Central city  |  17 Feb 2020

Check here for the latest news on what's happening in the central city.

17 February 2020

New central city mural

Young designers have added another piece of striking, colourful street art to Christchurch’s growing collection. The large mural on a St Asaph St wall opposite The Welder health and wellness hub was completed last week. It was funded by Christchurch City Council through its Enliven Places Programme.

Titled ‘Cassandra’s Dream’, it shows a bright, new Christchurch as seen through the eyes of a local explorer. 

Find out more.

22 January 2020

Te Pae's braided river facade almost one quarter complete

The braided river effect of Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre’s façade is taking shape, with CPB Contractors having now installed a quarter of the 43,000 herringbone tiles.

Find out more.

22 January 2020

Parking app trial begins

People using metered on-street parking in Christchurch’s city centre can now pay for it using the PayMyPark app.

The app can be downloaded for free from Google Play and the App Store.

The PayMyPark app allows people to pay for their parking using their smart phone or mobile device. People can choose to pay per session as a casual user or they can set up an account.

Wednesday, 11 December

Parking app trial

A parking app trial will go ahead in Christchurch in the new year.

The Urban Development and Transport Committee has agreed to amend the Christchurch City Council Traffic and Parking Bylaw to make paying by parking app an accepted method of payment for metered parking in the city.

That small amendment means the Council can push ahead with a plan to trial the Pay My Park app for 12 months, in the new year.

While people will not be able to use the app to pay for parking in Council parking buildings during the trial, the Council is exploring ways of allowing this in the future.

Monday, 18 November

See what's in store for Cathedral Square

Here are some artist impressions of what Cathedral Square will look like once the $3.6 million upgrade has been completed.

The top render provides a birds-eye view of the south-east corner of the Square.

The bottom render is looking east towards the Distinction Christchurch Hotel (left) and the new Spark building which is currently under construction.


Stay tuned for regular updates on what's happening in Christchurch's city centre.

Thursday, 17 October

Upgrade for Cathedral Square

A $3.6 million upgrade of Cathedral Square  will get under way next week. The upgrade is aimed at supporting local businesses and creating a safer and more pleasant environment for visitors and residents.

Monday, 30 September

Riverside Market delivers fresh food edge to city

Christchurch’s new Riverside Market is open for business.

Overlooking the Avon River in Oxford Terrace, the seven-day farmers’ market also links to shops, restaurants, cafes and bars – all under one roof.

Described as a “fresh take on inner city life”, the market next to the Bridge of Remembrance focuses on organic local fare and promotes sustainability through minimal packaging and waste.

Recycled materials complement the design for the markets and lanes, which feature 30 food outlets and 40 market stalls.

Find out more about the Riverside Market.

Thursday, 26 September

Court Theatre plans progressing

Plans for a new central city home for The Court Theatre have taken another step forward, with the Council agreeing to move to the concept design stage for the new facility.

Find out more.

Tuesday, 24 September

First concrete pour at Metro Sports Facility

The foundations are being poured for the new Metro Sports Facility, with more than 200 truckloads of concrete arriving on site this morning.

More than 300 people are expected to be working on the Metro Sports Facility at the height of its construction.

The new facility, which will include a 10-lane competition pool, a large diving pool, five hydroslides, a warm water pool, spa, sauna, steam room, multi-purpose indoor courts, an aquatic sensory space and high-performance sports centre, is expected to open in early 2022. 

Trucks pouring concrete at the metro sports facility site.

The first major concrete pour for the Metro Sports Facility took place this morning.

Wednesday, 21 August

More shoppers needed in central city

Getting shoppers into Christchurch’s city centre to experience some of the newest retail on offer in New Zealand will require a major marketing effort by Central City retailers.

That is the view of retail consultants, Premier Retail Marketing, who were asked by Christchurch City Council and the Central City Business Association to assess Central City retailing and to provide advice on how to tackle the challenges.

