Things to do  |  4 Mar 2021

The home of one of Canterbury’s best-known artists will open to the public for the first time on Sunday 7 March.

Located on Templar St, Richmond in the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor, the Bill Sutton Heritage House and Garden will be operated as an an artist’s residence and studio in conjunction with Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and the Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury.

When not in use by visiting artists, it will be open for public visits, community talks, seminars, workshops and art exhibitions.

Bill Sutton's house in Richmond.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel will officially open Sutton Heritage House and Garden on Sunday, signalling the start of a new chapter for the house and adjoining property.

 After the official opening, the house and garden will be open to the public between 2pm and 4:30pm. Entry will be by koha.

“Sutton House holds a special place in Christchurch’s art history and I couldn’t be more pleased to be on hand to open it to the public,” says Mayor Dalziel.

“Bill Sutton was an extraordinary artist and a proud Cantabrian, and you can still feel his presence, even after all these years, in this special place.''

Former owner, Neil Roberts, bought Sutton’s house following the artist’ss death to ensure it was preserved, with the intention of gifting it to the city to be used as an artist’s residency.

The land was red-zoned after the 2011 earthquakes, but an agreement was eventually made with the Crown to retain the house and land and designate the adjacent land as Sutton Park.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) oversaw the restoration of the house before transferring ownership of the land to the Council in September last year.

The property transfer was the symbolic beginning of the ownership of Christchurch’s former residential red zone land being transferred from the Crown to the Council. Brooklands, Southshore and South New Brighton ownership and management was transferred to the Council last year.

Ownership of the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor land will be transferred to the Council in tranches as LINZ completes the reconfiguration and surveying of the thousands of land titles in the area.

The Sutton Heritage House and Garden Charitable Trust, which was established in 2018, is responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the house and property.

*Please note that due to space constraints, only 40 people will be allowed inside the house at any one time.