Beloved stadium once home to top rugby team left abandoned and overrun by homeless drug addicts

SHOCKING pictures have revealed the devastating degradation of a once-thriving rural stadium now overrun by drug addicts.

Whangārei’s Jubilee Park was widely considered one of north New Zealand’s top rugby league grounds before it was abandoned in 2011.

The old grandstand at Jubilee Park, as seen through a boundary fence on Tarewa RdNorthern Advocate

Northern Advocate..NZMEThe site is now overrun with homeless drug addicts and covered in graffiti[/caption]

Northern Advocate..NZMEThe facility’s change rooms were destroyed by fire in 2016[/caption]

A vicious fire which tore through its grounds in 2016 sealed its fate as a lost icon.

The park is today merely a shell of its former self, used chiefly by homeless drug addicts for shelter.

A series of harrowing images taken in 2019 show the shocking extent of its downfall, with unkempt lawns, change-rooms-turned-living-quarters, graffiti, and rotting signs.

People who live near the wasteland are desperate for someone to take action, even if that entails bulldozing the decrepit buildings.

The principal of a school which occupies the stadium grounds told the NZ Herald: “Anything would be better than what it is now, even if we don’t get to use it.

“It’s just disgraceful and it’s a bad image for anyone in Whangārei driving past.”

Though the field was abandoned in 2011, schools continued to use it for sporting events until a fire destroyed the stadium’s change rooms in 2016.

Former Whangārei resident Donald Blackmore, who grew up playing rugby league at Jubilee Park, told Daily Mail Australia he still visited the site every year.

He said: “Every time you drive into Whangārei, there was and has always been a big fence around the park, but last year part of the fence was down.

“So I decided to stop to take photos from a distance. It was then I realised how much the park was in disarray. So the following day I decided to enter the park from the normal entrance.

“Must admit, I didn’t feel safe [because of the structure]. [I] was waiting for someone to approach me and ask ‘what the hell are you doing?’

“There was no sign of [homeless people] that day but it doesn’t surprise me.”

A homeless woman recovering from meth addiction told the NZ Herald she had been living in the change rooms at Jubilee Park for six months as she had “nowhere else to go”.

Rugby league was finally set to return to the park last year after frantic works to restore the facility to its former glory.

The New Zealand Warriors U18 and the Auckland rugby league U16 teams were scheduled to play matches against a Northland rugby league selection side in April.

But local media reported the games had to be shifted to a different site due to health and safety concerns and a lack of time to prepare Jubilee Park.

It is understood the last competitive match at the park was played sometime around 2009.

Northern Advocate..NZMELocal media has reported works are underway to improve the abandoned facility[/caption]

Northern Advocate..NZMEJubilee Park was once thriving and enjoyed by rugby league lovers from across New Zealand[/caption]

Northern Advocate..NZMEFormer Whangārei resident Donald Blackmore said he no longer felt safe on the grounds[/caption]

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