Their Retail Review Report says Christchurch’s city centre offers the newest, most modern shopping facilities with quality shops that reflect style, aspiration, contemporary design and offerings that cannot be found elsewhere in the city – or in Auckland and Wellington. 

But the report says shoppers have been slow to respond to what’s on offer.

Find out more.

Monday, 19 August

Lighting up the central city

If you're venturing into the city centre after dark, make sure you check out these fun new lighting installations.


Cathedral Square is now the temporary home of Talking Trees and an interactive Spire that changes colour as people walk around it. You can also follow a trail of lighting designs on central city footpaths.

Find out more.


Thursday, 8 August

Lunch-time sketch clubs draw crowds

Live models posing in shop windows are drawing small crowds of budding artists as Christchurch’s city centre plays host to a series of lunch-time sketch clubs.

The sketch clubs are being held as part of Winter Wander – a pop-up arts festival that is on in the central city until Sunday.

If you want the chance to flex your creative muscles, you can join in the final sketch club on Saturday.  A live model will be posing in the window of the Ballantynes department store between midday and 2pm.  Free art supplies will be provided. 

Monday, 5 August

Avon Loop work to start later this year

Work on the final section of the Avon River Precinct – the Avon Loop – is expected to get under way later this year.

The Avon Loop is the section of Oxford Terrace between Kilmore Street and Fitzgerald Avenue. The area has been closed to traffic for many years due to earthquake damage, and most of the properties have been removed.

Ōtākaro Limited is in the process of completing the design for the Avon Loop and seeking tenders for construction.

Read more.

Friday, 2 August

Surprise treats for CBD visitors

A parking officer hands out a voucher.

Parking officers will be handing out vouchers to central city visitors over the next couple of weeks.

People visiting Christchurch’s city centre over the next few weeks may be in line for some unexpected treats.

In tandem with ChristchurchNZ’s Baby Come Back marketing campaign that encourages people to return to the central city, Christchurch City Council parking officers are giving away vouchers for two hours of free on-street parking, hot drinks, chocolate and electric bike rides, along with other goodies.

“We want to acknowledge those people who are contributing to the area’s future success and vibrancy by coming into the CBD for a coffee, to go shopping or perhaps meet friends,’’ says Council Head of Transport Richard Osborne.

“Our voucher giveaways are simply tokens of appreciation to those people who are equally committed to supporting growth in our city.”

Read more.


Thursday, 1 August

Christchurch Food Chase

Food Chase poster.

Join the Food Chase this August.

Delectable dishes are on the city menu this month as local foodies enjoy a fresh course of the Christchurch Food Chase.

The month-long festival invites Christchurch residents to take a seat at one of the city's many top-class eateries as chefs whip up special dishes for people to taste and rate.

To take part, simply visit a participating restaurant and order the Food Chase dish and then rate your meal online.

You can check out the full list of restaurants and dish details online.

The category winners will be announced at the end of the month. 

Wednesday, 24 July

Eclectic dining laneway due to open in Christchurch Health Precinct

A new dining lane is opening close to Christchurch Hospital on August 5, featuring a mix of six retailers.

With an emphasis on creating a relaxing vibe, Eats on Oxford is located over 300sqm on the ground floor of an A grade office building at 32 Oxford Terrace. It will up the ante of food offerings in the currently under catered Health Precinct, providing reasonably priced green, clean, fresh food.

Five of six retailers are already signed up; a mixture of new and well-known names: Habanero’s Urban Mexican Grill, The Serious Sandwich, Sushi Ninja, Sesame Ramen & Dumpling, and Taste of Malaysia. News of the sixth operator is not far away.

The remainder of the ground floor is leased to a diverse tenant mix made up of a pharmacy, Metromart, University of Otago Physio School and Black and White Coffee Cartel.

Located overlooking the Avon River Precinct, Eats on Oxford will be open Monday to Friday, 10am to 8pm and Saturday 10am to 3pm. It is the brainchild of property syndicator and manager Silverfin Capital, which owns the building.

