational grounds. It has been used for a vast array of purposes over the years, of which athletics, soccer, softball, marching, pipe band contests and cycling are just a small number. In that sense it has been the city's most valuable public reserve.

It is with cricket that the ground is most closely associated. The Basin Reserve is arguably New Zealand's most significant cricket ground. It is the oldest purpose-formed and longest serving test cricket venue in New Zealand and one of the oldest cricket grounds in the world. Only a handful of venues in England and Australia are older. Cricket is arguably the oldest international team sport in the modern world and was first played in New Zealand in the 1830s. In 1875, when the Wellington Cricket Association was formed, there were only nine English cricket counties in existence.

Primarily however it has been the home of Wellington cricket. Cricket has long been New Zealand's national summer sport and Wellington was the first province to form a cricket association. The Basin Reserve hosted its first cricket match in 1866, its first first-class game in 1876, and its first test match in the 1929/30 season.

The Basin Reserve has long been internationally recognised as a fine test cricket venue. To this point, 32 test matches have been held there and it has been the scene of some of the most remarkable events in the history of the game in New Zealand. Of those many events probably the most significant were New Zealand's first test victory over England in 1978, the (then) world record test batting partnership of Martin Crowe and Andrew Jones against Sri Lanka in 1991, John Reid's then world record of 16 sixes in 1962, and test victories by New Zealand over England, India (2), Sri Lanka, Australia, Zimbabwe and West Indies. There have also been 15 drawn tests and 10 losses. In the years since 1866, thousands of cricket games have been played at the Basin Reserve, from club to first-class fixtures, one-day games and test matches. The Basin Reserve has hosted 329 first class and international matches, the most (by two from Lancaster Park) by any ground in New Zealand. Early next year the Basin Reserve will become one of the only grounds outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground to host two tests in the same season in the 20th century.

The site also has historical significance for the early plans to form it into an inner harbour. The great natural phenomenon of the 1855 earthquake removed that opportunity but created a relatively level, open area and its potential as a playing field was quickly recognised, perhaps without being as swiftly realised. Since it was first used by sporting organisations the Basin Reserve has continually been the subject of efforts to improve facilities.

Particular events also add to the ground's great historical significance. Among those are the first public display of electricity in New Zealand in 1879, balloonist and parachutist Captain Lorraine's display in 1899 and the events of the 1913 Waterside Strike in adjacent Buckle St.

Individual buildings within the historic area have considerable significance. The picturesque Groundsman's Shed is now the oldest building associated with the Basin Reserve and an important link with earlier days in the ground's development.

The old pavilion was built in 1924-25 and has been a familiar Basin Reserve landmark. It has been used for 60 years as team changing rooms, clubrooms, storage, offices and ground entry, and more latterly as the home of the Cricket Museum.

The oldest structure of all associated with the Basin Reserve is the memorial to the man regarded by some as the founding father of Wellington, William Wakefield. It is a consistent feature in photographs of the ground taken from the early 1880s onwards until it was moved outside the ground when the present fence was built in 1917. The building of the bank in 1980-81 finally obliterated the view of the memorial altogether. The memorial is probably the first public monument built in Wellington to recognise the achievements of a locally significant citizen.

The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessement Under Section 23 Criteria report presented to the Board Dec 1998:


The Basin Reserve is made up of a number of structures that ring the perimeter of the playing arena. Most of these structures were built during the 1979-81 renovations of the ground and have relatively little significance as heritage buildings, although the R.A. Vance Stand is a fine example of a modern sporting facility. Four buildings/structures of considerable physical significance remain.

The most substantial of these is the Museum Stand, designed and built by the City Engineer's Department of the WCC. It remains in largely original condition, and in its main entrance, vestibule, stairs, and reception room, has some very fine spaces. It also contains the Edward Dixon clock, a relic from the Caledonian Stand, the previous occupier of the site.

The oldest structure associated with the ground is the Wakefield Memorial. It is most interesting for the method of construction used - prefabricated iron, finished with cement plaster. Its Grecian form is unusual in Wellington, although its townscape impact is much reduced from the days when it occupied a prominent position within the ground proper.

