Queen Elizabeth II Park

Queen Elizabeth II Park was a multi-use stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand, located in a large park of the same name. The stadium had a capacity of 25,000 people and was built in 1973 to host the 1974 British Commonwealth Games, with a temporary 10,000 seat western stand erected for that event to take the capacity to 35,000. The stadium suffered some damage in the September 2010 Canterbury earthquake but was able to reopen, only to be damaged beyond repair in February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Queen Elizabeth II Park
LocationChristchurch, New Zealand
Coordinates43°29′29″S 172°42′19″E
Christchurch United (1974–2011)

The park is now home to two schools: Avonside Girls' and Shirley Boys' and Taiora QEII Recreation and Sport Centre – all newly built since the earthquakes.


The facilities are situated in a large park called Queen Elizabeth II Park; the overall land area is 49 hectares (120 acres).[1] Queen Elizabeth II contained a running track, as well as a public swimming and diving pool. There is also a cricket ground, behind the main complex, called "The Village Green", which was the home of the district's first-class cricket team, the Canterbury Wizards. A golf course takes up with north-east corner of Queen Elizabeth II Park.[1]

QEII stadium was designed and built for the 1974 Commonwealth Games. The principal consultant for the stadium design was civil engineer Bill Lovell-Smith of Lovell-Smith & Cusiel. The stadium hosted many local and international events, including concerts by many famous artists, such as The Eagles, Beach Boys, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, David Bowie and Red Hot Chili Peppers. On 29 November 1978, it hosted a concert of David Bowie as part of his Isolar II – The 1978 World Tour.[2] The venue was also the site of the last concert by Talking Heads in 1984, apart from their brief reformation for their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. For many years it was the venue for the Christchurch Kids Weet-Bix triathlon, and for athletics and football matches. It was one of venues to host the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup and was used as the main stadium for the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships after repairs from the 2010 earthquake had cleared the facility for use.

A fun park was located adjacent to the pool between the 1980s and early 2000s. The park consisted of Drive World a mini street where visitors could ride mini bikes or mini vehicles around the streets, a mini golf course, a maze, five lane super slide and for a time a mini roller coaster.

The Christchurch City Council had launched a feasibility study into returning the Commonwealth Games to the city in 2018 with QEII Park to be used for athletics and swimming events – with Lancaster Park to be used for rugby sevens as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Prime Minister John Key was against the plan,[3] and the February 2011 earthquake ended any prospect.

Rugby league

The stadium has hosted two rugby league internationals involving New Zealand.[4]

Notable games at the stadium include:

119 June 1985 Australia def. South Island 56–06,800Played as part of the 1985 Kangaroo tour of New Zealand
29 July 1989 Australia def.  New Zealand 26–617,000Played as part of the 1989 Trans-Tasman Test series
315 July 1990 New Zealand def.  Great Britain 21–183,113Played as part of the 1990 Great Britain Lions tour



In March 2012, Christchurch City Council released reports showing that the facilities at Queen Elizabeth II Park were beyond repair.[5] The demolition of the stadium and pool complex began in August 2012.[6]


In February 2015 the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, announced that two single-sex high schools damaged in the earthquakes would be rebuilt at Queen Elizabeth II Park: Avonside Girls' and Shirley Boys'.[7] Christchurch City Council sold 11.5 hectares (28 acres) of land to the Ministry of Education for NZ$4.6m for the two schools.[8][9]

New sports centre

The concept for a new Eastern Sport & Recreation Centre co-located adjacent to the schools was unveiled in May 2016, with an expected opening date in 2018.[10]

It opened as Taiora QEII Recreation and Sport Centre in May 2018.[11]


  1. Battrick, Simon. "Proposed Land Sale – Section of QEII Park". Christchurch City Council. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. Gates, Charlie (12 January 2016). "QEII meets Ziggy Stardust: 1978". The Press. p. A3. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  3. Espiner, Colin (16 March 2010). "Government rejects Auckland Commonwealth Games support". The Press. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  4. Queen Elizabeth II Park @ Rugby League Project
  5. "Engineering reports for Centennial and QEII Park Recreation and Sport Centres made available" (Press release). Christchurch City Council. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  6. "Xth British Commonwealth Games 1974". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. O'Callaghan, Jody; Cairns, Lois (12 February 2015). "Avonside Girls, Shirley Boys to be built at QEII". The Press. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  8. Stylianou, Georgina (27 April 2016). "Council cops criticism over consultation". The Press. p. A4.
  9. Law, Tina (23 June 2016). "QEII Park land to be sold to Ministry of Education for $4.6 million". The Press. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  10. Stylianou, Georgina (28 May 2016). "Council pushes boat out for QEII". The Press. p. A3. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  11. Law, Tina (13 June 2018). "Christchurch's QEII inundated with swimmers, prompting people to question its size". Stuff. Retrieved 20 April 2020.