Waikato Stadium is primarily a rugby union venue, being the home of the Chiefs Super Rugby team, as well as the Waikato team competing in the domestic Mitre 10 Cup. The Chiefs won back to back Super Rugby Finals in 2012 and 2013 at Waikato Stadium, becoming the fourth team to do so. Cowbells are a common feature at both Chiefs and Waikato matches, with the ‘mooloo’ bell a nod to the area’s dairy farming.
The stadium was opened in 2002 following the reconstruction of the old Rugby Park, hosting its first All Blacks international in June 2002 as they won 64-10 over Italy. A number of internationals have been held at Waikato Stadium since, including an 83-7 pool match win over Japan at the ultimately successful 2011 Rugby World Cup for New Zealand rugby. The stadium also hosted two Wales pool matches at the tournament – a 17-10 win over Samoa and a dominant 66-0 win over Fiji.
Another significant match occurred at the stadium on the 11th June 2005, with the Māori All Blacks winning their first ever match over a touring British and Irish Lions side. They hung on for a 19-13 victory in a match that was billed as a fourth test in what was a disastrous tour for the Lions. Māori culture is prominent within the stadium, the carved Whatanoa Gateway (commemorating the ancient traditions and landmarks of the Waikato Tainui) is at the entrance to the stadium and the carvings Nga Tapuwae Ki Te Ao Marama (Sacred Footsteps into the World of Light) located in the players tunnel.
The New Zealand Rugby Sevens tournament on the World Rugby Sevens Series has been played in the stadium since 2018, although it will be held elsewhere in 2021 before returning in 2022.
Rugby League has also been played at the Waikato, with NRL side New Zealand Warriors playing a number of games here. The stadium hosted international rugby league test matches for the first time at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, with Tonga defeating Samoa 32-18 and Tonga defeating the hosts New Zealand 28-22. Tonga returned to Hamilton in 2019 as they defeated the touring Great Britain Lions 14-6.
The stadium has also hosted football, with the Wellington Phoenix hosting an A-League fixture in Hamilton in 2016, along with matches at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
The stadium is still referred to as Rugby Park, with the old stadium hosting a controversial match between the All Blacks and Springboks in 1981 that was cancelled in the face of protests against apartheid and reports that a hijacked light aircraft was heading to the stadium.
Tickets at Waikato Stadium
Tickets for the Chief’s 2020 Super Rugby season ranged from $20 to $69 for Adults, $15 to $30 for students and $8 for children (under 14). Ticket information and booking is available on the official Chiefs website here.
Tickets for Waikato’s 2019 Mitre 10 Cup campaign ranged from $20 to $42.50 for Adults, $10 for students and $6.50 to $15 for children (under 14). Ticket information for upcoming matches will be available on the Waikato website.
New Zealand Sevens Tickets
Ticket information and booking is available on the official New Zealand Sevens website. Two day tickets for the 2020 event started were $20 for kids, $107 for adults and $57 for youth (15-17).
Location & Travel to Waikato Stadium
Waikato Stadium is located in central Hamilton, on the western side of the Waikato River on the North Island of New Zealand.
Airport – Hamilton Airport is located about 15km south of Hamilton. The Airport is solely used for domestic flights and has regular flights to Christchurch, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Tauranga and Wellington. The closest international airport Auckland, about a 90 minute drive to the North of Hamilton.
Hamilton can be reached from Hamilton Airport by shuttle bus which costs $30 and takes approximately 20 minutes, or a taxi costs $50/$60 and also takes about 20 minutes.
Thinking of flying to Hamilton? Search & book your flights through Skyscanner here.
Car Parking – There is a car park at Whitiora School directly opposite the school, costing $10 (cash only). Alternatively there are several car parks located in Hamilton CBD.
Shuttle Bus – There is a free BUSIT on match days to and from Hood St outside the Knox St car park every 10 minutes from an hour before kick-off. The bus travel vias Victoria, Ulster and Abbotsford streets to the stadium.
Walk – Given its central location, you can walk to Waikato Stadium from Hamilton’s CBD in 15-20 minutes along Seddon Road.