Rugby: First look at Christchurch's new Te Kaha stadium as 2026 opening target set

One of the most anticipated new major events venues is beginning to take shape in the centre of Christchurch.

The multi-million dollar, multi-use Te Kaha stadium is due to open in April 2026 and will be the new home of the Crusaders, who are already planning for when they take up residence.

The Crusaders are used to setting the benchmark on the field, but soon they believe they'll be doing it in the stands.

"I know there's lots of talk about venues in the country," said chief executive Colin Mansbridge. "I think without a doubt, this is going to be the best."

Construction crews are already working hard on the tools to have Te Kaha ready to host Super Rugby by April 2026.

"There's about 148 [workers] on site at the moment," said Venues Otautahi chief executive Caroline Harvie-Teare. "That's likely to grow to about three to four hundred, depending on where we're at.

"Once the fit out starts, there will be a lot of hands on deck."

And with progress clearly being made, on Friday it was announced fans who buy a Crusaders membership in 2024 and 2025 will join a priority waitlist to select a seat at the new stadium for 2026.

"It's an opportunity for them to get in first, get first dibs on the seats in this place," added Mansbridge.

It might not look like much right now, but the new west stand will be the first completed, and will stretch up to a fourth tier packing in thousands of excited fans.

Early next year, the roof structure will start to be built, as relief for those that enjoy rugby, but not Christchurch's chilly winter.

"I find it difficult on those cold nights myself," said incoming Crusaders coach Rob Penney. "I'll be perched up there myself."

There seems to be just one thing the stadium plans though, a statue for All Blacks-bound Scott Robertson. 

Seven Super Rugby titles in as many years, surely they'll sign off on that.