Project updated: 19/05/2017
Print this page
Te Papa Ōtākaro / Avon River Precinct
The central city area of the Ōtākaro/Avon River is being transformed as part of Christchurch's regeneration. A new city waterfront is being created to make it easier to access the river surrounds.
A key feature will be a paved City Promenade extending two kilometres through the heart of the precinct on the eastern side of the river, replacing Oxford Terrace. The western side of the river will be a green space with walking and cycling paths.
The ‘Share an Idea’ public consultation process highlighted the importance of the Ōtākaro/Avon River to the people of Christchurch. The Central Christchurch Recovery Plan identified the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct as a significant Anchor Project that would improve people’s connections with the iconic river.
- The restoration of the habitat of the Ōtākaro/Avon River waterway: completed 2014
- The first improvements to the riverside landscape, with the Watermark project, near the Antigua Boatsheds: completed 2013
- Downstream, beyond the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial is the restored and enhanced Bridge of Remembrance: completed 2016
- The Terraces: between Cashel Mall and Hereford Street: completed in June 2016. The next phase of the Terraces, either side of Worcester Street, including a new punt stop, was completed in December 2016
- The City Promenade: a broad paved area on the eastern side of the river between Christchurch Hospital and Manchester Street, will start in early 2017
- Landscape art pieces are being installed adjacent to the river through the central city
- Victoria Square restoration will begin in early 2017 and be completed in the first quarter of 2018
- Further downstream, the North Frame work will continue through until late 2017. A key element, the PGC building site landscaping, was finished in December 2016
- Margaret Mahy Family Playground: virtually complete
- Enhancement of the Avon Loop area: likely to be completed in 2018.
Who else is involved?
Christchurch City Council and Matapopore Charitable Trust have been key partners in the project.
City Care JFC Joint Venture is carrying out the restoration of Victoria Square. You can contact the Joint Venture by phone on 021 110 1416 or via email at email@example.com
40 stakeholder groups were consulted during the development of the design.
The Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct development is largely being funded by the Crown.
Ngāi Tahu Grand Narrative
This Grand Narrative (18M file) documents the Ngāi Tahu values, customs and traditions relevant to the central Christchurch public realm, including the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct area.
Healthy River and Landscape
Fish are thriving, the water is flowing faster and the riverbed is cleaner in the Ōtākaro/Avon River following this 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 and on the river in the central city. Deepening the riverbed in some areas has also allowed Christchurch’s iconic punts to extend their river route.
Restoring the landscape
Intensive landscape enhancement is being undertaken along the Ōtākaro/Avon River. This began with an assessment of about 750 trees in conjunction with Christchurch City Council, to determine their health and likely lifespan. The existing canopy of trees along the Avon River will be retained, with new exotic and native trees and shrubs introduced to add to its distinctive character. The planting and management of indigenous and exotic plants will be combined in the uniquely Christchurch Garden City style – enhancing its natural character by weaving Māori and Pākehā values together into the landscape.
The Watermark project set out to enhance the river environment between Antigua Boatsheds and Montreal Street and improve access to this section of the river.
It was the first project of the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct to be completed and provided an indication of how other river precinct elements would look. Watermark began to deliver on the community's aspirations for a 'green city' and aligned with the broad design principles of the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct:
- promoting a healthy river
- a fully accessible environment
- an integrated cultural narrative
- good economic potential.
The construction of Watermark on the northern bank involved a slight narrowing of the river, with landscaping and re-contouring to shape the new space. There is now improved seating, new boardwalks and street furniture, and better lighting.
Bridge of Remembrance
Strengthening work on the Triumphal Arch and the Bridge of Remembrance foundation structure was completed at the end of September 2015. New paving was then installed on the bridge, along with a ramp to improve accessibility, and lighting to highlight the Triumphal Arch. Two Ngā Whāriki Manaaki stone weaving patterns were also installed.
Once primarily for vehicles, Oxford Terrace, on the eastern side of the river, is about to become a broad, paved area. Whether people are walking, biking, driving, taking the tram or enjoying café-style seating, this space will be shared by all. Speed will be restricted to 10kmh along the City Promenade, with pedestrians and cyclists taking priority.
Once completed, the promenade will extend more than two kilometres from Christchurch Hospital to Manchester Street.
