Kaikōura-based fish and chip business Coopers Catch has been awarded naming rights to Auckland’s Eden Park stadium for this weekend’s Bledisloe Cup rugby union match between New Zealand and Australia.

Coopers Catch was given naming rights by ASB Bank, which last week acquired the rights with the intention of lending them to a New Zealand business in need of a boost amid COVID-19. Nick Sautner, chief executive of Eden Park, hopes the gesture will inspire New Zealanders to support neighbourhood businesses.

As part of the agreement, Eden Park will be known as Coopers Catch Park for the rest of the week. It marks the first naming-rights sponsor in the stadium’s history.

Coopers Catch is owned by Jason and Natasja Hill, who are both avid rugby fans. The couple have run Coopers Catch for five years and the shop has become popular with locals and visitors.

Jason Hill said: “It’s beyond any dream my wife Natasja and I had for our business. We’re so grateful to ASB for backing us in what’s been a really tough time, particularly for a town like Kaikōura that has been so dependent on tourism.

“I’m a rugby nut and it’s an absolute honour to become part of New Zealand rugby history as the first business to borrow naming rights to Eden Park. The nationwide promotional boost will be phenomenal not only for us and I hope it benefits the wider Kaikōura business community because we’ve all been through a lot in recent times.”

ASB is an existing sponsor of Eden Park and holds naming rights to the venue’s northern stand.

Tim Deane, ASB’s executive general manager of business banking, said: “I was lucky enough to try their fish and chips and they’re something else! I’d encourage anyone passing though Kaikōura to make a point of visiting Jason and the team.

“As a hospitality business in a town that’s usually thriving on international visitation, this family-run business has demonstrated impressive effort to get through the tough situation they’ve been facing, while keeping their cherished team together. I’m thrilled to see them get such a helping hand and can’t wait to see the Coopers Catch logo take centre stage at one of the world’s most revered stadiums for this weekend’s great trans-Tasman rugby clash.”

New Zealand will host Australia at Eden Park on Sunday and fans will be able to attend the match after Auckland recently moved to Alert Level 1 of its COVID-19 response system.

Images: Eden Park