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"The House of Pain"
Looking north across Caversham to Carisbrook, from the slopes of Forbury Hill
Location Dunedin, New Zealand
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Owner Carisbrook Ground Company
Operator Carisbrook Ground Company
Capacity 29,000 [1]
Surface Grass
Broke ground 1881
Opened 1883
Closed 2011
Demolished Starting 2013
Otago Rugby Football Union
Highlanders (Super 14) (1996–2011)
Ground information
End names
Railway End
Hillside End
International information
First Test 11–16 March 1955: New Zealand v England
Last Test 18–22 December 1998: New Zealand v India
First ODI 30 March 1974: New Zealand v Australia
Last ODI 25 February 2004: New Zealand v South Africa
As of 8 January 2016
Source: ESPNcricinfo

Carisbrook (sometimes incorrectly referred to as Carisbrook Stadium) was a major sporting venue in Dunedin, New Zealand. The city's main domestic and international rugby union venue, it was also used for other sports such as cricket, football, rugby league and motocross. Carisbrook also hosted a Joe Cocker concert and frequently hosted pre-game concerts before rugby matches in the 1990s. In 2011 Carisbrook was closed, and was replaced by Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza in North Dunedin.

Floodlit since the 1990s, it could cater for both day and night fixtures. Known locally simply as "The Brook", it has been branded with the name "The House of Pain", due to its reputation as a difficult venue for visiting teams.[2]

Located at the foot of The Glen, a steep valley, the ground was flanked by the South Island Main Trunk Railway and the Hillside Railway Workshops, two miles southwest of Dunedin city centre in the suburb of Caversham. State Highway 1 also ran close to the northern perimeter of the ground.

Carisbrook was named after the estate of early colonial settler James Macandrew (itself named after a castle on the Isle of Wight). Developed during the 1870s, it was first used for international cricket in 1883, when Otago hosted a team from Tasmania. It hosted rugby union internationals since 1908 and full cricket internationals since 1955.

The stadium was home to both the Highlanders in Super Rugby and Otago in the ITM Cup through each side's respective 2011 season. It is also the former home of Otago cricket, which moved to the University Oval at Logan Park in the north of the city after the redevelopment in the early 2000s, and also of Otago United Football team in the New Zealand Football Championship, which moved to the lower-capacity Sunnyvale Park for the 2008–09 season.


The ground's final regular capacity was around 30,000, but has hosted crowds as high as 42,000 in the past with temporary seating.[3] Until 1998 the sides of the Caversham bypass motorway allowed a free view of the ground and was known as the "Scotsman's Grandstand". Occasionally trains would slow to a crawl or stop on the track above the stadium to allowing passengers to watch an entire event. In 1998 a new stand and corporate boxes were built that blocked the view.[4] Partly due to Dunedin's relatively large number of tertiary students (20,000 of the city's 120,000 population), Carisbrook has a unique atmosphere.[5] This is enhanced by the terraces, an uncovered concrete embankment at the eastern end of the ground.[6]

Retirement and Recycled

On 9 August 2006, a proposal was announced that would see Carisbrook retired and a 30,000 capacity covered stadium built in Dunedin North, close to other major sporting facilities such as Logan Park and the University Oval.[7] Construction and ownership of the new $NZ 198 million stadium,[8] officially named the Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza, would be overseen by the Carisbrook Stadium Trust.[9] Until the new stadium was completed, all international and Super Rugby games were still held at Carisbrook.

The last international game was expected to be the All Blacks versus South Africa Tri Nations match on 12 July 2008. However, the All Blacks returned to Carisbrook to play France on 13 June 2009[10] and finally Wales on 19 June 2010.[2] This game meant that the All Blacks had played every major test-playing nation at Carisbrook. A later test match, destined to be the last at the ground, was scheduled between New Zealand and Fiji as a fundraiser for the Christchurch earthquake appeal on 22 July 2011.

