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Basin Reserve

Cello Basin Reserve
The Basin
A view of Basin Reserve in 2008
Ground information
LocationMount Cook, Wellington, New Zealand
Coordinates41°18′1″S 174°46′49″E / 41.30028°S 174.78028°E / -41.30028; 174.78028
End names
Vance Stand End
Scoreboard End
International information
First Test24–27 January 1930:
 New Zealand v  England
Last Test29 February–3 March 2024:
 New Zealand v  Australia
First ODI9 March 1975:
 New Zealand v  England
Last ODI26 March 2021:
 New Zealand v  Bangladesh
First women's Test20–23 March 1948:
 New Zealand v  Australia
Last women's Test26–29 January 1990:
 New Zealand v  Australia
First WODI23 January 1982:
 Australia v  England
Last WODI1 April 2024:
 New Zealand v  England
First WT20I28 February 2016:
 New Zealand v  Australia
Last WT20I29 March 2024:
 New Zealand v  England
Team information
Wellington (1873–present)
As of 1 April 2024
Source: CricketArchive

The Basin Reserve, also known as the Cello Basin Reserve for sponsorship reasons,[1] and commonly referred to as the Basin, is a cricket ground in Wellington, New Zealand. It is used for Test matches, and is the main home ground of the Wellington Firebirds first-class team. The Basin Reserve is the only cricket ground to have listed status with Heritage New Zealand, in recognition of being the oldest first-class cricket ground in the country.[2] Historically, the ground has also been used for events other than cricket, such as association football matches, concerts and cultural events.

The New Zealand Cricket Museum is located in the Old Grandstand. It houses cricket memorabilia and a reference library. It opened in 1987, and was relaunched in 2021.[3][4][5]


The Basin Reserve is two kilometres south of the Wellington CBD at the foot of Mount Victoria. Government House, St Marks Church School, and the Wellington College boys' school are to the south of the Basin, across the street. At the eastern end of the basin is the Mount Victoria Tunnel, which increased the traffic flow around the Basin Reserve when it was built in 1931.

The Basin Reserve is also surrounded by numerous other Wellington landmarks, including Mount Cook Barracks, the National War Memorial, several colleges and high schools, the Caledonian Hotel and the former Dominion Museum. A fire station is located across the street from the ground: traditionally its occupants would watch ongoing matches during their down-time, and would set off the station's siren to mark New Zealand wickets taken or when a batsman reached a milestone like a 50 or century. The Basin Reserve is the intersection point for the Wellington suburbs of Mount Cook, Newtown and Mount Victoria.[6]

Construction history

The area that is now Basin Reserve was originally a lake (known as the Basin Lake), and there were plans to connect it to the sea by a canal to make it an alternative inner city harbour, with major warehouses and factories alongside it. However, the massive 1855 Wairarapa earthquake uplifted the area nearly 1.8 m (5.9 ft) and turned the lake into a swamp.[7] Due to the colonists' English roots, sport, particularly cricket, was a vital part of the community's way to relax. However, no land had been allocated by the city planners for recreational reserves. Although natural grounds, such as the Te Aro flat, provided a small area for matches, the colonists wanted more recreational land than they had. The matter became dire as buildings began to be erected on these plains, as flat land was hard to find in the mountainous Wellington. So, after the 1855 earthquake, which historians estimate measured magnitude 8,[8] influential citizens seized the chance in 1857 to suggest that the new land be drained and made into a recreational reserve. The Wellington council accepted the proposal and on 3 February 1863 prisoners from the Mount Cook Gaol began to level and drain the new land. The swamp was drained by September and a fence and hedges were placed around the entire area. However, massive population influxes from 1863 to 1866 (caused mostly by the Parliament being situated in Wellington) hampered construction on the Basin Reserve as workers were pulled to other areas.

After a council meeting on 11 December 1866 the Basin Reserve became Wellington's official cricket ground. No cattle or horses were allowed in the ground and only small hedges and shrubs were allowed to be planted so as not to hamper cricket games. Soon after, on 11 January 1868, the first game of cricket was played, although the ground had numerous stones and thistles on it, which the umpire later apologised for as some players got injured from them. Although it was the opening day, no ceremony or music was played, nor was the opening advertised with banners.

