Better streets & spaces  |  02 Dec 2019

Work on the new Riccarton community centre is nearing completion, with the $4.5 million facility due to open to the public on Monday 16 December.

Local rūnanga have gifted the Māori name Rārākau to the centre in recognition of the local native bush area.

The new facility will be formally known as Rārākau: Riccarton Centre.

The two-storey centre – with a floor area of 760 square metres – in Clarence Street replaces the earthquake-damaged building on the former Christchurch City Council site next door.

An opening ceremony will be held at 2pm on Tuesday 17 December.

Council Head of Community Support, Governance and Partnerships John Filsell says the name Rārākau, which has been specially gifted by Ngāi Tuahuriri, reflects the local bush.

“The wider Pūtaringamotu-Riccarton Bush was abundant with native vegetation, including kahikatea, tōtara, mānuka, tītoki and matai,” Mr Filsell says.

“Today, these trees are reflected in the street names surrounding Pūtaringamotu.

“The name Rārākau connects the new centre with all the rākau (trees) and Pūtaringamotu. It captures the beauty of the native bush and reflects this strong connection to the local area.”

The building design has also been inspired by nearby Riccarton Bush. Among the centre features are full-height exterior timber columns and special images in precast panels.

“The use of colour at the centre reflects the bush environment, and sustainability has been integral to the project, with roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels powering the energy supply,” he says.

Mr Filsell says the centre will service the needs of the local community, providing multiple meeting and activity spaces, along with the delivery of great customer service.

The centre includes a Council customer services area, a community hall, four activity/meeting rooms of varied sizes, and a kitchen.