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Author: Guest Columnist

Mark O’Loughlin

Explore your inner-city backyard!

How great was it to see Christchurch humming with locals and visitors this holiday period?


Mark O’Loughlin


You didn’t have to look far to see people out and about enjoying what the new-look city has to offer. Thanks to some great weather, and multiple events and festivals, thousands and thousands of happy visitors – both domestic and international – enjoyed the freedom to roam our inner-city.

The Hagley Oval hosted the Black Caps’ match against Sri Lanka and the newly-revitalised World Buskers’ Festival attracted both young and old to its spectacular events. We’ve also been treated to some awesome concerts at Hagley Park, with the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, as well as ‘A Summer’s Day Live’, which featured international guests, Dragon, TOTO, and Jefferson Starship. What better way to spend a spectacular Canterbury day than with a concert and picnic in the park?

Elsewhere, retailers and hospitality workers were kept happy – and very busy – with a welcome Christmas boost, thanks to late-night shopping, and bars, cafés and restaurants were open for business. Of course, the great weather helped, too.

Mark O’Loughlin
By Harcourts Gold

It’s also been interesting to see many of the new central city anchor projects starting to become a reality and it’s exciting to watch their progress.
I really enjoyed exploring the city over the summer break and seeing so many smiles and families having fun. Well done to the council and all parties involved in presenting our inner-city to the world.

Have you checked out your new backyard? Take a look around Christchurch – you might just be surprised with what you discover.




Ivan Iafeta

Ivan Iafeta: The Influencers

If you visited somewhere outside Christchurch during the holiday period and found several tower cranes and a number of mobile cranes operating in close proximity, it is likely that you considered it to be an area where there was a lot of investment and development happening.


Ivan Iafeta
Regenerate Christchurch CEO


It is also likely that people from outside Christchurch who visited our city and saw just that, had a similar impression – the impact of which cannot be underestimated.

Dynamic cities attract highly skilled people whose efforts have a ripple effect, creating new jobs and driving economic development. Christchurch is well-positioned to accommodate stronger growth and must compete harder to attract a greater share.

This year, Regenerate Christchurch is focussed on identifying and addressing impediments to regeneration in the short, medium and long term.

This will build on our central city momentum work, which has already led to the development and implementation of the central city revitalisation action plan by both the public and private sectors.

All cities have a constant need to regenerate in some shape or form.

The fact that Christchurch’s regeneration phase follows a period of recovery means an ongoing long-term commitment will be essential. Progress can sometimes be obscured from view by familiarity and it is critical that we, as a community, acknowledge and celebrate it. However, there is still plenty to be done.



John Bridgman

John Bridgman: The Influencers

For Ōtākaro, 2019 is going to be a year where we go up rather than out. Having opened the City Promenade, completed the bulk of the South Frame and finished almost all of our roading projects, we’re largely out of your way on the streets.


John Bridgman
Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

So, you will be seeing activity ramp up on both the Te Pae and Metro Sports Facility sites.  Te Pae is over a quarter of the way through construction and on track to start holding conventions and exhibitions from late 2020.

The most obvious change you will see this year is the construction of the 3600m2 exhibition hall, to the south of the well-advanced auditorium. It effectively doubles the size of the building on the site. At the peak of construction, you will see more than 400 people working on Te Pae.

Around May, the last of the 7000 or so in-ground stone columns will be installed on the Metro Sports Facility site between Moorhouse Ave and St Asaph St. This is one of the largest ground improvement projects of its kind in New Zealand and will help mitigate liquefaction risks or damage to pools and courts in any future earthquakes. We are working on reaching an agreement with a Main Works contractor that will see work on the building start when groundworks finish.

These are large facilities that will have a positive impact for everyone, from kids learning to swim through to the operators of the South Island’s largest tourism ventures. It’s an exciting time to be watching the Christchurch skyline.



Mason Reed

Mason Reed: The Influencers

It’s hard to believe that the xmas break is over and we are already well into the New Year.


Mason Reed
Fraser Thomas Director – Geotechnical Engineering


As a business owner, the start of a New Year is a good time to step back and to reflect on the past business year and set some goals for the year to come.  It is easy, when we are busy, to fall into the trap of working in the business rather than working on the business.

Having a break gives us the opportunity to step back from the business and to have a critical look at it. This year is shaping to be another busy one for Fraser Thomas Ltd. We moved into our new office late last year, which is much more suitable for our expanding workforce. We are working with some inspirational clients, who are challenging our engineering ingenuity and will ensure that we are exposed to some exciting engineering challenges this year.

