Past Issues

These issues are now past but most are still very relevant in 2022.


       This Christchurch Civic Trust Heritage Week Lecture was held on 16 October 2016



The Christchurch Civic Trust’s Heritage Week lecture in 2016 was a followup to our public forum held during Heritage Week 2015:’ Future of Cathedral Square’

Dr Geoffrey Rice delivered and illustrated lecture on Sunday 16 October at Novotel Hotel,titled: ‘Regenerating Cathedral Square:Mad Ideas that Might Work’  

Some of those who attended had participated in last years forum so there was an opportunity to discuss the progress or lack of development that has occurred in Cathedral Square as well as share idea about future possibilities for the development within that significant central city area. Dr Rices’s suggestions referred to squares in European cities he had recently visited,in particular cloistered Italian town centres. His ‘Mad Ideas’ were not entirely new as the forum last year had also discussed the concept of cloistered or covered walkways to link all areas of Cathedral Square precinct floated by Trust chair Dr Chris Kissling.Dr Rice also presented his own personal suggestions for the restoration of Cathedral Square which had also been a significant impulse for the Civic Trust’s forum last year.

The people of Christchurch have been given these two major events to share and and debate their views about this public space.One important outcome will be arranging a followup meeting with local authorities responsible for the co-ordinating development in this area,as well as encouraging all interested groups to make constructive contributions toward revitalising Cathedral Square.







80% of Christchurch’s Heritage and Notable Trees are about to be dropped off the Council’s register – and we only have one chance, and a very short amount of time, to save them. To have any hope, we desperately need donations to mount an effective campaign. The proposal to drop the trees from the register is proposed as part of the third and final stage of the Replacement Christchurch District Plan (RCDP), which is currently being fast-tracked under special legislation.

We have lost so much of Christchurch’s built heritage, that to face the loss of protection for so many significant trees as well feels like one more body blow in Christchurch’s post-earthquake “geography of loss.” There has been no public consultation on this proposal, and the decisions are being made by an Independent Hearing Panel that has no accountability to either Christchurch’s elected representatives or its residents.


All decisions are to be finalized by March 2016 and there is also no right of appeal, except to the High Court on points of law only. The Civic Trust, together with a small, dedicated group of residents, is working against the clock, and with very limited resources, to reverse the Council’s proposal. To do this, we need to present a powerful and professional case before the Independent Hearing Panel.  Several key professionals are giving very generously of their time and expertise but to be effective we need to mount a legal case as well as provide expert evidence.




Given the frighteningly short timeframe, the best way Civic Trust members can help is to make a special donation specifically toward mounting a legal and expert case for retaining the City’s Notable and Heritage Trees.


We appreciate that it is the worst possible time of year to seek donations—but we did not set the timeframe, we can only do our best to try and avert disaster within it.


Please send whatever you feel able to afford to via the givealittle website:


All donations will be receipted and are tax deductible.


For further information visit:



Victoria Square

  Links: Square-plans -fall short rebuild/65751922/hands-off-our-square-says christchurch

CTV Interview on Victoria Square

Save Christ Church Cathedral Campaign

The Christchurch Civic Trust  the Wizard of New Zealand and IConIC have been campaigning over recent months to save the Christ Church Cathedral from destruction.This has incurred costs particularly for advertising for which any assistance will be gratefully received.

If you would like to make a donation toward the campaign please do so by either sending a cheque to: The Christchurch Civic Trust  P O Box 1927 Christchurch 8140 or by direct credit to Kiwi Bank No:38900300 8139 600


Hagley Park is under threat

The Christchurch Civic Trust believes that Hagley Park is under threat from plans by Canterbury Cricket to develop Hagley Oval for international test matches.

The Christchurch City Council has already given its tacit approval, snd is in danger of breaching the provisions of both the Local Government Act 2002 and the Christchurch City(Reserves)Empowering Act 1971.

Links plans-urgent


The Arts Centre:

The Arts Centre Trust Board is in the process of examining options for developing new facilities that would enhance the future viability and value of the Centre to the general community in ways that would respect its unique Neo Gothic attributes.  To that end, the Civic Trust holds the view that a master plan needs to be formulated, in respect of which, further discussions with the Arts Centre Trust Board are anticipated.  (Please refer to recent newsletters for up to date information).

Rejection of the Music Conservatorium Proposal At the Arts Centre Site

May 12 2010

The rejection of the proposed music conservatorium at the Arts Centre by the Christchurch City Council appointed commissioners has pleased the Christchurch Civic Trust, who have vigorously opposed this scheme. The commissioners view is that “the proposed building is too great a scale and too bulky for it to be compatible ….with the protection of heritage items having regard to their significance”

Another decision to allow subdivision of the site was granted, subject to all titles being registered with the following condition.

“…this allotment shall be considered to be within and part of a single site bounded by Worcester Boulevard, Montreal Street, Hereford Street and Rolleston Avenue, together with all other allotments located within the block bounded by those roads”

The Christchurch Civic Trust looks forward to future liaison with the Arts Centre Trust Board, to determine a satisfactory master plan for this entire site in accordance with the above decisions.

Living 3 and Living 4 Zones:

Another matter of consequence relates to issues and options relating to future development in L3 and L4 residential zones that occupy large areas of inner Christchurch and in which a considerable amount of random infill redevelopment has taken place. Resultant outcomes have raised a number of urban design concerns arising from the close proximity of adjoining buildings on individual sites of constraining lot sizes and dimensions.