On 11 May 2011 the Dunedin City Council decided that Carisbrook would be sold after the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Demolition work was begun at the start of 2012, with the floodlight towers being dismantled and sent up to Christchurch for use by the new temporary Christchurch Rugby Stadium at Addington Showgrounds, to allow that city a first-class ground while AMI Stadium awaits rebuilding. Originally the floodlights were to be reused at the University Oval for day/night cricket matches. The corporate box stand, which was only 14 years old, was always designed to be dismantled for use elsewhere, and there are proposals to move parts of the structure to University Oval and some to Queenstown's Stadium. The turnstile building on Neville Street is a category I historic building and would be protected during any potential developments on the site.[11]

Carisbrook was sold to the Dunedin City Council in 2009 for $7,000,000. It was sold on in 2013 for $4,700,000.[12]

This result appeared to support objections made at the time of purchase, of a decision not based on sound advice, and possibly blurred with non-commercial or personal considerations. Many rate-payers continue to be angry about this and the huge expense passed to ratepayers over the development of the Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza in North Dunedin.

Historic Events

  • 1886 22 November – First international cricket match at Carisbrook, Otago v Australia
  • 1908 30 May – First Otago Rugby defeat of international side, Anglo-Welsh
  • 1908 30 June – First Rugby test at Carisbrook (NZ v Anglo-Welsh)
  • 1922 17 June – New Zealand's first full international football (soccer) match, a 3–1 win to New Zealand over Australia[13]
  • 1924 9 August – First Rugby League Test at Carisbrook (NZ v England Lions)
  • 1930 21 June – First All Black defeat at Carisbrook (by Great Britain)
  • 1936 1 August – First Ranfurly Shield match at Carisbrook
  • 1955 11 March – First cricket test at Carisbrook[14]
  • 1956 3–6 February – First NZ cricket test victory at Carisbrook
  • 1987 May–June – Rugby World Cup games (Italy 18, Fiji 15; Ireland 46, Canada 19)
  • 1992 12 March – Cricket World Cup (New Zealand vs India)
  • 1992 27 September – First extra time in a rugby match in New Zealand (Otago 26, North Harbour 23)
  • 1993 July - Rugby, New Zealand verses Australia, largest attendance at the ground, 42 000.
  • 1996 3 March – First Super 12 match at Carisbrook (Otago Highlanders 57, Queensland 17)
  • 1998 25 October – National Provincial Championship Division 1 Final (Otago vs Waikato)
  • 1999 29 May – 1999 Super 12 Final (Highlanders vs Crusaders)
  • 1999 12–21 November – Group stage matches and one quarter-final of the FIFA Under-17 Soccer World Championship
  • 2005 27 August – The last International Rugby match (All Blacks 31, South Africa 27) before the NZRFU deemed Carisbrook to no longer be a suitable venue for International Rugby
  • 2008 12 July – After a 3-year absence of International Rugby at Carisbrook a Tri Nations match between All Blacks and South Africa was played. At the same time this was South Africa's first win at Carisbrook after beating the All Blacks 30–28.[15]
  • 2010 19 June – The last official rugby test against a "Tier 1" nation was played at the ground (All Blacks vs Wales), with the All Blacks winning 42–9.
  • 2011 3 June – The final Highlanders match at Carisbrook saw the Western Force defeat the Highlanders 21–14.
  • 2011 22 July – The All Blacks defeated Fiji 60–14 in the final Test match, which served as a fundraiser for Christchurch earthquake relief.
  • 2012 January - Dismantlement begins with floodlight towers being sent to Christchurch.

See also


  2. 2.0 2.1 New Zealand farewell the House of Pain in style Sydney Morning Herald
  3. Edwards, Brent (25 October 2009). "Rugby: Otago down on their knees". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Goodbye Carisbrook. | News Article | klikFC
  5. "Carisbrook - the Highlanders". 12 February 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Houlihan, Mike (18 June 2010). "Over and out from Carisbrook". The Press. Retrieved 23 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Rugby: Dunedin stadium on schedule". The New Zealand Herald. 12 January 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Ihaka, James (26 April 2011). "$500m Rugby World Cup deficit". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "New stadium approved for Dunedin". The New Zealand Herald. 18 March 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Otago Daily Times article
  11. Loughrey, David (12 May 2011). "Council decides to sell Carisbrook". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 23 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Carisbrook $3.4 million loss confirmed".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Template:HiltonNZAssoc p.144
  14. "Carisbrook". ESPN Cricinfo. 17 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Gilhooly, Daniel (10 July 2008). "Historic southern test packs 'em in". Retrieved 2008-07-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links