Mt Smart Stadium will become the 15th Test venue in New Zealand for the All Blacks when they play Tonga in the Steinlager Series game on Saturday.
The south Auckland venue will also be the fifth for Test rugby in Auckland after Potters Park (1908), Eden Park (1921), Epsom Showgrounds (1958) and North Harbour Stadium (1997).
The stadium has been around since 1967 after it had been developed from the quarry on what had been the Rarotonga/Mt Smart volcanic cone.
After a quiet few years, it came to international attention when it was the New Zealand venue for controversial World Series Cricket games organised by Australian television magnate Kerry Packer while he and the International Cricket Council were doing legal battle over Packer’s breakaway cricket movement. Three games were played at the ground, including the only New Zealander given dispensation to play, Richard Hadlee.
It became a popular venue for annual track and field tours staged in the late-1970s, especially around the time of John Walker, Dick Quax, Rod Dixon, Anne Audain and Allison Roe. It was the venue where Walker became the first miler to run 100 sub-four-minute miles.
It was also the home ground for New Zealand football’s All Whites during their outstanding 1981-82 campaign to qualify for the World Cup in Spain in 1982.
The ground was given a major overhaul when it was chosen as the venue of the 1990 Commonwealth Games and then, with the development of the Warriors rugby league team, it became the home ground for the side in the NRL competition from 1995 onwards.
Rugby league Test matches have also been played on the ground while the athletics track at the ground has been moved to another site on Mt Smart Stadium No2.
Given its location in the industrial area of Panmure it has been a popular venue for outdoor music concerts with many top world groups performing, including hosting the Big Day Out from 1994-2014.
The All Blacks now have their chance to make their mark on the famous ground when they take part in a historic double-header on Saturday.
The Māori All Blacks and Manu Samoa kick off the action when they clash at 4.30pm before the All Blacks take on Tonga at 7.05pm.
The Test grounds are: Athletic Park (Wellington), Tahuna Park (Dunedin), Carisbrook (Dunedin), Lancaster Park (Christchurch), Potters Park (Auckland), Eden Park (Auckland), Epsom Showgrounds (Auckland), McLean Park (Napier), North Harbour Stadium (Auckland), Rugby Park (Hamilton), Sky Stadium (Wellington), Rugby Park (New Plymouth), Rugby League Park (Christchurch), Trafalgar Park (Nelson), Mt Smart Stadium (Auckland).