The Groundsman's Shed has always attracted considerable attention for its ornate Gothic decoration. Once a changing shed, the building has since been moved and much modified and added to. Its original interior has long gone, a flat lean-to was added to the south wall, and a replica gable added to the north side. Its physical significance is now confined to its exterior appearance.

The ground is enclosed by a fence which has remained largely intact since it was built in 1917. It is an attractive and lingering feature of the ground. Its construction was a key event in the gradual conversion of the ground to the smaller, more intimate arena it is today.

The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessement Under Section 23 Criteria report presented to the Board Dec 1998:


The outcry over the building of a motorway through the Basin Reserve, which began in the early 1960s and wasn't resolved until 1969, revealed the strong attachment that Wellingtonians had to the ground. The prospect of its loss evoked a sense of outrage that might be hard to match even today. The unusual circumstances of its original development, the odd street configuration that was required to accommodate the ground, plus its obvious amenity value, are all responsible for the strong connection and pride the city has with its oldest sporting ground.

Behind the protests about the possible loss of the ground there was also a strong feeling that there were, and still are, not enough open green areas in the city and that the Basin Reserve, occupying the key site that it does, makes a statement about the city's desire to provide as much open space as possible.

Wellingtonians remain sentimentally attached to the Basin Reserve, even if they do not go to the cricket in the numbers they once did, with the possible exception of one-day games. To the city, the ground represents a long and valuable heritage of recreation and leisure.


Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessement Under Section 23 Criteria report presented to the Board Dec 1998:

Historical Background:

The Basin Reserve was first surveyed in 1840 by Captain Mein Smith as the possible site of a sheltered inner mooring for vessels at the end of a canal. Little was then done to advance the proposal and when a huge earthquake raised much of the land around Wellington, including Te Aro, any thoughts of a inner harbour had to be abandoned. The name of the ground was derived from this initial proposal.

Basin Reserve was first set aside as a recreational reserve in 1857 but it was not until 1863 that work began on draining the land, by prisoners from the nearby Mt Cook gaol. Three years later, on 11 December 1866, the Basin Reserve was designated as the future home of Wellington cricket when a group of interested citizens formed a committee to turn the ground into a fit surface, with the help of the Provincial Council Board of Works. The first game of cricket was played on the ground on 11 January 1868, with a match between the Wellington Volunteers and officers and men of HMS Falcon.

In 1870 the lease of the Basin for sporting purposes was renewed to a committee of three men representing the major interests of the general public, the Caledonian Games Committee and cricketers. The Caledonian Sports was a major event in the 1860s and the ground was frequently used for this purpose. The Caledonian Sports Association built the first grandstand in 1868 and it was bought by the WCC in 1881. It remained in place until it was demolished to make way for the present Museum Stand.

The ground was secured for recreational purposes in 1873 when a Deed, signed by the Superintendent of the Provincial Council, vested the ground in the Wellington City Council "for such purposes of public utility." The deed stipulated that no thoroughfare was allowed to be built across the ground. The following year the ground was conveyed to trustees to be used for the purposes of a cricket and recreation ground.

Cricket was played among a few clubs until 1875 when the Wellington Cricket Association formed. The official first class match played by Wellington (v. Nelson) was held at the Basin Reserve on 18 March 1876.

One of the most extraordinary events in the history of the Basin Reserve took place in 1879 when electricity was publicly displayed in New Zealand for the first time, in the form, remarkably, of a floodlit game of soccer. The ground was lit by arc lights powered by a steam generator but it seems the engine came to a halt shortly before half-time and the lights went out. Interestingly, after 1884, footballers of all codes were banned from the ground for a time as cricket attempted to assert its prior claim to the ground.

Considerable improvements were made to the ground in the early 1880s. Until then the ground was "simply an old bog in the winter" and little better in summer. A culvert was built in place of a drain that had up until then divided the ground in two. The ground reopened in 1882.

