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Six60 vocalist Matiu Walters explains why the band struggled to play at this iconic venue. Video / Michael Craig / Sky Sport
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New Zealand’s biggest band is struggling to become the first group to play in the Garden of Eden in a new fight for live music in the country’s main stadium.

Six60 – who made NZ music history by becoming the first local band to sell Western Springs – have become the new face of an old stoush that will hold concerts at the All Blacks’ house.

“This is our main venue,” said Six60 frontman Matiu Walters. “Surprisingly, there’s never been a show here. We thought why don’t we just hit the brakes and see if we can make this work.”

Under the Auckland Council Unity Plan, Eden Gardens are allowed to host six musical events a year, depending on the venue and promoter

get resource approval.

The process is so expensive that until now the Garden of Eden has not submitted an application; any bid will be up for grabs by the Garden of Eden Neighbors Association (EPNA). The group was against

extra nighttime and noisy events on the pitch dubbed New Zealand’s “National Stadium”.

But next Monday, Eden Park and EPNA bosses will be locked in a resource approval hearing at Auckland City Hall following a proposal from venue management to be able to host six events annually without approval.

If the Garden of Eden is successful, then Six60 could add the Garden of Eden to their summer 2021 list of shows. The country’s largest city is a surprise anniversary of the band’s six-show tour early next year.

Six60 performing on stage at the sold out show at the Western Springs New Zealand Herald Stadium photo by Alex Robertson 22 February 2020 NZH 04Jun20 -
Six60 performing on stage at the sold out show at the Western Springs New Zealand Herald Stadium photo by Alex Robertson 22 February 2020 NZH 04Jun20 –

Walters confirmed that after playing for two sold-out spectators in Western Springs, they then hoped to play in Eden Park.

But then they realized the bureaucracy they had to go through to be allowed to perform at the venue – the venue for two attempts at winning the World Cup from the All Blacks.

No concerts were held on the ground in its 120 year history.

Garden of Eden chief executive Nick Sautner said he hoped the suburban place would win, based on the support he received before the fight.

“Ninety-four percent of the audience stated emphatically that they support music in the stadium,” Sautner told the Herald on Sunday.

“We have received support from various people and organizations and we are very pleased to have the extraordinary level of support from our local community. This further demonstrates the current and ongoing positive relationship the stadium has with its neighbors.”

Aerial image of Eden Park stadium, Auckland.  23 April 2015 New Zealand Herald Photo by Brett Phibbs
Aerial image of Eden Park stadium, Auckland. 23 April 2015 New Zealand Herald Photo by Brett Phibbs

The neighboring association strongly opposed the move. Its latest bulletin on its website states residents who do not oppose “are at risk of permanently granting the rights and protections currently under the Auckland Unitary Plan without benefit or benefit to you, your family or your community”.

“Eden Park Trust’s goal is to make a profit at your expense.

“If it’s a given – that’s all. There’s no way to reverse or review. You have one shot – it’s not worth the risk.”

Six60 lead singer Matiu Walters in the Garden of Eden.  21 October 2020 Photo of the New Zealand Herald by Michael Craig
Six60 lead singer Matiu Walters in the Garden of Eden. 21 October 2020 Photo of the New Zealand Herald by Michael Craig

It warned about concerts that could finish as late as 11 p.m. and could attract up to 60,000 people.

“Don’t worry at all about the over-the-top / fact-free campaign being carried out by Eden Park,” continued the bulletin. “Fake news as they say.”

Winner of the Six60 award during the New Zealand Music Awards held at Spark Arena, Auckland.  14 November 2019 Photo of the New Zealand Herald by Dean Purcell.
Winner of the Six60 award during the New Zealand Music Awards held at Spark Arena, Auckland. 14 November 2019 Photo of the New Zealand Herald by Dean Purcell.

Eden Park has previously been in talks about holding a charity concert that raises funds for its LifePod baby incubator – with a lineup set to include Phil Collins topping the charts – in 2018.

It was kept after opposition from several local residents, including former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Walters performs the national anthem ahead of last weekend’s All Blacks / Wallabies game at Eden Park.

He said it was “weird thing” that he could sing the national anthem there but “I can’t do my own show”.

If the Garden of Eden bid is successful, Six60 could play there in April.

“We want to be the first band to play in this stadium. It made sense to us that this is a local band and we are in a position to do it, to fill it up and do something crazy here. I think we can put on a great show.

A strong capacity of 50,000 spectators get ready to welcome the New Zealand six60 band to their bestselling show at Western Springs Stadium, Auckland.  23 February 2019 New Zealand reporter Photo by Chris Loufte
A strong capacity of 50,000 spectators get ready to welcome the New Zealand six60 band to their bestselling show at Western Springs Stadium, Auckland. 23 February 2019 New Zealand reporter Photo by Chris Loufte

“It’s just standing there and ready. Look at that. You can see it there and how awesome it is. How amazing it is for the Auckland and New Zealand music,” he enthusiastically looked out over the garden of the box company we talked about.

“Let’s do cool things and let New Zealanders do cool things in the coolest places.”

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