Carisbrook is a major sporting venue in Dunedin, New Zealand. The city's main domestic and international rugby union venue, it has also been used for other sports such as cricket, soccer, rugby league and motocross. Carisbrook has also hosted a Joe Cocker concert and frequently hosted pre-game concerts before rugby matches in the 1990s. In 2011 Carisbrook will be closed, being replaced by Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza in North Dunedin. Floodlit since the 1990s, it can cater for both day and night fixtures. Known locally simply as "The Brook", it has been branded with the name "The House of Pain", due to its reputation as a difficult venue for visiting teams. Located at the foot of The Glen, a steep valley, the ground is flanked by the South Island Main Trunk Railway and the Hillside Railway Workshops, two miles southwest of Dunedin city centre in the suburb of Caversham. State Highway 1 also runs close to the northern perimeter of the ground. Carisbrook was named after the estate of early colonial settler James Macandrew (itself named after a castle in the Isle of Wight). Developed during the 1870s, it was first used for international cricket in 1883, when Otago hosted a team from Tasmania. It has been hosting rugby union internationals since 1908 and full cricket internationals since 1955. The stadium is home to the Highlanders in Super Rugby and Otago in the Air New Zealand Cup. It is the former home of Otago cricket,which moved to the University Oval at Logan Park in the north of the city after the redevelopment in the early 2000s, and also of Otago United Football team in the New Zealand Football Championship, which moved to the lower-capacity Sunnyvale Park for the 2008”“09 season.

Unique atmosphere

"The Scotsman's Grandstand"
The ground's current capacity is around 29,000, but has hosted crowds as high as 42,000 in the past. Until recent years, the sides of a major road overlooking the ground were known as the "Scotsman's Grandstand", from which a free view of the action could be easily obtained. At one time trains would slow to a crawl or stop on the track above the stadium allowing passengers on the train to watch an entire event; other fans would sit on the hill. This was until 1998 when development of a new stand and corporate boxes on that side of the ground blocked the view, rendering this tradition a thing of the past.

Students and terraces
Due, at least in part, to Dunedin's sizable number of tertiary students (20,000 of the city's 120,000 population), Carisbrook has a unique atmosphere, particularly for major games. This is also partly due to the terraces, an uncovered concrete embankment at the eastern end of the ground"reputedly the last open terracing at any major sports venue in New Zealand. The combination of students and terraces can occasionally be responsible for as much excitement and activity in the crowd as on the ground itself"on many occasions, groups (mainly "Scarfies", the colloquial term for University of Otago students) on the terraces set fire to the sofas they had carried to the ground as their own comfortable terrace seating. Mexican waves are also known to become unruly, often involving previously emptied beer cans that have been "recharged" by the crowd ”“ this is especially true when the opportunity arises to throw the cans at Australian supporters. The relationship between students and Carisbrook is an element in the 1999 comedy/thriller film Scarfies , in which a major rugby clash at Carisbrook plays a pivotal part.

The future of Carisbrook
By the beginning of the 21st century, the ground in general and the terraces in particular were under threat. The demands of modern international sport have meant that the ground needs to be significantly upgraded or replaced to continue as an international venue. On 9 August 2006, a proposal was announced that will see the current incarnation of Carisbrook retired, and a new covered stadium built. The new stadium will be based in Awatea Street, Dunedin North, close to the north end of Anzac Avenue. It will thus be within the vicinity of the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, and close to the major sporting facilities of Logan Park and the University Oval. It will also be close to the mouth of the Water of Leith and the shore of the Otago Harbour. Construction and ownership of the stadium will be overseen by the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, led by a former local Dunedin city councillor, Malcolm Farry. The stadium will be built in collaboration with the University of Otago and could include sports research facilities and perhaps a new university gymnasium. The stadium will be expected to be ready for the 2011 Rugby World Cup however the NZRFU has scheduled all the games for Carisbrook. In February 2007 more details about the proposed new stadium were released. It will have 25,000 permanent seats, with the ability to add temporary seating, bringing total capacity to 30,000. The stadium will also be equipped with a clear plastic roof, making it New Zealand's only enclosed rugby stadium. The projected cost is $198 million (NZD), with the Dunedin City Council agreeing to pay $72 million (NZD) and the University of Otago $10 million (NZD). The Otago Regional Council will also contribute. The new stadium's name has been sold and will be named after a local stock broker, Forsyth Barr ”“ this means that when the new stadium is built the "Carisbrook" name will die. Current plans for the existing site involve housing or possibly industrial development; the Historic Places Trust has expressed an interest in some of the existing buildings, including the old ticketing booths. International games were expected to cease at Carisbrook, and the All Blacks lost what was initially thought to be the last ever test at Carisbrook against South Africa on 12 July 2008. As it turned out, the All Blacks returned to Carisbrook to face France on 13 June 2009, which they lost 27”“22. The All Blacks played their last test ever at Carisbrook on 20 June 2010 against Wales, which the All Blacks won 42 ”“ 9. This means that the All Blacks have played every major test playing nation at Carisbrook. The NZRFU has announced that three Rugby World Cup games are scheduled to be played at Carisbrook in 2011, but will be moved to Forsyth Barr Stadium if it is completed in time.

Historic Events
  • 1886 22 November ”“ First international cricket match at Carisbrook, Otago v Australia
  • 1908 30 May ”“ First Otago Rugby defeat of international side, Anglo-Welsh
  • 1908 30 June ”“ First Rugby test at Carisbrook (NZ v Anglo-Welsh)
  • 1922 17 June ”“ New Zealand's first full international football (soccer) match, a 3”“1 win to New Zealand over Australia
  • 1924 9 August ”“ First Rugby League Test at Carisbrook (NZ v England Lions)
  • 1930 21 June ”“ First All Black defeat at Carisbrook (by Great Britain)
  • 1936 1 August ”“ First Ranfurly Shield match at Carisbrook
  • 1955 11 March ”“ First cricket test at Carisbrook
  • 1956 3”“6 February ”“ First NZ cricket test victory at Carisbrook
  • 1987 May”“June ”“ Rugby World Cup games (Italy 18, Fiji 15; Ireland 46, Canada 19)
  • 1992 12 March ”“ Cricket World Cup (New Zealand vs India)
  • 1992 27 September ”“ First extra time in a rugby match in New Zealand (Otago 26, North Harbour 23)
  • 1996 3 March ”“ First Super 12 match at Carisbrook (Otago Highlanders 57, Queensland 17)
  • 1998 25 October ”“ National Provincial Championship Division 1 Final (Otago vs Waikato)
  • 1999 29 May ”“ 1999 Super 12 Final (Highlanders vs Crusaders)
  • 1999 12”“21 November ”“ Group stage matches and one quarter-final of the FIFA Under-17 Soccer World Championship
  • 2005 27 August ”“ The last International Rugby match (All Blacks 31, South Africa 27) before the NZRFU deemed Carisbrook to no longer be a suitable venue for International Rugby
  • 2008 12 July ”“ After a 3 year absence of International Rugby at Carisbrook a one-off match between All Blacks and South Africa was played. At the same time this was South Africa's first win at Carisbrook after beating The All Blacks 30 ”“ 28
  • 2010 19 June ”“ The very last official rugby test was played at the ground (All Blacks vs Wales).
The final game was won by the All Blacks 42 ”“ 9