The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust today announced a $3 million loan towards construction of the new pavilion at Hagley Oval, providing a new home ground for cricket and much needed community meeting spaces following the impact of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The $3 million loan will be written off over five years provided the following commitments are met: the pavilion and oval are used for suitable community events and sports other than cricket and the pavilion provides free changing rooms and public toilets for summer and winter sports players using surrounding grounds. In addition a number of complimentary match tickets are made available for people adversely affected by the earthquakes, including younger cricket players and members of the wider community.

The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes destroyed the key cricket venues in Christchurch, AMI Stadium and QEII Park; and Hagley Oval will now replace AMI Stadium, formerly Lancaster Park and New Zealand’s oldest test cricket venue, as the home ground of cricket in Canterbury.

Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trustee Dr Rod Carr says: “Playing and watching sport is an important part of the social, recreational and cultural life of many who live in Canterbury. We’ve seen with the temporary AMI Stadium in Addington that people have thoroughly enjoyed participating in sport and events again. And so, Trustees are loaning Appeal funds conditional on the pavilion and oval being freely accessible to all sports, and used to host community events that are open to the public. As part of our loan arrangement we’re delighted that Canterbury Cricket and New Zealand Cricket will be offering a number of complimentary tickets to major cricket games to be played at Hagley Oval.”

The pavilion project is being delivered by the Canterbury Cricket Trust on behalf of Canterbury Cricket. The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust funding represents one third of the project’s $9 million budget.

Canterbury Cricket Trust chairman Lee Robinson said: “This is another important step forward for the project following August’s Environment Court decision in favour of the wider Hagley Oval redevelopment. The pavilion and embankment, together with the new playing surface already in place, will enable Christchurch to host once again host international cricket, including three matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015.”

Cricket is the primary summer sport played in New Zealand and in Canterbury it has the largest number of participants of any sport, with 22,000 players and over 16% growth since 2007, closely followed in popularity by rugby union, netball and football.

Therese Walsh, Head of New Zealand for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, said Cantabrians’ passion for the sport and the opportunity to return major fixtures to Christchurch and showcase its recovery and resilience to the world were key reasons behind the tournament organisers’ decision to include Christchurch as a host city.

“Christchurch will play a starring role in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, including the opening ceremony and the tournament’s opening game between New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The support of the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust has delivered additional momentum to the redevelopment of Hagley Oval – a ground that will welcome the world on 14 February 2015,” she said.

In 2011 the Appeal Trust loaned $5 million toward the cost of building the temporary sports stadium in Addington (AMI Stadium) and since it opened it has hosted numerous free or low cost community events, such as The Concert, children’s sports days and a community open day.

Other large grants made by the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust include: $1.1 million to the Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre, $1.94 million in total for tennis projects, $1 million for hockey, $786,500 for rowing facilities, $472,665 towards football, $441,500 towards netball, $2.5 million to The Court Theatre, $3.2 million loan to the Re:START mall, $2.8 million to St John, $6.5 million for water attractions at the new Christchurch City Council sports centre for the eastern suburbs, $2 million to repair walkways, cycleways and other public amenities along the Kaiapoi River, $14.2 million restoration of the Arts Centre and $15 million to “Connecting the City to the Sea”.