Together with the City Promenade, The Terraces will transform the waterfront into an area for leisure and entertainment. The flights of broad steps leading down to the river will make the most of the waterside location. People will be able to get close to the water, go for a walk, or enjoy a meal or a drink in the outdoors.
The aim is to make a place for gathering and hospitality – a sunny, sheltered area during the day and an appealing area for entertainment at night. The first section of the Terraces and the City Promenade, between Cashel Street and Hereford Street, was completed in June 2016.
There will be literary, sculptural and environmental art pieces, in a range of forms: integrated landscape elements, relocated pieces and artwork infrastructure. This includes bespoke landscape works – designs that have a functional purpose but are led by an artist. These include paving designs, seating and a new pedestrian bridge.
Many of the surfaces and structures in Victoria Square were damaged during the Canterbury earthquakes and were already close to the end of their life. This project will restore the square and make it safer and more accessible. The restoration design creates new links with nearby features like the Promenade, and includes new elements that better reflect shared Māori and European heritage and the Treaty relationship. The historic Bowker Fountain, which hasn't worked properly for many years, will be fully restored, and a new punt stop will be added adjacent to the Town Hall. You can read more about the restoration in the Fact Sheet.
The North Frame will be a mix of residential and public space spanning both sides of the river between Colombo and Madras Streets. The Promenade on the Oxford Terrace side of the river will continue through to Manchester Street, while a cycle path will complement grassed areas on the northern bank.
Key features will include:
- a functional pedestrian and cycling bridge
- landscaping on the PGC site in consultation with bereaved families
- residential development on the eastern side of Manchester Street (as part of the East Frame residential precinct)
- a Community Garden and orchard reflecting the principle of healthy mahinga kai The Community Garden is the first project to get underway. The land has been made available to the Food Resilience Network for a community garden and food hub that will be known as Ōtākaro Orchard.
Margaret Mahy Family Playground
The Margaret Mahy Family Playground is Christchurch's popular new central city play area. With separate activity zones for different ages, it's one of the largest playgrounds in the Southern Hemisphere.
Opened in December 2015, the playground was designed with accessibility in mind. The objective was that children could interact side by side, rather than singling out an area or specific equipment for children with disabilites. All the slopes and surfacing have been designed to meet accessibility standards – a 1:12 maximum gradient – for children or adults in wheelchairs.
Ōtākaro will retain ownership of the playground until all construction work has been completed later in 2016, when it will be transferred to Christchurch City Council.
The Avon Loop area, between Madras Street and Fitzgerald Avenue, will be the final section of the Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct. Access to the river will be improved and the riverside environment will be enhanced.
The effects of the earthquake remain evident in the Avon Loop area, with slumped banks and changes in the river’s profile. The proposed design will embrace these changes, with a corridor of indigenous plants that will create a natural habitat based on the pre-settlement landscape. Historic and cultural sites along the Avon Loop area will also be enhance by the work.
Start of works for Victoria Square
887 KB Uploaded 13/02/2017 9:46am
Stormwater construction - Victoria Square - March 2017
413 KB Uploaded 28/03/2017 9:59am
Amphitheatre Restoration - Victoria Square - April 2017
684 KB Uploaded 05/04/2017 4:15pm
Amphitheatre Access Closure - Victoria Square - April 2017
684 KB Uploaded 26/04/2017 9:19am
Stormwater & Paving Works - Armagh Street - April 2017
691 KB Uploaded 26/04/2017 9:23am
Watch - Victoria Square restoration FAQs
Answers to some common questions about the Victoria Square restoration.Read More
Watch - Victoria Square restoration underway
More than 150,000 new pavers will be laid in the square and many of the old ones will be reused in The Commons on the corner of Kilmore and Durham Streets.Read More
PGC Site Completed
Landscaping work is now complete on the former site of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, creating a new green public space in the North Frame.Read More
Request for Proposal for North Frame Pedestrian Bridge underway
Ōtākaro Limited has issued a Request for Proposal to design the North Frame Pedestrian Bridge in Christchurch’s central city.Read More
New Barbeque Area and Play Equipment for Margaret Mahy Family Playground
The new community barbeque area at the Margaret Mahy Family Playground will be ready for family use this weekend thanks to the generosity of ANZCO Foods.Read More
First Stage of The Terraces Officially Opens
Christchurch’s new urban waterfront is beginning to take shape with the official opening of the first stage of The Terraces.Read More