Matt Heath: The babies of Eden Park need our support

Publish Date
Monday, 11 June 2018, 9:03AM
NZ Herald

NZ Herald

Auckland doesn't need a new billion dollar stadium. We have heaps of good ones already. Take Eden Park. Maybe we chuck a roof on top at some point but apart from that she's great. The major problem with our national stadium is they aren't allowed to use it much.

That's why I was excited about this huge announcement last week. 'Eden Park has applied to the Auckland Council for resource consent to hold a massive concert headlined by a 'globally renowned artist' next Waitangi Day'.

This super event will launch the Sir Ray Avery Foundation LifePod Appeal. A Live Aid style concert with lots of bands and other stuff which aims to save one million babies.

A concert at the stadium for a good cause is a fantastic idea. But I'd argue holding major musical events in the middle of our city is a good cause in itself. Big concerts bring happiness to tens of thousands. Eden Park is the only major stadium in the country that isn't allowed to do it.

On Wednesday morning I joined a crowd of shivering Aucklanders in the South Stand for this public announcement. After an intro from CEO Nick Sautner and his swaddled baby the great Sir Ray Avery spoke. He reminded me of Jurassic Park owner John Hammond as he stood proudly beside his creation.

A futuristic baby-saving invention. Although to be fair I couldn't really see him. I was behind international cricketing super star batsman Martin Guptill. What a specimen. Tall, wiry, fast. Firm, proud buttocks.

The pre-eminent scientist broke the sad news that he only has 5000 days left. Don't worry there's nothing wrong with him.

He's 71 so he's planning on hitting his mid 80s. Hopefully he lives much longer. He's done so much but is determined to do even more with his remaining years. That's why he's invented this tough, stylish-looking incubator. Took him ten years. If the Eden Park event raises $4 million dollars he can build and ship enough of these to save a million little babies. That's if the event gets consent.

In my opinion Eden Park should be allowed to hold concerts even when it's not saving infants. We all know there are international superstars gagging for our 40 thousand seater central city stadium. As our top promoter Brent Eccles put it in a previous column 'we set up a stadium with the biggest capacity but don't allow the biggest events to play there'.

So the big question is, who will this major global artist be?. (If the event gets the support it needs). David Bowie, Prince and Tom Petty can't make it. I doubt they will go for the likes of Slayer, Metallica or Celine Dion (wrong vibe).

Also they're saving babies so it's unlikely to be anyone profane. Unfortunately that rules out Conner4Real, Style Boyz and Hunter the Hungry. Also those last three are fictional bands from the film Pop Stars Never Stop Never Stopping. Very funny movie. It's on Netflix at the moment. The closing song Incredible Thoughts featuring Michael Bolton will blow your mind.

So ruling out the dead, the inappropriate and the fictional who could the international artist joining the line up be? Apparently we find out in two months. That's if the consent gets signed off by the council.

A big Eden Park event would be especially good and handy for people like me who live super close to the venue. What a treat to have a massive show in your neighbourhood. That's why Eden Park has been flooded with messages of support from their 'Hood' community. But it wouldn't just be for lucky locals. Eden Park is central. So equally handy for the North Shore, the West, the East and the South.

A major musical event at our national stadium in our biggest city is a good thing in itself. Throw in a million babies saved and you'd have to really try hard to want to oppose it. If you like the idea have your say. A great event, in the middle of a great city for a great cause. Surely everyone will be onboard. Surely.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission.