Eden Park – really listening to the neighbours
New Zealand had won the rights to host the 2011 Rugby World Cup, based on an enlarged capacity at Eden Park and a substantial facilities upgrade for the country to host the finals. The relationship between the Eden Park management and local neighbours had long been fractious.
As the principal funder the Government faced a serious risk that neighbourhood groups would unite and contest the resource consent process, creating delays in the already tight construction timeline and jeopardising entire Rugby World Cup. The political ramification of losing the hosting rights to Australia for a second time in eight years was the organisers worst nightmare.
The Eden Park Development Trust Board called in Morrison McDougall for assistance to develop key messages to key stakeholders and the general public of New Zealand. Critical among those were the park’s neighbours. Already there were two organisations, and a perception that many local people were ready to oppose the development.
Both senior account executives Iain Morrison and Graeme Colman developed and executed a plan. Graeme Colman developed a series of tracking surveys, which could measure the views of Aucklanders in four zones – zone one were those living by the park.
The research revealed the real views of neighbours and Aucklanders – in support of the cup and the development. It also listened to neighbours’ real concerns over park development issues, perceived and real. As the $190 million+ project progressed, real concerns were referred to contractors to address.
The research also found the most vocal organisation opposing development had least support.
The media were provided with extensive briefings and an open day enabled residents to see the plans first hand and understand how the completed project had been mitigated to ensure the best possible outcomes for the neighbourhood.
The Business Difference
The construction of the new Eden Park was completed ahead of schedule and New Zealand went on to host an outstandingly good Rugby World Cup, attracting visitors from around the globe and television audiences of millions. Winning the Cup on the field was the icing on the cake.