Soon after that first event, the Highland Games began to be held at the Basin Reserve. The games were organised by the Wellingtonian Caledonian Society, of which their headquarters, The Caledonian Hotel, still stands towards the south of the Basin Reserve. The society offered up prize money which brought many competitors to the region. Due to their success, the society petitioned to have new grandstands built at the western end of the Basin Reserve. They would measure 44 by 20 ft (13.4 by 6.1 m) and would cost approximately £250–£300. The stands would also hold food stalls and ground keepers. However, for the following years, even up until reportedly 1872, the Basin Reserve grounds were still extremely swampy, with small pools of swamp water and various weeds and shrubs sprouting over the fields. In late 1872, horses were used to level the playing field and this greatly improved the conditions.

Spectators and the William Wakefield Memorial

In 1882, the William Wakefield Memorial was erected at the Basin Reserve. The monument had been in storage for many years, and it was finally erected to commemorate one of the city's founders, William Wakefield, at the main sports ground.[9][10]

The pavilion has been a Category II registered Historic Place since 1982,[11] and the entire Basin Reserve has been a registered Historic Area since 1998.[12] The William Wakefield Memorial has a Category I registration.[10]

In 2012 the Museum Stand of the Basin was declared an earthquake risk and closed; a new player's pavilion was opened in December 2018 and renamed in 2020 in honour of the former Test cricketer Ewen Chatfield.[13]

Event history

Crowd attending a Test match Between England and New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in 2008

The first event held at the Basin Reserve was a one-day cricket match on 11 January 1868 between the Wellington Volunteers and the crew of HMS Falcon, which was docked in Wellington.[14] However, the match was hampered by injuries due to the numerous stones and thistles in the grass, which led to the injury of some players. The umpire apologised to the players after the match for the poor condition of the playing surface.[15]

After that first event, local clubs and societies began organising athletic and social meetings at the Basin Reserve. These meetings eventually coalesced into a meeting known locally as the Highland Games, and it was their success which led to the construction of the ground's first grandstand. The events included athletics, racing, dancing and later wood-chopping and cycling. However, the ground was still swampy in some areas. This was finally remedied in late 1872, which allowed the ground's inaugural first-class cricket match, between Wellington and Auckland, to be played on 30 November 1873. Wellington won the match easily. The Basin Reserve reputedly held the first rugby football match in the North Island,[8] between a Wellington team and the crew of HMS Rosario, which the sailors won by a single goal.

The Australasian Athletic Championships were held at the Basin Reserve on 26–27 December 1911. This was a combined Australian and New Zealand championship, at which New Zealanders won all the track events and Australians won all the field events.[16]

Before embarking on the 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain, the Australian rugby league team stopped in Wellington for an exhibition match at the Basin Reserve.[17]

The main scoreboard: it is named after cricket historian Don Neely

The first Test match played at the ground was between New Zealand and England, the first day of which was 24 January 1930. One-day international cricket was played at the Basin Reserve until 1999, after which it moved to the larger Wellington Regional Stadium on the other side of the Wellington CBD.

On 13 March 2011 the Basin Reserve was host to "Fill the Basin", a cricket event intended to raise money for victims of the 2011 Canterbury earthquake. The event attracted a crowd of more than 10,000 people, with some spectators sitting between the boundary rope and the fence. This is the biggest crowd at the Basin Reserve in the modern era. Players involved in the match included Shane Warne, Stephen Fleming, Tana Umaga, Richard Hadlee, Martin Crowe, other famous former New Zealand cricketers, rugby union players Richie McCaw and Conrad Smith and actors Russell Crowe and Ian McKellen.[18] More than $500,000 was raised towards the relief efforts.[19]

In addition to cricket, other sports have also used the Basin Reserve, including rugby union, rugby league, association football and Australian football matches. During the 1950s and 1960s the ground was the main association football (soccer) venue in the Wellington area, and was used for a number of international matches and Chatham Cup finals.