Canterbury Museum:

The Civic Trust fought long and hard against proposals for the “revitalisation” of the Canterbury Museum on the general grounds that the scope and visual attributes of works would have had serious adverse effects on the heritage value of the Neo Gothic buildings. The Environment Court upheld that view but there are, as yet, no apparent signs of what options might now be considered – including the possibility of the development of much needed additional facilities on adjoining or nearby sites. The Trust will keep a watching brief.

Christchurch Hospital and Hagley Park:

Current moves to extend the hospital further into Hagley Park – to demolish the existing Nurses Hostel and to exceed the height restrictions – are being debated.   This move would result in the loss of 27 trees and a significant loss to the existing woodland/daffodil area, and to have helicopter landings on these new buildings.

Christchurch Urban Development

A commitment has been made by the Christchurch City Council, in conjunction with Environment Canterbury, Transit New Zealand and the Waimakariri and Selwyn district councils, jointly to rationalize the future planning and development of Greater Christchurch in the context of a long-term Urban Development Strategy (UDS), approved in June 2007. The UDS anticipates the population of Greater Christchurch increasing from 414,000 in 2006 to 549,000 by 2041, requiring new housing for about 75,000 households.  Other socio-economic land uses will also be required, along with extensions to and improvements of infrastructure systems and community services.

The UDS also postulates a strategy of “centralization” that between 2006 – 2041 would result in an increase of about 14,000 households in the Central City, with a further 5000 households absorbed by infill projects, and some 34,200 households in greenfield areas and other suburbs  of the City.  The overall increase for the City per se would be in the order of 53,200 households.  Also, additional growth totaling about 21,700 households is envisaged for communities in the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.  It may thus be expected that the scale of growth anticipated by the UDS will lead to increased external interactions with and pressures within the Central City.  (See schematic drawing attached of Civic Trusts submission)

Revitalisation of the city

In the above context, the UDS states that:

The success of the Strategy is tied directly to how well the City and town centres are revitalised ….  Christchurch’s Central City has a special importance in ensuring that Christchurch and Canterbury continue to function and grow as dynamic places in which to live, work and play. As the centre of the region’s economy and gateway to Canterbury, the success of the Central City is linked intrinsically to the success of the region.

The City Council has for some years past produced a significant number of studies relating to the improvement of the land use, transport and environmental components of the Central City.  That work has provided useful inputs for incorporation in the current City Plan, approved in November 2005.  However, steps now need to be taken to review the roles and structure of the Central City over the same time span assumed for the UDS.  A vision of the Council for the Central City is the creation and sustainable development of:

  • A vibrant, exciting, safe and sustainable heart of Christchurch;
  • A heart with a healthy and strong economy, environment, culture and society.

A first task has been to launch a systematic assessment of the redevelopment potential of sites within the Four Avenues, by which broad areas have been identified for potential, comprehensively designed schemes.  Policies and institutional measures are also needed to facilitate site amalgamation and the implementation of projects through joint public–private sector ventures where appropriate.  Results from these should then provide a foundation for structuring the Central City in the form of a number of precincts within a frame of arterial, primary distributor and local access roads, supplemented by improved traffic management systems, efficient public transport services and improved environmental amenities.

It is perceived that, with some upgrading, the existing roads, utility services and land resources in the Central City are likely to have the potential capacity to accommodate substantial additional growth that needs to be configured within the scope of a well-devised, integrated land use and multimode transport strategy for implementation via comprehensively designed urban renewal schemes.  Model tests are needed to evaluate a range of strategic development options against a set of defined objective-based criteria.

A major step forward towards achieving the above objectives has been taken by the Christchurch City Council, which resolved on 4 October 2007, to set up an URBAN REGENERATION AGENCY (URA) to pursue the following objectives:

  • Preparing and implementing comprehensive redevelopment plans in conjunction with the CCC for target areas which guide future public and private investment in such areas;
  • Acquiring, assembling, selling and leasing real estate to achieve redevelopment and to promote the CCC policy objectives, specifically the Urban Development  Strategy and the Central City Revitalisation Strategy;
  • Performing remediation of brown-field sites or other properties encumbered with environmental and redevelopment obstacles;
  • Facilitating the formation and implementation of public–private sector partnerships and joint ventures in the implementation of relevant projects; and
  • Developing flagship, prestige projects that are exemplars of the Council’s revitalisation objectives and act as catalysts for private investment and development.

In the above context, steps have been taken by the Christchurch City Council to promote a redevelopment project for the former Turners and Growers site (opposite) that forms part of a Central City Edge (CCE) zone.  That zone is intended for a mix of servicing and light industrial uses and also residential development to provide opportunities to assist in the enhancement and revitalisation of the area itself and also, in turn, the wider central city area. The development of a zone with a diverse mixture of activities that attract people into the area is one tool to facilitate rejuvenation. The project is expected to incorporate residential accommodation, a hotel with winery, a retail market area, car parking and a central public space connecting to Lichfield, Tuam and Madras Streets. The project is expected to take 5 – 7 years to bring to fruition.

This illustration portrays one strategically located area within the CCE Zone that offers good potential for an innovative “Flagship” revitalisation project.

It is anticipated that, in due course, the entire CCE zone could be transformed into an inner city precinct of great distinction through the combined efforts of public and private bodies. There also are other areas in the Central City that offer potential for revitalisation and the launching of further flagship projects. For such areas, there should be opportunities for public–private sector joint ventures, for which the current Council’s Community Long Term Plan (LTCCP) sets out clearly defined policy objectives and guidelines. In that context, measures to promote the amalgamation of sites need to be applied in order to achieve comprehensively designed projects of distinction.