By Forsyth Barr Stadium | Posted: Wednesday August 10, 2016

Forsyth Barr Stadium is the world’s only permanently covered stadium to boast a natural turf playing field, designed by leading architects and incorporating a space-age transparent roof. We let the sun shine in while keeping the rain off your head. All the while our eco-friendly irrigation systems keeps the grass green under your feet.

Construction of this extraordinary building commenced in June 2009 and was completed in August 2011.

The Roof

A natural grass turf under a permanent roof — it's a world first, found only in clean, green New Zealand.

Our amazing roof is made out of ETFE, a transparent polymer originally developed for the space industry. This incredible roof technology means you’ll be protected from the wind, rain and snow while you can still feel the sunlight on your face and see the stars at evening concerts.

ETFE has been used for over 25 years in the building industry. In fact, you’ll find the same roofing material over the Beijing National Aquatics Centre (aka the Water Cube), the UK National Space Centre and The Eden Project (the world's largest eco-conservatory).

By using ETFE technology, our stadium roof has these properties:

  • Does not degrade under ultraviolet light or atmospheric pollution
  • Chemically inert
  • Exceptionally long life span
  • Its perfectly smooth surface is ‘self-cleaning’ — dirt is unable to stick to it and is washed away by rainwater
  • Lighter than glass (1% the weight) yet incredibly strong — able to bear 400 times its own weight and stretch to 3 times its length — which means it’ll handle wind and snow with ease
  • Cost-effective — up to 70% cheaper to install vs. glass, and it transmits more light and heat than glass (resulting in up to 30% less energy costs)

But don't be fooled into thinking the roof will put a lid on the action. The internal roof height — a dizzying 37 metres — has been designed to allow plenty of room for rugby balls to be kicked and all kinds of high-flying action to take place underneath.

The Pitch

A natural grass turf under a permanent roof — it's a world first, found only in clean, green New Zealand.

The rectangular pitch is a beautiful expanse of natural grass turf, 126 by 75 metres and with an additional 3 metre artificial turf perimeter. The playing area meets the size requirements for major sporting codes including Rugby Union, Rugby League and Football (soccer).


Construction Facts and Figures

  • Construction began in June 2009 and was completed in August 2011 (in time for the Rugby World Cup)
  • 609 foundation piles support the stadium
  • Stadium footprint is 31,050 square metres (3.1 hectares or 7.7 acres) — big enough to host major sports and conference events with ease.
  • Quantity of ETFE is 20,500 square metres
  • Roof is supported by 5 arches, each with 105 metre span
  • Maximum external height of main roof is 47 metres (12 storeys)
  • Internal roof clearance above centre line of pitch is 37 metres (much taller than the highest observed rugby kick of 29.4 metres)
  • The entire rectangular pitch is 132 metres long by 81 metres wide (big enough for all major sports codes)
  • 4 stands, 5 lounges and 21 corporate suites
  • 12 food & beverage outlets
  • 600 new jobs created during construction; 1000 people employed for major events
  • Net economic benefit to Otago and Dunedin estimated at $24 million per year