It's only temporary but it will at least be a home and Christchurch will soon be able to host national and international sporting and cultural events after the turmoil caused by the Christchurch earthquakes.
Prime Minister John Key today announced a new temporary stadium on Rugby League Park with seating for 17,000 at a cost of $20 million. The tab will be picked up by the Government, with help from the Christchurch City Council and NZRU.
The All Blacks will play a test against Ireland there in June but it will also play home to the Crusaders and Canterbury rugby teams. The Wellington Phoenix have also said they would consider returning to play a game there and organisers for football's Under-20 World Cup to be staged in New Zealand in 2015 will add it to the list of possible venues.
Sport is one way to help heal the considerable wounds from the earthquakes, which caused the relocation of a number of Rugby World Cup games away from Christchurch. The announcement coincided with today's New Zealand Cup trotting at Addington, the first major event to be hosted in the city for some time.
"Restoring the opportunity for Cantabrians to support their major sporting teams is an important part of the recovery and rebuilding of Christchurch,'' Key said.
"The new temporary stadium will allow Cantabrians to experience the excitement of Crusaders and Canterbury ITM Cup home games again as well as Phoenix football matches, rugby league games, other major sporting events, concerts and festival events.
"I'm thrilled the New Zealand Rugby Union has also announced today our world champion All Blacks will play a test match against Ireland at the new venue in June next year.
"Cantabrians have had to endure so much over the past 14 months, with the series of earthquakes meaning they missed out on hosting any Rugby World Cup matches and all of the Crusaders' home games this year.
"Today's announcement about the new stadium is fantastic news after it was decided a few months ago that the badly damaged AMI Stadium would be closed for all of 2012 as engineering assessments continue.''
Construction will start on Rugby League Park next week and is expected to be completed by March next year, in time for the 2012 Super Rugby season and the Crusaders' first home game. It will include undercover seating for 8500 people as well as corporate hosting facilities.
Capacity exists for the stadium to increase to 25,000 with temporary seating and New Zealand Football chief executive Grant McKavanagh said it was a genuine option for future All Whites and Football Ferns matches, as well as the Under-20 World Cup.
"It's an important step in Christchurch being able to host matches during the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup, an event which will give the city valuable world-wide exposure,'' McKavanagh said.
Rugby League Park is unlikely to be a long-term option, even though AMI Stadium is likely to be demolished. Options for a new, more permanent venue are being considered.