Thursday, 18 July

Tool library opens in city centre

A new ‘tool library’ has opened in Christchurch’s city centre to give residents access to handy tools for home use.

The Tool Lendery, at 178 Cashel Street, has been set up by Gap Filler and will be open every Wednesday from 4 to 6pm and every Saturday from 1 to 3pm.

Find out more.

Thursday, 4 July

New pedestrian bridge for Avon 

Ōtākaro Limited has released its concept plan for the new pedestrian bridge it plans to build over a stretch of the Avon River between Manchester and Colombo streets.

Find out more.

Thursday, 27 June

Cinema returns to Arts Centre

The new two-screen Lumière cinema has opened at the Arts Centre.

Set in an award-winning Gothic Revival heritage building overlooking the North Quad, the Lumière is the creation of Nick Paris, who has worked in Christchurch’s cinema and film industry for 40 years, and Max Hoffman, a former Hollywood screenwriter.

Mr Paris says Lumière will take filmgoers back to cinema’s “good old days”.

Find out more.

Friday, 21 June

Cathedral bells sound in Cathedral Square

People mimicking the ringing of bells.

A small crowd takes part in a symbolic ringing of the bells in Cathedral Square.

The sound of cathedral bells has been symbolically brought back to Cathedral Square.

Recordings of the Cathedral bells rang out via loud speakers to those gathered in the Square just after 12.30pm today in an initiative organised by the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Project.

The sound of the bells will be played every Friday lunchtime, weather permitting.
“This year our focus is behind the scenes getting the planning right before stabilisation begins in early 2020. In the meantime, we want to remind people that there is a project underway to reinstate this iconic Cathedral in the central city, and the sound of bells is a positive reminder,” says Keith Paterson, Project Director.

Dean Lawrence Kimberley sees this as a simple way to bring back a much loved Cathedral tradition while the real bells await their return to the reinstated Cathedral.

“It’s been a long time since the sound of bells rang out from the Cathedral.  We want people to recall fondly the sound of the Cathedral bells calling people to prayer, ringing out in celebration in times of joy, and being tolled in times of sorrow. The Cathedral already has the real bells tuned up for their return. We are moving closer to that point every day,'' Dean Lawrence says.

Tuesday, 18 June

Baby Come Back campaign launched

ChristchurchNZ has launched its Baby Come Back campaign, which is designed to change local's perceptions of their city centre.

The campaign comprises a fun, tongue in cheek suite of assets and showcases the activities and experiences on offer in the central city through the adventures of Chadlee and Chatfield, played by comedians Shay Horay and David Correos.

We want to have fun with Baby Come Back, create conversations, have some laughts, and encourage people to expore the CBD together,’’ says Tim Loftus, ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Marketing, Brand and Communications.

Paul Lonsdale, Central City Business Association Manager, says the campaign is well-suited to the changing nature of Christchurch’s CBD.

“Our businesses have invested and worked hard to establish themselves and their collective efforts are helping drive the revitalisation of our city centre. Significant progress has been made and we feel the time if right for people to come back,’’ Mr Lonsdale says.

“We’re thrilled to see an initiative like Baby Come Back aimed at breathing life into the city centre particularly during the colder months of winter.

Find out more about the Baby Come Back campaign.

Friday, 7 June

Improvements proposed for Gloucester St

The Council is looking to make some temporary improvements to the block of Gloucester St between Colombo and Manchester streets. 

The aim is to improve safety for pedestrians.

Currently the only formal crossing points along that section of Gloucester Street are at the intersections with Colombo St and Manchester St. However, many people cross Gloucester St outside the Isaac Theatre Royal, Tūranga and between Cathedral Junction and New Regent St.

A report going to the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee on 12 June recommends installing two informal pedestrian crossing point build-outs along this part of Gloucester Street, so that people can cross mid-block safely.

