History & heritage  |  4 Sep 2020

Christchurch’s restored Town Hall has been recognised as a Category 1 Historic Place by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.

That means it is regarded as one of the most historically significant buildings in New Zealand.

“Over the past 15 years there has been an effort within Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga to increase the number of Modern Movement buildings on the New Zealand Heritage List,” says Robyn Burgess, Senior Heritage Assessment Advisor.  

“Sadly, many in Christchurch were lost as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-2011, which is why it is doubly pleasing to see the Christchurch Town Hall – fully repaired and restored – now recognised as a Category 1 historic place.”

Christchurch City Council spent $167 million on repairing and restoring the earthquake damaged Town Hall.

 The building was strengthened to 100 per cent of the New Building Standard and improvements were made throughout  to bring it up to modern-day standards. However, the original character and style of the 1972 Warren and Mahoney-designed building, with its white marble, dark timber, rich red fabrics and vibrant artworks, was preserved as part of the restoration.

Dr Ian Lochhead, editor of the book The Christchurch Town Hall 1965 – 2019: A Dream Renewed, wrote the listing report for Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.  In his report he details how ground-breaking the building was for its time.

“No other New Zealand building has had an influence on world architecture to compare with it,” Dr Lochhead says.