About Us

Ōtākaro Limited is delivering Crown-led Anchor Projects in central Christchurch and divesting the balance of Crown land. The Company will accelerate work on the Anchor Projects by working in a commercial and transparent manner, enabled through its structure as a Crown Company. 

Dual objectives

Ōtākaro is required to add value to Anchor Projects and Crown Land in a way that balances a desire to achieve good commercial outcomes with the Crown's regeneration objectives.   These dual objectives mean Ōtākaro will be sensible with Crown funds and mindful that there is just one opportunity to ‘get the rebuild right’ in Christchurch.  For example, when Ōtākaro is divesting a piece of Crown land that is not required for an Anchor Project, it will seek to sell that land to a developer with intentions that complement the regeneration objectives for that Precinct.


The Canterbury earthquakes provided an unprecedented opportunity to rethink, revitalise and renew central Christchurch.  Following public consultation and advice, Christchurch City Council, the Crown and Ngai Tahu produced the Central Christchurch Recovery Plan (CCRP) in July 2012.  The CCRP outlined the regeneration vision of creating a thriving heart of an international city. The plan defines a more compact and deliberately structured central city, that will be more attractive to residents, businesses and visitors.  The CCRP defines the Blueprint Plan – the framework for the rebuilt city. It outlines key Anchor Projects and Precincts for central Christchurch that will stimulate further development, and optimise confidence and the city's regeneration.

Each Anchor Project and Precinct being delivered by Ōtākaro is outlined in the CCRP.

The name Ōtākaro

The Ōtākaro (or Avon) River was, historically, a place of safety and sustenance, where families would gather while fathers hunted.  The Company is honoured to have the blessing of Ngāi Tūāhuriri (the indigenous people of Christchurch), to use the name Ōtākaro. This holds great significance for the Company as it reflects the shared commitment of the Crown and the Rūnanga in terms of the future development of Christchurch.

The pronunciation is – oar tar car raw (with the emphasis on the ‘t’ and a soft final syllable).


  • What is the purpose of Ōtākaro?

    The purpose of Ōtākaro is to add value to anchor projects and Crown land, balancing commercial outcomes with regeneration (social) outcomes, and to support the Crown’s exit over time on favourable terms.

  • When was Ōtākaro established and why?

    Ōtākaro was established in April 2016 to take over some of the functions of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) when it came to an end.

    Christchurch has moved into a new phase - from recovery to regeneration. The Greater Christchurch Regeneration Act 2016 provides the legal framework to support the regeneration of greater Christchurch over the next five years.

    Ōtākaro and three other entities (the Greater Christchurch Group of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Regenerate Christchurch and Development Christchurch Ltd) have been established to assume key roles in specific areas of the regeneration. While their roles and responsibilities are different, they are each committed to the regeneration of Christchurch.

    Christchurch City Council and its strategic partners – Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Environment Canterbury, and the neighbouring territorial authorities, the Waimakariri and Selwyn District Councils, will progressively take up local leadership of the regeneration of greater Christchurch.

  • What is the structure of the company?

    Ōtākaro Limited is a Crown company listed on Schedule 4A of the Public Finance Act. Its structure as a Crown company facilitates efficient and effective decision making.

    The independent Board comprises three directors that provide direction to the Senior Leadership Team and help to ensure decisions are made in the interests of the people of Christchurch and the Crown. The seven members of the Senior Leadership Team are the full-time operational leaders of Ōtākaro.

    A Project Development Team is focused on the delivery of Anchor Projects, and a Strategy and Opportunities Team is focused on land divestment. Other support services help the company achieve its purpose.

  • Who is Ōtākaro responsible to?

    Ōtākaro is a Crown company, capitalised and funded by the Crown, and responsible to the Crown for delivering on its stated objectives. 

  • Where does the name Ōtākaro come from?

    The Ōtākaro (or Avon) River has always been important for people. In Maori history it was a place of safety and sustenance, where families would gather while fathers hunted. It continued to be important during European settlement and is an important part of Christchurch’s central city identity.

    Ōtākaro is honoured to have the blessing of the Matapopore Charitable Trust, which represent the interests of Ngāi Tūāhuriri (the indigenous people of Christchurch), to use the name Ōtākaro. This holds great significance for the people in the company as it reflects the shared commitment of the Crown and the rūnanga to the future development of Christchurch.

