The Future of Forbury Park

Have your say on how Dunedin’s Forbury Park could be used in the future.

Feedback is now open until Tuesday 5 October 2021.

Due to the recent Covid-19 lockdown, the closing date for feedback has been extended from 14 September until 5 October 2021.
The community drop-in sessions have also been re-scheduled. These will be happening on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21 September at the Dunedin Rugby Football Club. Registrations for the drop-in sessions are essential.

We want to hear from you

Forbury Park in South Dunedin has closed for racing, and there is now an exciting opportunity to consider how the land will be used in the future.

The 12.2 hectare property offers one of the biggest pieces of available land in the greater Otago District.

Harness Racing New Zealand wants to know what you would like to see here as it plans the next steps with the Forbury Park Trotting Club.

We have already been presented with several possible options for the site and would like to hear your views on these, as well as any other ideas you might have.


What are the options

The options that have been presented so far include:

  • A mix of residential properties from low cost to high end housing. This could include some multi-level apartments.
  • Water detention areas. These are likely to be part of any development because of the low-lying nature of this part of South Dunedin.
  • Retaining some of Forbury Park’s current buildings.
  • Some of the site being used to increase St Clair School’s playing fields.

It’s important that we know what you think of these options and if there are other ideas or issues we should consider.

Once we have gathered everyone’s opinions and ideas, we will review them and take them into account when thinking about future plans for the site.


Have your say

We want to hear what you think about the future of Forbury Park and what would benefit the local community and wider Dunedin.

Have your say by clicking on the Feedback form button below or alternatively, please email your submission to [email protected]

Feedback is open until 5pm, Tuesday 5 October 2021.


Register for one of our community drop-in sessions

We are hosting two community drop-in sessions where you can come to ask questions, learn more about the consultation, and provide feedback.

There is an evening session and a daytime session:

  • When: Monday 20 September, 2021
  • Where: Dunedin Rugby Football Club, 12 Moana Rua Road, St Kilda - Dunedin
  • Time: 7.00pm – 9.00pm

  • When: Tuesday 21 September, 2021
  • Where: Dunedin Rugby Football Club, 12 Moana Rua Road, St Kilda – Dunedin
  • Time: 11.00am – 1.00pm

Booking is essential. Under Covid-19 alert level rules, indoor events are limited to 50 people per event. Bookings will help to manage numbers at the drop-in sessions.

Because there is a restriction on numbers - where possible, please only register yourself for the session or attend with one other person from your household. If you are feeling unwell, we ask that you please do not attend. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Register for the community drop-in sessions

Please email us:

  • Your name (and the name of anyone else from your household who wants to attend)
  • Your phone number
  • Which session you want to attend

to [email protected]

If there are large numbers of people wishing to attend, we may have to limit who can be there. If you cannot attend, please contact us at [email protected]


About Forbury Park

Forbury Park is one of the country’s oldest racing venues and has, until now, been Dunedin’s home of harness and greyhound racing.

The 12.2 hectare park is located in South Dunedin, close to St Clair beach.

Map of Forbury

Key features of the site include:

  • Two stands – one old and one very old.
  • A bar, restaurant and takeaway venue.
  • Three cell towers – one off Victoria Road and one at each end of the old stand.
  • Horse stables.
  • It is near the sea and has a high water table. 
  • It is on low lying land and has the potential to assist in flood mitigation.
  • The site is one of very few available pieces of land in South Dunedin or Dunedin. 
  • The property is zoned Residential A in the Dunedin City Council District Plan.

Why Forbury Park has closed

On 8 July 2021, Forbury Park held its last race meeting and it is now closed for racing. This decision was made following a review commissioned by Racing NZ into the future success and sustainability of harness racing in the Otago/Southland region.

The closure is part of a wider issue for harness racing in New Zealand. The country has too many racing venues and many need significant upgrades to bring them up to the standard expected from today’s racegoers.

Feedback from stakeholders during the review found that most people were in favour of Forbury Park closing. They felt the most prominent infrastructure was tired and the cost of repairing it would be significant. The operating and management costs were also high.

While many people were in favour of the Park closing, we know there are also many Otago racegoers who will feel the loss of this long-standing racetrack. Closing the Park will however help to benefit the future of racing in the region.


Forbury Park’s history

Forbury Park was first used by the Otago Jockey Club from 1871 to 1899, before the Club moved to a new venue at Wingatui. Soon after, Forbury Park was purchased by Tahuna Park Trotting Club for £6,250 ($12,000). The Club’s site at Tahuna Park had become too small and the decision was made to purchase Forbury Park and lay a 1000m track. On 26 November 1909, a total of 12,000 racegoers attended Forbury Park’s first meeting on the track, paying just five cents to watch the racing unfold.

Since then, the Forbury Park Trotting Club has used the 12.2 hectare site for decades of harness and greyhound racing events. Given its size and abundance of open space, it has also been used for many other outdoor activities.

Perhaps the most memorable year for the Club was 1965 when it hosted the Interdominions – Australasia’s premier harness racing event. Celebrated in local media as “the biggest money-spinner for Dunedin since the Goldrush”, it was the first Interdominions to be held outside Christchurch or Auckland in its long history. With £106,000 spent on a new stand, and attracting more than 52,000 spectators across four days, the Interdominions was considered a major event for Dunedin.

The last day of racing at Forbury Park was on 8 July 2021, which saw a great send off from 1,000 attendees.


FAQs

What happens if I can’t attend one of the community drop-in sessions on 20 & 21 September?
If you are unable to attend a drop-in session, there are still ways to ask us questions and provide feedback. Please email your questions to [email protected]. Submissions can also be emailed to this address. Alternatively, feedback can be provided online on this webpage, under ‘Have your say’. Click on the ‘Feedback Form’ button above.

What is this consultation about?
Forbury Park has closed for racing. Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) needs to know what the community and others would like to see happen to the site, as it plans the next steps with the Forbury Park Trotting Club. It is important to hear what residents, organisations, groups and the wider Dunedin community think should happen to the land. This feedback will be taken into consideration, prior to the sale of the property.

Why has Forbury Park closed for racing?
The decision to close the Park was made following a report commissioned by Racing NZ into the future sustainability and success of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing in Otago/Southland.

Harness Racing NZ has taken the report’s advice to close Forbury Park as the venue is no longer financially viable or meeting the needs of the region’s harness racing enthusiasts. Forbury Park held its last race meeting on 8 July 2021.

The closure is part of a wider issue for racing in New Zealand. The country has too many racing venues and many require upgrades to bring them up to the standards expected by today’s racegoers.

Is Forbury Park going to be sold?
Yes, the site will be sold. Through this consultation, Harness Racing NZ and Forbury Park Trotting Club hope to gain a better understanding of what the community and others interested in the site think should happen to it, prior to selecting a buyer.

Who can have a say on the future of Forbury Park?
We encourage anyone with an interest in the future of Forbury Park to make a submission.

Why is the community being consulted? 
At 12.2 hectares, Forbury Park is one of the largest pieces of available land in the Otago District. Given its prominent size, location and its well-established place in Dunedin’s history we know that many people will have an interest in the site’s future. Public consultation will help us understand what residents, groups and other interested organisations want to see happen at this site. 

I have questions about Forbury Park or need help making a submission. Is there someone I can speak to?
For any queries about making a submission, please email [email protected] 

How will my feedback be used? 
After submissions close on Tuesday 5 October, all feedback will be reviewed and taken into account when future plans for the site are considered. 

How will I find out about any future plans for Forbury Park?
We will endeavour to email everyone who has supplied their email address to us as part of this consultation. We will also put the information on our website, notify the media, and post on our social media pages.