The report also recommends adding more seating and cycle stands.

There will be no net loss of parking as a result of the proposed temporary changes.

Tuesday, 4 June

Winter Circus coming to town

Aerial acrobats perform in the central city.

Aerial acrobatics will be part of the Winter Circus.

Local circus performers and buskers are set to bring a festival flavour to the city centre over the next couple of months.

The Winter Circus, funded by Christchurch City Council, will see lunch-time shows staged in the central city every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in June and July, starting this Friday.

Two performance spaces will be in action on Cashel Mall - one at Hack Circle, on the corner of Cashel St and High St, and the other in front of the Bridge of Remembrance on the corner of Cashel St and Oxford Tce.

Confirmed Winter Circus acts include: Mulletman, 3 Ring Riot, Toni Smith, Hefty Geoff, Sport Suzie, David Ladderman, Skye Bee, Danny Lee and Circotica. 

Find out more.

Wednesday, 22 May

Te Pae construction at half-way mark

Te Pae

Te Pae is taking shape.

Christchurch's new convention centre Te Pae is now 50 per cent complete and on track for opening in October next year.

"The building is now 50 per cent complete with all the structural steel elements in place and the roofing and the facade being applied and the 1400 seat auditorium is taking shape. You can really see the scale and beauty of the spaces, particularly the wonderful ballroom with views over the Avon River and the surrounding parklands,'' says Te Pae General Manager Ross Steele.

A number of international and national conventions have already been secured for Te Pae.

Tuesday, 14 May

Plans unveiled for High Street

An artist's impression of the High Street changes.

An artist's impression of the High Street changes.

The Council is seeking public feedback on its plans to revitalise earthquake-battered High Street.

It wants to restore the vibrancy of High Street and make it a more attractive place for people to visit and do business.

You can find details of what it is proposing for High Street and view a flythrough of the proposed changes here.

If you want to give feedback on what's proposed, you can do so until 10 June. 

Monday, 13 May

Awards recognise local businesses

Christchurch businesses are being encouraged to get their entries and nominations in for the Westpac Champion Business Awards.

“The awards are a celebration of our region’s brightest,’’ says Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson.

“They recognise and celebrate businesses that embody innovation, excellence and success, rewarding the businesses that shape the future of Canterbury and New Zealand.

“For our local businesses, these awards are a fantastic way to broadcast that they are proud of their team’s achievements, and even just being nominated can contribute to a positive, engaging culture,’’ Ms Watson says.

The awards are free to enter and open to individuals and organisations of all sizes and from any industry sector, including the not for profit sector. 

Monday, 13 May

Survey shows people positive about city centre

The findings of Christchurch City Council's Life In Christchurch Central City survey are out and the news is good. When quizzed about how they felt about the central city, three-quarters of the 2900 people surveyed indicated they felt positive about the area.

People's perceptions of safety in the city centre and ease of travel have also improved.

Find out more.

Thursday, 9 May

New Spire coming for Christchurch's city centre

An artist's impression of Spire.

Spire comprises of nine coloured spires in an open circle.

The voting has closed on the short-listed designs for the city centre's new interactive lighting display, with an entry called Spire winning the most public support.

Spire features nine spires which change colour as people move around them. The team behind the design, Carl Pavletich and Julieanne Eason, say with Spire they were inspired to create something "both ephemeral and monumental, like a contemporary Stonehenge''.

Spire will be installed in either Cathedral Square or at a location along the Promenade in early July.

Find out more.

Wednesday, 2 May

Vote for your favourite lighting design

The Enliven Places Programme's Light Up the City initiative has moved to the next phase, with the public now being invited to vote on which of three interactive lighting designs they want to see installed in the city centre over the winter.

Voting is open until Wednesday 8 May so make sure you jump onto the Council's Facebook page and cast a vote for your favourite design.

You can find out more about the Light Up the City initiative and the designs here.