  • How long will Ōtākaro exist?

    Ōtākaro was established to perform a specific role and will have a limited life that will be determined by the shareholding Ministers of Ōtākaro.

  • How is Ōtākaro working with other regeneration partners?

    In 2016 Christchurch shifted gear from recovery to regeneration. Ōtākaro is one of the organisations set up to focus on key parts of Christchurch’s regeneration. Each regeneration partner has a unique purpose and is set up to deliver on that purpose. They are all focused on making Christchurch a greater place to be. It’s about people, progress and prosperity. The CEOs of each organisation meet regularly to discuss their work programmes. Communications and engagement team representatives also meet regularly to discuss work programmes, opportunities and challenges, and coordinate activities where possible and appropriate.

  • What other organisations are involved in regenerating Christchurch?

    Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has responsibility for completing the demolitions and land clearances (mainly in the Port Hills), and interim land management in the residential red zones.

    The Ministry of Health and Canterbury District Health Board have responsibility for continuing to provide support and services via the Community in Mind Strategy and Shared Programme of Action and monitoring and reporting on community wellbeing, including the delivery of the Community Wellbeing Index and Wellbeing Survey.

    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is responsible for supporting the remaining residential rebuild and monitoring the public sector rebuild.

    Regeneration agencies (some new and some existing) have distinct projects and priorities. They are all working together to make Christchurch an even greater place to be. 

  • What is the background to Anchor Projects?

    The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan defines the form of the central city, sets out the locations of key Anchor Projects needed to optimise recovery, and outlines block plans which show that the city could look like in the future.

    The Anchor Projects:
    • reflect community aspirations expressed through the Share an Idea programme
    • replace community facilities that have been destroyed
    • improve the structure of the central city
    • stimulate other development around them
    • contribute as much as possible to the regeneration as a whole
    • attract people to the central city.

    Ōtākaro is just one of the organisations delivering central city Anchor Projects. Christchurch City Council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, other government agencies, and the private sector are also delivering Anchor Projects.

  • What is the role of Ōtākaro in each Anchor Project?

    The Anchor Project section of this website explains the role Ōtākaro has in each Anchor Project and Precinct. The role differs depending on the Anchor Project and the status of the project when Ōtākaro was established.

  • Who is paying for the Anchor Projects

    The funding allocated to the programme of Anchor Projects is made available through the Cost Sharing Agreement between Christchurch City Council and the Crown. The proportion of funding for each project differs across both organisations.   

  • When will the Anchor Projects be finished?

    The Anchor Project section of this website includes expected completion dates for each project.

  • How will Ōtākaro communicate about the Anchor Projects?

    Ōtākaro will use many channels to communicate with people, including:
    - The Ōtākaro website
    - An e-newsletter that interested people can subscribe to
    - News media
    - Work notices in advance of construction activities
    - Meetings/briefings with stakeholders and the community
    - Signage on project sites
    - Videos and photographs
    - The Christchurch City Council Newsline.

  • What are the design principles that apply to the Anchor Projects?

    The following principles apply broadly to the projects and these were outlined in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan:
    • promoting accessibility for people of all ages and abilities, an approach known as Universal Design
    • enhancing safety through Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and Injury Prevention Through Environmental Design (IPTED)
    • a focus on low rise buildings that look good and function well
    • including more plants and gardens
    • developing designs that are inclusive of all people and cultures, and which recognise Ngāi Tahu heritage and places of significance.

  • How are the Anchor Projects making the central city more accessible for people?

    Increasing the accessibility of the central city was a key driver of the Central Christchurch Recovery Plan. Greater accessibility should occur as public buildings, roads, and footpaths are built to comply with current standards, which require more accessibility than many older structures. A more accessible and safely built environment will benefit everyone. It will become more accessible to not only people with a disability, but also older people, those with young children, and people with temporary mobility issues. Some examples are the restoration of Victoria Square, which will include wider paths and more ramps to make the area more user friendly, and The Terraces which will provide safe access to the river. Accessibility for all children was also a key design requirement for the Margaret Mahy Playground.