The year 1882 also saw the erection of the oldest structure still associated with the Basin Reserve. Colonel William Wakefield, regarded as the first leader of the Wellington settlement, died in 1848 and almost immediately his friends began raising money to fund a memorial. However it was not until 1862 that the memorial - a small Classical temple - was ordered and shipped. It sat in Bethune and Hunter's yard until 1866 and thereafter in the WCC yard. Finally, in 1882, with most of those initially involved in the fundraising for the memorial long dead, the council decided to erect the memorial in the Basin Reserve on a small rise (possibly constructed for the purpose), overlooking the reserve that Wakefield hoped would become an inland harbour. A drinking fountain was placed in the memorial four years later. The memorial was later fenced in on both sides and stairs built from the ground. The memorial was a fixture in the ground until 1917 when the building of the present fence and a subsequent reduction in available space saw the memorial moved to a nearby site outside the fence. It has stayed there ever since. Over time the memorial has suffered decay and vandalism and been regularly repaired. The Wellington Regional Committee of the Historic Places Trust appealed for the monument to be restored in 1970. In 1991 removal of the Memorial to the Botanic Gardens was mooted by Richard Nanson, the Director of Parks and Reserves. The memorial is now less its fountain and plaque and in poor shape.

In 1884 another Deed of Conveyance from the Crown to the Wellington City Corporation confirmed the recreational purpose of the ground and implied the primacy of cricket over other sports at the ground. The Deed stated that the ground was to be "...forever used for the purposes of a cricket and recreation ground by the inhabitants of the City of Wellington." This document has formed the basis of determining the purpose of the reserve ever since.

In 1899 the ground was witness to another remarkable event, an exhibition of ballooning and parachuting by the daredevil Captain Lorraine, of Auckland, who was described as an aeronaut and "The King of Parachutists". A huge crowd inside the ground and out watched the balloon take off and climb to about 700 metres but a slight breeze blew Lorraine a short distance away south-east and he was unable to parachute back into the ground as he had intended. He eventually abandoned his balloon above St Mark's Church and parachuted to safety in Wellington College.

The clock that is still a feature of the Museum Stand was presented in 1904 by the descendants of cordial manufacturer and cricket enthusiast Edward Dixon. It was originally housed in the Caledonian Grandstand and then relocated in the new stand. It has since lost its original mechanism and is now powered by an electronic device.

Prior to 1914 ground maintenance was divided between the WCA, which employed a groundsman and two assistants to look after the western side of the ground, and the WCC, which looked after the remainder. After that date the entire ground came under the control of the council and there was a marked improvement in the playing surface.

One of the most famous confrontations of the 1913 Waterfront Strike took place in Buckle St between Massey's Cossacks (farmers) and watersiders on 3-4 November. During the affray part of the Basin Reserve fence was damaged. Although repairs were made and turnstiles fitted to the entrance gates, the WCC remained under pressure to improve fencing and the Town Clerk asked the Superintendent of Reserves to estimate the cost of a new fence. It was considered too easy for people to avoid paying at the gate or to watch play over the fence.

Conscious of this and the somewhat untidy nature of the eastern side of the ground, the WCC finally 'took the plunge' in 1917 and made the necessary changes. It brought the fence line in some 6.3 metres all round and built a new fence - by and large the present one. The Wakefield Memorial was moved outside the fence, where it remains to this day. The present Caretaker's Cottage (then more than likely in use as changing rooms) was moved from half way down the southern boundary to its present site in front of the playarea. This was the first recorded reference to the playarea but it was almost certainly in place before this time. It would appear that not all the fence was completed at this time; a section remained undone on Rugby St and Sussex St. The following year, or shortly thereafter, the main entrance gates were built and they remain in place today.

Near the gates a men's convenience was built with twin facilities and separate entrances to allow the public to use the toilet both from within and outside the ground. When this toilet was actually built remains unknown. It was certainly in place by 1929 when major upgrading took place and is likely to have been built much earlier. The outside convenience was removed in 1997.

In 1934 tenders were called for the demolition and re-erection of the gates and fences. It is not clear why it was felt necessary to rebuild a substantial fence just 17 years old, but it may have been prompted by the never-ending difficulty in preventing people from watching the game from outside the ground, and the consequent destruction of plantings. However, due to financial exigencies, the process was abandoned. The following year the fence on Rugby St between Adelaide Road and Sussex St was rebuilt to match the rest of the fence. That year also saw one of the first recorded efforts by the WCA to get the ground turned into an oval and an embankment constructed on the eastern boundary. The WCC turned the request down and it would be another 43 years before it was finally approved.