Wednesday, 2 May

Progress on Cathedral reinstatement

Design work to reinstate Christ Church Cathedral is under way following the appointment of key consultants to the project team.

Holmes Consulting Limited Partnership are going to provide the project team with structural engineering expertise while Warren and Mahoney Architects will provide architectural consultancy services.

It is hoped that design work on the stabilisation of the Cathedral will be completed by the end of this year so that early stabilisation work can begin on site in the first quarter of 2020.

Find out more.

Thursday, 11 April

Tidy up for Cathedral grounds

The grounds around the earthquake-damaged Christ Church Cathedral are going to be tidied over the next few days, weather permitting.  The work will involve weeding  mowing, removing litter and minor external maintenance work.

In preparation for ANZAC Day, the Citizens War Memorial will also be cleaned and waxed.

Thursday, 11 April

Art and light combine in Westpac Lane

One of the new lighting columns in Westpac Lane.

One of the new lighting columns in Westpac Lane.

Two beautiful lighting columns designed by New Zealand artist Fayne Robinson have been installed at either end of Westpac Lane. This lane runs between Cathedral Square and Hereford Street, near the Distinction hotel. 

The columns are solar powered and feature Maori designs depicting the course of a passing day and showing scenes of a landscape rich in native birds.

“It was a reminder of what the environment used to look like with all of the birds in the city,” Robinson says. “It’s about trying to encourage those birds to come back.”

Lit pounamu in the design illustrates the connection between Christchurch City Council, Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngai Tahu, he says.

The lighting columns were installed as part of the Enliven Places Programme which aims to create an attractive, fun and welcoming environment while contributing to Christchurch's unique identity and sense of place. 

Christchurch's network of pedestrian laneways, including Westpac Lane, are important to the pedestrian navigation of the city. Enhancing and lighting these connections adds to the vitality of the central city.

Tuesday, 9 April

Sheep back in High Street

Four 'sheep' have taken up temporary residence on the corner of High and Lichfield streets.

The sheep look just like the colourful urban sheep that were introduced around the central city in September 2014 as part of Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places Programme.  However, they have a different genetic make-up as they have been manufactured from stainless steel so they will be sturdier than the original plastic sheep. 

Find out more. 

Friday, 5 April

Visit the central city Butterfly House

Kids with monarch butterflies. Did you know there was a Butterfly House in Christchurch’s city centre?

It is located in Kahikatea Common - which lies between Tuam and St Asaph Streets - and provides a place for people to admire and learn more about monarchs.

Sheltered inside the Butterfly House are monarchs at various life stages, including caterpillars, chrysalides and emerging butterflies.

Find out more.

Thursday, 28 March

Court plans moving forward

Plans to provide the Court Theatre with a new home in the central city are moving forward.

The business case for a new home for the Court Theatre in the Performing Arts Precinct has been completed and Christchurch City Council has agreed to proceed with the detailed design work.

Find out more.

Contractor announced for Metro Sports Facility

Ōtākaro Limited has awarded the $221 million contract to build the Metro Sport Facility to CPB Contractors Limited.

The new facility is expected to be completed in late 2021.

Find out more.

Go ahead for Cathedral Square upgrade

Work will start this winter on a $3.6 million upgrade of Cathedral Square.

The Council has today approved plans for improving the south and southwest quadrants of Cathedral Square to support businesses in the area and to make it safer and more pleasant for visitors and residents.

Find out more.

Friday, 15 March

Help light up the city

An interactive lighting display from Vivid Sydney.

An interactive lighting display like this one that featured in Vivid Sydney could soon be brightening up Christchurch's city centre.

The public and lighting professionals are being invited to get involved in a new Light Up the City project being run by Christchurch City Council’s Enliven Places Programme.

Lighting professionals are being asked to submit designs for a new interactive lighting display that can brighten up part of the central city over the winter months, while the public are being invited to submit designs that can be used on lighting projectors around the central city.