  • How is the risk of flooding taken into account for projects near the river?

    Designs for projects near the river take account of the potential for water levels to vary. An example is the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial.

  • What are the stages involved in delivering an Anchor Project?

    The number of stages depends on the complexity of each project. A design process can be completed in a few months for a small project, or may take over a year for complex projects. The basic stages are:
    • prepare a business case to determine the viability of the project
    • if the project is viable, there is normally engagement with stakeholders to inform a concept design. This sets out the basic principles for the project
    • the design will then go through various phases until there is a detailed design and may involve ongoing stakeholder engagement
    • consents will be sought at various ‘hold points’ and the design will progress from there
    • construction can begin while design is progressing as long as sufficient design and consents are in in place.

  • What are raingardens and why are they used?

    Raingardens are shallow depressions filled with plants, strategically located to collect and filter rain that falls on hard surfaces like roofs, driveways, or roads. Raingardens minimise the negative impacts of excessive runoff from these surfaces. A raingarden will improve water quality in nearby bodies of water and ensure that rainwater is available for plants as groundwater rather than being sent through stormwater drains straight to the river.

  • How will Ōtākaro look after animals and plants in designs for projects?

    As the majority of the Anchor Projects are being built in urban central city areas, the main focus is on protecting the flora and fauna around the Avon River.
    Fish are thriving, the water is flowing faster and the riverbed is cleaner in the Avon River following extensive cleaning and rehabilitation work. The clean-up, which included the removal of 10,000 tonnes of silt, has re-established habitats for animals living in an around the river in the central city.
    Ngai Tahu, through Te Ngai Tuahuriri Runanga, will advise Ōtākaro to ensure their values are appropriately integrated into the new precinct. Whakakakahu Ōtākaro, which literally means to ‘cloak the river’, will supplement exotic plantings with indigenous species along the river.
    Bank works, new islands and other improvements along the river will create improved habitats for fish, eels, birds and invertebrates.

  • How is Ōtākaro making the city ‘greener’?

    Building on Christchurch’s existing Garden City identity, the anchor projects are intended to provide a greener, more attractive city. There will be improvements to parks and the inclusion of more gardens, including both native and exotic plant species, and green infrastructure such as rain gardens. The East and South Frame projects will be home to many new gardens and green spaces. The East Frame is providing a vast new park, the third largest in the central city. Improved access to the Ōtākaro/Avon River is also an important feature of the restored, greener city.

  • How is Ōtākaro supporting the use of active transport such as walking and cycling?

    Ōtākaro is developing four projects in the An Accessible City Programme. The programme will make the core of the central city a more cyclist and pedestrian friendly zone. Some streets will be pedestrian only lanes and other streets will have separated cycle lanes. The Retail Precinct in the blocks on either side of Cashel Street will be for pedestrians only and the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct will provide a high quality, safer walking network around the central city. Cycle parking facilities will be available at convenient locations. These will be secure and covered where possible.

  • How will Ōtākaro manage its impact on traffic when constructing anchor projects?

    Any potential impact on traffic is carefully planned. Christchurch Transport Operations Centre then looks at how a change will impact the network and also considers other traffic impacts nearby to understand the cumulative effect. Find out about all traffic impacts across the city at Transport for Christchurch.

  • How does Ōtākaro decide which contractors to use when building projects?

    The tender process that Ōtākaro uses rates prospective contractors against a range of criteria, including their commitment to:
    • health, safety and environmental practices
    • quality processes
    • being innovative to create the best possible outcome
    • stakeholder communication and engagement
    • cost.

  • How is Ōtākaro dealing with contaminated materials?

    Built structures or soil is tested for hazardous contaminates before work begins. If contaminates are identified at levels which pose a potential risk to health or the environment, a management plan is developed by an environmental consultant, and contractors who will be working on the site are then required to develop a site specific management plan. Before any physical work can begin, a third party must confirm that hazardous contaminates have been dealt with according to the management plan. A third party will also provide a clearance certificate once the contaminates have been removed.

  • How can construction begin before the design is completed?

    Buildings are constructed from the ground (and below) up. To speed up the delivery of the project, initial construction work, such as the preparation of the land, often occurs at the same time that the final design is being determined.