So, not content with Eden Park with all its history and associated sports heritage, some folk think we need a new stadium, but while we're contemplating the hole in the ground on the waterfront like the good climate change sceptics that we are, let me offer an alternative venue. A floating stadium.

Unencumbered by a need to be tethered to the land and able to be deployed at a moment's notice to the far reaches of New Zealand's southernmost provinces, there's something in it for everyone.

I've been on Google and eBay and hopefully you may agree that I've done some sums. The size of a full-size rugby football field is 144m x70m (10080sq metres). The size of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier is 332.9m long and 77 metres wide, easily big enough to support a full-size rugby field.


The latest aircraft carriers go for upwards to $13 billion but I'm sure we could find a decommissioned one on eBay or Gumtree for a bit less. Painted black and covered in silver ferns, this floating stadium would be able to travel around the country creating much benefit to the provinces.

Nelson, Westport and Bluff for a start would be able to view top class rugby games from the comfort of their beaches, even from their armchairs if they had a view of the coast and binoculars.

Councils from around the country would clamour to be a part of this new floating rugby stadium and the long suffering Auckland ratepayers might be spared another of our council's monuments to brain fade and Mammon.

I also like the idea of calling it Nimitz because it begins with an N and ends with a Z.

A Nimitz-class carrier could transport test rugby to deserving spots such as Nelson, Westport and Bluff.
A Nimitz-class carrier could transport test rugby to deserving spots such as Nelson, Westport and Bluff.

On the off days when the floating stadium wasn't being used as a rugby venue it could be deployed between Devonport and the city as a roll on roll off Bailey Bridge. An opening could be made in the bow by those very clever boys and girls at the Devonport Naval Base, and cars could travel freely through the ship to the stern-end, unencumbered by the need to travel on Auckland's congested motorways and the very awful Lake Rd.

Now I know a lot of you think this wonderful proposal of a sunken stadium would be the most amazing fixture for our harbour. But think of all the other uses a floating stadium would have. Think of the sale of tickets to watch the America's Cup.

Heck, put some foils on the bottom and it could be our new surprise secret weapon for the next America's Cup. It could be a bit slow making it around the markers but would make up the speed on the long legs past Rangitoto and back.

Paying corporate guests (tax deductible of course) could have the best view up in the foc'sle and the Nimitz would easily pay its way.


At the end of its usefulness the Nimitz could be used as a retirement home and go cruising up to the islands giving the Calypso Princess a run for its money and bringing even more joy to our elders in their twilight years.

Those twilight years made even happier by knowing that they were travelling on a ship that had made sporting history. Our very own floating rugby field.

Helen Hickford is retired and living in West Auckland. This was written after "a very happy brunch over Labour Weekend".