“We want to tap into the lighting expertise we have in this city to create a fun and engaging interactive lighting display that will bring a touch of wonder and magic to the central city and draw people into the area after dark,’’ says  Council Head of Urban Design, Regeneration and Heritage Carolyn Ingles.

“This is a chance for experts from the lighting industry to use their creativity to help enliven an urban space and to bring something new and different to Christchurch,’’ Ms Ingles says.

Find out more.

Thursday, 14 March

Upgrade plans approved for Hereford Street

The Council has today given its approval for Hereford Street to be upgraded between Oxford Terrace and Manchester Street. The work will start later this year.

You can find out more here.

Wednesday, 13 March

Committee recommends Square upgrade 

The proposed upgrade of Cathedral Square has moved a step closer.

The Council's Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee has this afternoon voted to recommend the Council proceed with making improvements to the south and south-west quadrants of the Square.

The Council will consider the committee's recommendations next month.

Friday, 8 March

Work to improve Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square

Cathedral Square is in line to get a make-over.

The Council’s Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee is going to consider a report next week which recommends making improvements to the south and southwest quadrants of Cathedral Square.

The proposed improvement are aimed at creating  "more inviting, inclusive and event-ready spaces'' and involve re-levelling the ground, re-laying paving, installing additional lighting, and introducing more landscaping to soften the environment.

Find out more.

Thursday, 7 March

New bus facilities for Tuam Street

Ōtākaro Limited is about to start work on improving the bus facilities in the health precinct.

It is constructing two large bus shelters and six dedicated bus bays on Tuam Street, between Hagley Avenue and Antigua Street, with work scheduled to begin early next week.

The work will involve some changes to the road layout and will take about nine months to complete.

Construction of the new road layout will cost $6 million and is the final piece of the An Accessible City project Ōtākaro has to carry out. 

Monday, 4 March

Cult cookie maker comes to town

Auckland’s cult cookie maker Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar have brought their touring 1978 Bedford Bus to Christchurch’s city centre.

The Mo Bus

The Mo Bus has set up shop at the 03Eatery in central Christchurch.

For at least three months they will be selling their indulgent cookies and milkshakes from the new 03Eatery site at 132 Manchester Street, close the Lichfield/High Street intersection.

The 03Eatery is currently home to three other businesses:

  • Smoke 'n' Barrel Street Food 'n' Catering by passionate chefs Chris Geary and Cory Blackburn who serve up slow cooked meats Texas BBQ style.
  • Gelatiamo, who bring frozen treats to the mix with Italian gelato, sorbetti as well as espresso.
  • Uso Barbershop, who offer haircuts and beard trims.

The 03 Eatery is a joint initiative between Fletcher Living and Gap Filler aimed at making great residential communities in the One Central development which stretches for six blocks along Manchester Street between Lichfield and Kilmore Streets.

Anyone interested in becoming part of the 03Eatery should contact rhiannon@gapfiller.org.nz.

Tuesday, 26 February

Busy weekend in central city

It was great to see so many people in the central city over the weekend for the South Island Lantern Festival and the public open days at the Christchurch Town Hall.  

The Lantern Festival attracted just under 55,000 people, while more than 11,000 checked out the restored Christchurch Town Hall.

If you missed out on seeing the Town Hall, there will be another opportunity next Wednesday, 6 March, when organist Martin Setchell is giving two free concerts so people can hear the upgraded Reiger organ being played.  The first concert will be 1.10pm and the other at 6pm.

Vbase, which manages the Town Hall, is also looking at creating other opportunities for people to tour the Town Hall.  Keep an eye on the Vbase website and Facebook page for details.

Thursday, 21 February

Central city moving forward

Lots of positive news has been coming out of Christchurch’s city centre this week. If you’ve missed it, here is a quick re-cap:

Huge crowds are expected in the central city this weekend for the popular South Island Lantern Festival. The festival is being held along the City Promenade from the Bridge of Remembrance to Victoria Square so make sure you come into town and check it out.