In 1923 entries were called for a competition to design a new pavilion to replace the Caledonian Stand - its rundown state had been the subject of adverse comment from, among others, overseas cricketers. The winner of the competition was architect P.H. Graham, but the City Engineer's Department, which seemed to have never even heard of him and was less than certain about the suitability of his design, paid him the £100 prize and indicated that his involvement was at an end. The aggrieved architect pursued the Council for the contract to prepare working drawings and supervision of the work - the usual outcome of a competition of this nature - and even involved the New Zealand Institute of Architects in his case. Nevertheless his protests were rejected and a whole new stand was designed by the City Engineer's Department. The contractors were Higgins and Arcus Bros. and work began late in 1924, supervised by the City Engineer. The new stand was opened a year later at a cost of £16,710.

Four years later, in the 1929-30 season, New Zealand played the MCC in the first cricket test match held at the ground.

In 1953 the impending royal tour set off a flurry of activity at the ground. It was intended to drive a motorcade containing the royal party through the Basin Reserve to allow as many of the city's citizens a chance to see the Queen and Prince Philip. The Basin Reserve was regularly the subject of much criticism from the general public as well as from the sporting organisations which used the ground. This was their opportunity to get much hoped for improvements that had previously seemed unobtainable. The Council approved the building of an open air stand in front of the main stand, built a sealed road up to the picket fence to accommodate the royal cavalcade and retiled the gates. Contractor J.W. Bryan built 2000 seats on a concrete stand at a cost of just over £12,000.

Perhaps most surprisingly the Council approved huge expenditure on floodlights. The ground did have a tradition of floodlighting that extended beyond that extraordinarily early display at the Basin Reserve in 1879. In 1927 13 lights on poles were erected for athletics and cycling meetings and these remained in use for some years. The building of the new lights was linked to the royal visit but it is not clear if they were ever used for that purpose. They were certainly not needed by the ground's principal tenant, the WCA. Their erection was mainly due to deputations to the WCC by the Wellington Band Association and the Wellington Marching Association. The final cost of the lighting was nearly £7,000 and the lights were in place by the end of November 1953. By 1968 the lighting was being strongly criticised for its inadequacy, particularly by soccer officials (and goalkeepers!). Their last recorded use seems to have been about 1974. In 1979 one of the towers was dismantled to make way for the R.A. Vance Stand. Today the towers occupying the south-west and north-east corners are used as cameras positions for major cricket games.

There have been numerous schemes devised to use the Basin Reserve as a thoroughfare for road and rail traffic. The first serious threat to the ground came in 1897 when a plan was mooted by the WCC to extend Cambridge and Kent Terraces through the ground. The likely return from selling or leasing sections on Sussex Square (as the roads around the Basin Reserve were then collectively known) was sought. The "Father of Wellington" John Plimmer poured scorn on the proposal. However the idea did not go away. In 1909 builder George Humphries devised an ornate scheme that proposed raising the whole ground 10 feet and driving a subway beneath. His idea was politely declined by the WCC. In 1911 another scheme to run trams through the ground was floated but an analysis of the relative costs of the work indicated that it was prohibitive. In 1915 a Basin Reserve Bill was presented to Parliament in an attempt to get trams put through the ground. It also failed.

The greatest threat to the ground came in 1961 with the plan for the Ngauranga to Wellington motorway, funded by the National Roads Board, with no cost to Wellington ratepayers. The plan, which involved the destruction of most of the Basin Reserve with a six lane motorway, had already received initial council approval before being released to the public. All this despite the fact that the Deed of Conveyance of 1884 specifically ruled out the building of a thoroughfare through the ground. Although the WCC offered a new stadium on reclaimed land at Evans Bay, the response from the public was immediate. In a campaign of protest which rivalled the intensity of the [unsuccessful] attempts to save Bolton Street Cemetery, newspapers, community groups, sporting clubs and individuals registered their disapproval in very strong terms. An Evening Post editorial described the ground as "...a heritage that has become steadily more valuable with the passing of the years. It is absolutely irreplaceable." One correspondent to the paper described the ground as the "lung" of the capital.

