Richard Hadlee expects next year's World Cup to "leave a legacy" for Christchurch as the city marked the latest stage in its preparations for a first major global event since the 2011 earthquake.
A new ground, Hagley Oval, has been built after the extensive damage caused to Lancaster Park meant that it had to be abandoned as a venue and on Monday the pavilion was officially opening with Hadlee in attendance.
The new venue has already been used for domestic cricket, World Cup qualifiers and will host the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka. However, the focal point for the last 18 months, since the World Cup fixtures were announced, has been the New Zealand-Sri Lanka fixture on February 14 which launches the tournament.
The last international match to staged in the city was the 2011 ODI against Pakistan and there has not been a Test since 2006 when Sri Lanka were again the opposition.
Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Hadlee said that for Christchurch to host the marquee fixture was a special moment in the city's recovery.
"The fact the opening match is in Christchurch sends a very good message to people around the World Cup that the city is in recovery mode and we are open for business," he said. "Being Christchurch born and bred it's significant that they will open the tournament there.
"We took a real hit. We haven't had international cricket for quite a while. Our young fans have been robbed of the opportunity of watching their heroes play. It's a wonderful opportunity that the cricket hierarchy have allowed this open. It's a tribute to the people of Christchurch to be able to get international cricket back.
"We've had to build a new ground so the World Cup will leave a legacy. Horrendous things happened a few years ago. It's a significant milestone, but the rebuild will take about 20 years in total to get it where we want to."
The development of the new ground as not been a smooth process, however, with legal battles needing to be fought. It has given Therese Walsh, the head of the World Cup for New Zealand, some sleepless nights along the way but it has all been worth it.
"I'm ecstatic," Walsh told the Sunday Star Times. "Even as of last Christmas, I felt very concerned that there needed to be a lot more progress. I think of all the things with the Cricket World Cup it has been the one we have lost the most sleep about. We always knew the prize was big if we could get there. It's going to be quite a proud moment."