Campaign launched to rename Wellington cricket ground

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to rename Wellington’s Basin Reserve cricket ground to reflect the lack of women’s sports coverage in New Zealand.

The campaign is seeking to rebrand the facility as the Support Women’s Sport Basin Reserve, with the group behind the initiative seeking NZ$100,000 (£54,000/€60,000/$68,000) to secure the rights over a two-year period. At the time of writing, NZ$7,184 has been donated.

If NZ$50,000 is raised, the group will secure naming rights to the Basin Reserve for a year, and if a target of NZ$150,000 is reached, the deal would run for three years.

The group features Olympic athletes Sarah Cowley, Megan Compain and Chantal Brunner. In a video outlining why the initiative has been launched, it is claimed that the coverage of women’s sport in New Zealand makes up 10 per cent of all sports media coverage in the country.

The ground is owned by Wellington City Council. The city’s Mayor Justin Lester and councillor Fleur Fitzsimons – a Basin Reserve trustee – have expressed their support for the campaign, which will run for 17 days.

“We will be sending an important message to girls and women across the world that in Wellington we value the role of women in sport,” Fitzimons said, according to the Stuff.co.nz website.

“I want all girls to feel valued when playing sport at whatever level. We have more work to do to ensure equal pay for women and men in sport and much more to do around promotion of women athletes and women’s sport, but renaming our premier test cricket ground to support women’s sport is an important symbol.

“Sport has been a huge part of my life, both playing and watching our national teams, but the important role that women play in sport, sport administration and in commentary does not get the attention it deserves and we need to change this.”

The Basin Reserve has a capacity of 13,000 and serves as New Zealand’s home venue for Test, first-class and one-day cricket.

Image: PaddyBriggs