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Semenoff Stadium / About

Semenoff Stadium is a multipurpose facility catering for conferences, meetings, weddings, functions, festivals, concerts and sports events.

Semenoff Stadium is governed and managed by Northland Events Centre (2021) Trust.

Semenoff Stadium has hosted a number of successful events including RWC 2011, FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015, DHL British and Irish Lions, Vodafone Warriors, SuperRugby, Six60 concerts, Whangārei Fritter Festival, Christmas Festival, Bunnings Warehouse NPC, Rugby League Northland and Northern Region Football.

The stadium is hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2022.

Like us on Facebook image.  Northland Events Centre

Stadium Redevelopment

Semenoff Stadium redevelopment was completed in May 2010 at a cost of $18.5 million. Northland Regional Council contributed $13 million and Whangarei District Council $3 million towards the new Northland Events Centre.

Central Government contributed an additional $2.5 million to allow the events centre facility to meet Rugby World Cup 2011 standards.

The new facility was designed by Copeland Associates Architects and built by Argon Construction. It was officially opened by His Excellency The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand the Governor-General of New Zealand one year after completion on 28 May 2011.

Prior to the redevelopment Okara Park as it was known, was predominantly used for rugby union events and managed by the Northland Rugby Union.

The old facilities served the Whangarei region for the previous 40 years but had reached the end of their economic life.

The old grandstand built in 1965 was not up to the required standard to host high quality sporting fixtures, concerts, cultural events or major functions.

The event centre provides opportunities for the Northland region to have a quality, well planned and fully equipped venue for major sporting, entertainment, cultural and family events.

The venue has a capacity of 18,500. 


Northland Events Centre (2021) Trust

Four new trustees bringing a wealth of experience have been appointed to set up the Northland Events Centre (2021) Trust and take the Semenoff Stadium into a new era of commercial and popular success.  

The new trustees - Nigel Brereton, Steve Armitage, Hetty Van Hale, and Paula Kearns - bring decades of experience in diverse sectors to the Trust.

The objectives and purpose of the Northland Events Centre (2021) Trust include having a regional focus and providing a cultural centre for social and cultural organisations. To this end a suitable candidate from local hapu is sought, through Te Huinga, to be appointed to the remaining Trustee position

  • Photo of Nigel Brereton.

    Nigel Brereton (chairman)

    Member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and the Institute of Directors.

    Nigel has a commitment to the wellbeing and development of Tai Tokerau.

    He has lived in Whangārei with his family since returning from his OE in 1999. Nigel has three adult children and has been married to Helen since May 1991.

    He enjoys getting outdoors in the north, especially on his mountain bike. Nigel has just completed seven years on the Sport Northland board, the last three as chair.

    Nigel is a member of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and the Institute of Directors. He has been a Chartered Accountant since 1991, a partner in Russell Turner Chartered Accountants since 2001.

  • Photo of Steve Armitage

    Steve Armitage

    Masters of Arts (Hons) in Political Science (University of Auckland).

    Steve is of Ngāpuhi descent with strong familial connections  to Whangārei and the Far North.

    He has most recently been General Manager Destination at Auckland Unlimited,  the region's cultural and economic growth agency, where he oversaw portfolios including:

    • tourism marketing
    • business and major events
    • international education
    • destination management.

    Prior to this he worked in a variety of political advisory roles  in the private sector, and across central and local  government. 

    Steve has provided leadership across many major events in recent years, including:

    • Auckland's annual major events programme
    • the 36th America’s Cup in 2021.

    Steve has a Masters of Arts (Hons) in political science from the University of Auckland.

  • Photo of Hetty Van Hale.

    Hetty Van Hale

    BA in Linguistics (Victoria University), a post-graduate Diploma of Information Science (Riverina Institute, Australia), and a Certificate in Company Direction from the NZ Institute of Directors.

    Hetty is a professional director with extensive governance experience and over 30 years experience in  senior executive roles with medium to large NZ companies.

    She is currently a director of High Performance Sport New  Zealand and a Trustee of Central Lakes Trust.

    She has been a past board member of:

    • Sky City Queenstown Community Trust
    • Badminton NZ 
    • Snow Sports NZ
    • Winter Games NZ Trust
    • Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust
    • Wanaka Wastebusters
    • Mt Aspiring College Foundation
    • Lake Wanaka Tourism
    • Project Crimson
    • the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of NZ.

    Hetty runs her own strategic planning consultancy aimed at small to medium enterprises. She has extensive experience in corporate communications and marketing and previous roles include:

    • Information Manager - Brierley Investments
    • Communications Manager - Carter Holt Harvey
    • Marketing Manager - Treble Cone for Tourism Holdings Ltd
    • Marketing and Communications Manager - Infinity Investment Group. 

    She has a BA in Linguistics from Victoria University, a post-graduate Diploma of Information Science from Riverina  Institute, Australia, and a Certificate in Company Direction from the NZ Institute of Directors.

  • Photo of Paula Kearns.

    Paula Kearns

    Bachelor of Commerce (Auckland University), Chartered Accountant of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand.

    Paula has worked as an executive and a non-executive director over the last 15 years.

    An experienced Audit, Finance and Risk Committee Chair she has a diversity of experience across a range of sectors and is currently in governance roles with:

    • New Zealand Avocado
    • New Zealand Rugby League
    • Mahitahi Hauora
    • Mount Wellington Trust Hotels
    • Ministry for Environment
    • Savey Investments Ltd.

    Previous governance roles include Ara Taiohi, Foundation North, and NZ Football and previous leadership roles include Youthtown Inc and Canoe Racing NZ. 

    Paula’s qualifications are a Bachelor of Commerce from Auckland University, she is a Chartered Accountant of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors New Zealand.

    Paula lives with her husband on their 8ha avocado orchard in Maungakaramea and she enjoys horse riding in her spare time. Her large whānau includes seven adult children and nine grandchildren.