Test matches

There have been 64 Test matches played at the Basin Reserve as of September 2020.[20] The average runs per wicket is 31.42 while the average runs per wicket through New Zealand is 31.27. The average runs per over is 2.85. The ground is more noted as suiting fast bowlers as opposed to spin bowlers. Nine of the top ten wicket takers at the ground are fast bowlers with top wicket taker being Chris Martin with 58[21] although he only has the 13th best bowling average on the ground.[22]

Brendon McCullum has the highest innings, 302, and is the first Black Cap to pass 300 runs in a test. The previous highest score at the ground and for any NZ test cricketer was the 299 runs by Martin Crowe in 1991[23] Almost a year later in 2015, Kumar Sangakkara scored his 12000th test runs and his 11th double century there while McCullum dropped three catches and scored a two-ball duck in the first innings. It is also a ground where Trent Boult made the most of his one-handed catches. One of which was the one that removed Sangakkara in 2015. In the same test, Kane Williamson scored his first test double century, with his 6th wicket partner BJ Watling scoring a century in the second innings. Williamson also contributed on the field to help NZ win the test match. His catch also made the top play on Sports Center in America[24] In 2017, this is also the ground where Henry Nicholls scored his maiden test century. Late in that year, Tom Blundell scored his maiden Test century on debut, then walked home while still in uniform as he lives near the ground.

The highest total set by a team here in Test cricket was by the New Zealand national cricket team when they scored 680/8 dec on 14 Feb 2014 against the Indian national cricket team. The most runs scored in this ground have been by Ross Taylor- 1279 runs, Kane Williamson (1137 runs) and Martin Crowe (1123 runs). The most wickets have been taken by Chris Martin- 60 wickets, followed by Daniel Vettori-57 wickets and Richard Hadlee- 53 wickets.

ODI matches

In ODI cricket, the highest total has been set by New Zealand against Pakistan when they scored 315/7 on 6 January 2018. The most runs scored in this ground have been by Martin Crowe (345 runs), Andrew Jones (311 runs) and Nathan Astle (285 runs). The most wickets have been taken by Danny Morrison-16 wickets, Chris Harris-13 wickets and Gavin Larsen-12 wickets. Despite the propensity to score Test centuries, Basin Reserve is not a ground for scoring ODI centuries. Only 4 had ever been scored. The most recent was by Martin Guptill on 19 January 2018 against Pakistan, 43 years since Bevan Congdon done so. The only away batsman to score an ODI century here was Shoaib Mohammad of Pakistan in 1989.

See also


  1. ^ "BRT announces new naming rights agreement with Cello". Basin Reserve. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  2. ^ England Cricket legend W. G. Grace remembered at New Zealand Cricket Museum
  3. ^ "New Zealand Cricket Museum". New Zealand Cricket Museum.
  4. ^ "New Zealand Cricket Museum on NZ Museums". Te Papa.
  5. ^ Boyack, Nicholas (18 December 2021). "Bradman and Crowe open the batting at cricket museum". Dominion Post.
  6. ^ [1] Archived 1 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "3. The 1855 Wairarapa earthquake – Historic earthquakes – Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand". 13 July 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  8. ^ a b Neely, D., Romanos, J. (2003). The Basin – An Illustrated History of the Basin Reserve. Canterbury University Press.
  9. ^ "William Wakefield Memorial". Cricket Wellington. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Basin Reserve". New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Basin Reserve Pavilion". New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  12. ^ "Basin Reserve Historic Area". New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 1 December 2009.
  13. ^ "New Zealand v India: After eight years dormant, Basin's 95-year-old stand is back". Stuff. 21 February 2020. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  14. ^ Wiren, A. F. (3 February 1909). "Basin Reserve: A fragment of its history". Evening Post: 10.
  15. ^ Bell, Jamie (27 October 2015). "The Basin Reserve: Cricket comes to play". NZ Cricket Museum. Archived from the original on 16 October 2016. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Australasian Championships - 1911-12".
  17. ^ Fagan, Sean (2009). "New Zealand 'Kangaroos'". Australia. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  18. ^ Geenty, Mark (14 March 2011). "A minute's silence, then three hours of fun". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  19. ^ Duff, Michelle (14 March 2011). "Fill The Basin raises more than $500,000". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  20. ^ "Statistics / Statsguru / Basin Reserve, Wellington". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  21. ^ "HowSTAT! Grounds – Top Players". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  22. ^ "HowSTAT! Grounds – Top Players". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  23. ^ "HowSTAT! Grounds – Top Players". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
  24. ^ Kane Williamson Catch – #1 On Sportscenter Top 10 Plays


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Basin Reserve
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