The American consultants contracted to design the motorway, De Leuw Cather, presented their final report in 1963, still insisting that the Basin Reserve had to go. Although the Council adopted the scheme, it eventually gave way to constant criticism of the plan and asked the consultants to revise it. Although some parts of the plan were by then irreversible, the section dealing with the Basin Reserve was amended. The motorway threat was finally removed in 1967. In the meantime, in 1966, considerable work was done improving the ground, including refurbishment of the main stand.

In return for abandoning the motorway, an alternative scheme to move traffic more efficiently had to be devised. In 1969 it was announced that the Basin Reserve would become a huge roundabout and, to facilitate this, part of the reserve land at the corners of Rugby and Sussex St and Sussex and Buckle St would be shaved off. Work was underway by late 1972 and completed by September the following year. The fences were reinstated where required on the corners but the brick posts were not.

Arguably the biggest single change to the Basin Reserve came in 1979-1980. Funded by a windfall from the National Roads Board long needed improvements could finally be made. Throughout the life of the ground two of the biggest recurring complaints had been the lack of seating accommodation and the absence of proper social facilities for members, players and officials. In 1975 a plan for a redevelopment of the ground was commissioned by the WCC from Lovell-Smith Sullivan and Associates. This plan, accepted by the council, proposed, among other things, a multi-tiered stand (the "Soccer Stand") on the eastern side of the ground. The stand was considered largely impractical and in 1978 a greatly revised scheme was presented by the consultants. The brief called for:

a) The resiting and reshaping of the playing field into an "oval" (actually a 150m diameter circle)...

b) The provision of a picket fence round the new oval.

c) The construction of a grass and tree-covered mound on the south-eastern side of the oval.

d) The construction of new terraces below the existing stand on the north of the oval.

e) The construction of a cricket pavilion/public stand in the north corner of the Reserve.

f) The re-alignment of existing vehicular traffic ways within the Reserve.

This remained the essence of the scheme and is largely what can be seen today. The old custodian's house, the floodlight tower in the north-west corner, scoreboard and scorer's booth were to be removed. The Midland St Pats clubrooms were resited in front of the children's playarea and extended, to designs by Michael Fowler. Work began late in 1978 and the ground was not ready until part way through the 1980/81 season. The ground was reopened with the New Zealand v. India test match, which New Zealand won. However such was the pressure on existing toilet conveniences a whole new toilet block had to be built at the southern end of the ground before the start of the following season.

As cricket has asserted its primacy, the range of sports and community activities at the Basin Reserve has been greatly reduced. However over its history the ground has been put to an extraordinary range of uses; among them - cricket, hockey, rugby union, rugby league, cycling, rifle battalion practice, brass band displays, dog racing, soccer, school sports, athletics, baseball, softball, military tattoos, lacrosse, open air religious services, concerts (opera in the Park most recently), Australian rules, scout and girl guide jamborees, firework displays, political rallies and ballooning.

In 1986, with interest in New Zealand's cricketing heritage growing, the Wellington City Council approved the establishment of a cricket museum in the main room underneath the old stand. The museum took up its lease from 1 December that year, with an annual rental of $1000. The museum was immediately successful and continues to this day. In the manner of a number of some Australian grounds it was decided, in 1988, to name the northern and southern gates after two of Wellington (and New Zealand's) most distinguished cricketers, C.S. Dempster and J.R. Reid.

In 1991, history was again made at the ground when it was witness to the then world record test batting partnership, for any wicket, between Martin Crowe and Andrew Jones, who scored 467 against Sri Lanka.

By the early 1990s the future of Wellington's major sporting grounds was under great public scrutiny. With a consensus forming that Wellington could not support more than one major sporting stadium the search was on for the best site to build a multi-sport facility. Considerable interest was shown in a scheme to turn the Basin Reserve into the principal sporting ground in Wellington, but in the end the limited space available and particular charms of the ground in its present form shifted attention elsewhere. The Basin Reserve will remain Wellington's test cricket venue. The ground itself has had no major changes since the early 1980s, although, in keeping with history, the WCA continues to press for improvements.

Physical Description

The following text is from the original Historic Area Assessement Under Section 23 Criteria report presented to the Board Dec 1998:


A number of buildings and structures are located within the Basin Reserve. Some are historic and most are of more recent vintage built during the 1979-81 renovations of the ground. The historic structures are The Old Pavilion, 1924-25, which now houses the Cricket Museum, registered Category II; the Groundsman's Shed, a Carpenter Gothic Victorian building of which only the exterior is now of any significance, not registered; and the William Wakefield Memorial (built in England in 1862) and erected in the Basin Reserve in 1882, Category II.

Architectural Description:

Around the ground are scattered a number of buildings and structures:

The R.A. Vance stand is a single tier stand with three levels of offices, bar, reception rooms, kitchen, changing rooms and indoor nets. The distinctive feature of the stand is the multi-gabled roof, which also houses media viewing areas. There is a further media centre - the Arthur H. Carman Room - located within the stand proper. A viewing room for the batting side is located in a separate structure alongside the eastern side of the stand. In front of this stand and stretching as far as the south end of the ground is tiered embankment seating.

A short distance to the south-west is the Museum Stand. Again it is a simple one-tiered stand, built of reinforced concrete with a corrugated iron roof. The main entrance is on Sussex St, although no longer in use. This entrance leads into a vestibule with ticket booths on both sides and a sweeping staircase leading to the top floor. Behind the staircase, doors lead to a corridor which links with the rear of a reception room, which now houses the Cricket Museum, and which also leads to other storage rooms, only one of which is presently in use. Access to a men's toilets and changing rooms beneath (the latter now largely used for storage) is via an entrance on the north side of the stand. A women's toilet is also located on that side of the stand. There is another men's toilet on the south side of the stand and a stand-alone concrete block women's toilet alongside.

To the south of the Museum Stand is the former Midland St Pats clubrooms. It is a simple single storey neo-Colonial style building, timber framed and clad with a corrugated iron roof. It sits in front of the children's play area, in the corner of which is one of the three remaining floodlighting towers.

Located against the Rugby St fence is the Groundsman's Shed. This single storey timber clad building has a distinctive Carpenter Gothic design complete with richly decorated gables. The interior of the building is modern, while a flat lean-to to the south bears no stylistic relationship to the main part of the building. A women's toilet occupies the north gable.

Along the southern boundary of the park are, from west to east, the J.R. Reid gates, the scoreboard and toilets.

The gates are, like their counterparts at the northern end, made up of simple brick and cement plastered piers and walls topped with a roof.

The scoreboard is a steel framed and timber and metal clad structure, rectangular in shape, with a scorers' booth beneath. The main score and wickets fallen are presented electronically, the remainder on metallic screens.

The concrete block toilet has male and female conveniences and a flat roof used for cricket viewing by some patrons.

The eastern side of the ground is dominated by the bank, which is grassed all the way along, with the exception of some brick edged seats in the very middle. At each corner of the ground are the other two floodlighting towers.

The northern end has two structures before the eastern end of the R.A. Vance stand. The first is a brick and cement plastered open air toilet, the back of which forms part of the ground's exterior fence. A short distance west are the C.S. Dempster gates.

The ground is encircled by a fence largely consisting of evenly spaced piers constructed of brick and finished with cement render infilled with vertical timbers fixed to horizontal studs. The fence on the westerly corners now has only timber posts after the fence was moved in to accommodate changes in roading. Other parts of the fence have been replaced with netting and steel gates.

Outside the ground proper on the eastern side is the William Wakefield Memorial. It is surrounded by seal but sits between the footpath and fence. It is steel framed with a cement render finish to resemble a masonry structure. There are eight columns, surmounted by a dome, with (until recently) a fountain and plaque in the middle.

Construction Dates

Completion Date

1st October 1998

Report Written By

W. Nelson and G. McLean

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central Region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

Historic Area Place Name

Basin Reserve Bank
Basin Reserve Pavilion
Former Midland St Pat's Cricket Clubrooms
Gates (J.R. Reid Gate & S.C. Dempster Gate
Groundsman's Shed
Light Towers (3)
Main Fence
Play Area
Playing Oval & Picket Fence
R.A. Vance Stand
Terrace Seating
Toilets (South End)
William Wakefield Memorial