That being said, this year my goal is to try and make more time in my busy schedule, to ensure that I have more time for my wife and kids and also for myself. Success in business typically takes a lot of time and effort, but we also need to try and prioritise working on ourselves, in order to enable us to maintain our health and focus (which ultimately will help to improve our businesses).



Marian Johnson

Marian Johnson: The Influencers

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to finally launch that dream startup and fulfil your goals and ambitions, then 2019 is a great year to make it happen.

Marian Johnson
Chief Awesome Officer Ministry of Awesome

Startup fever has gripped the globe for at least a decade now – mostly powered by the disruptive nature of digital technology. And – according to the 2018 Startup Genome Report – New Zealand is right in there with about 500 startups across multiple verticals.

So, why do startups matter for Christchurch? Startups disrupt markets and are, to coin a phrase from John O’Hara, Chair of the Angel Association NZ, the “speedboats of the new economy” able to innovate and positively transform their local economies and communities. And of all the major cities of NZ, Christchurch is the one that presents the most attractive opportunity for future entrepreneurs with city leadership actively positioning Christchurch as a ‘City of Opportunity and Exploration’.

If you’re a would-be entrepreneur looking for an idea, a business partner, some support, or some inspiration – there’s no better place to begin than with the Ministry of Awesome and coming along to Coffee and Jam. C+J is Christchurch’s longest running meetup for startups, innovators, and entrepreneurs and it all started again on Tuesday, 22 January at EPIC on Manchester Street. No need to book, just turn up every Tuesday 12:30-1:30 and meet your new tribe.



For more info, just Google ‘Coffee and Jam’ and make 2019 your year.


Dr Megan Woods

Dr Megan Woods: The Influencers

As we head into our second year of office, it’s been great to be able to take some time over the summer break and reflect on a very busy 2018. There have been some significant changes to make sure that people are able to get their homes fixed and get on with their lives, and I have been thrilled to see some of the results that we’ve achieved.


Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister
Dr Megan Woods: Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister


A big step was the Independent Ministerial Advisor’s report in June, which demonstrated the need for a wide range of reforms to speed up the resolution of outstanding EQC claims. It was clear there was a lot of work to do to get those claims moving but some critical changes were made to ensure faster resolution.

As of the end of November 2018, there are only 2,337 EQC claims outstanding, with 72 percent of claims that were on hand at 30 June 2018 resolved. In addition, the launch of the Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service (GCCRS) in October was met with a great response and has made a difference for many people.

This year is shaping up to be just as busy. The Canterbury Earthquakes Insurance Tribunal will be established and the inquiry into the EQC will provide an interim report back by the end of June, but our major focus for 2019 will continue to be ensuring that people are getting their claims resolved as quickly as possible and are able to move on with their lives.



Leeann Watson

Leeann Watson: The Influencers

Our city has become such a dynamic place to live, work and visit, with a real sense of excitement in the air.


Leeann Watson
Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive

Our visitor economy remains the growth market for the city and region, with guest nights and visitor spending well surpassing pre-earthquake levels. This positive trend is likely to continue over the next few months, as our city plays host to events for locals and visitors alike.

The Bread & Circus World Buskers Festival, which is just winding down, was even better than ever, with an amazing line-up of over 520 performances.

There is the much-loved annual Sparks concert in February, as well as the Night Noodle Markets. I’m also looking forward to the Holi Festival and the South Island Lantern Festival – two family events that really showcase our region’s diversity and community spirit.

The events calendar will be boosted by the staged re-opening of the Christchurch Town Hall – a key milestone in the regeneration of our city and a very welcome world-class venue. This will join other developments, such as the newly opened central city library Tūranga and entertainment complex EntX, in helping to bring thousands of visitors into the heart of the city.

We are also heartened to see that earthworks have started on the Metro Sports Facility, site preparation works have begun on the Cathedral site, and they are making headway on the Riverside Farmers’ Market site, which is set to become an impressive complex with a focus on local produce.

It’s a great to see our regenerated – and rejuvenated – city really taking shape.



Craig South

Welcome to the Waterfront: Craig South

Christchurch’s new city waterfront is transforming how people engage with the city and Te Papa Ōtakaro/Avon River. Architect Craig South explores this exciting addition to the central city.


Craig South


It was a day for celebration and discovery when Christchurch’s new City Promenade opened on 25 November with a scavenger hunt, live music, face painting and eel feeding. A few weeks before the official opening I was lucky enough to be invited on a tour of the new waterfront on the north side of Te Papa Ōtakaro/Avon River between Christchurch Hospital and Manchester Street/the Margaret Mahy Family Playground. It is a key part of Te Papa Ōtakaro/Avon River Precinct.

Seeing the new riverside up close is inspiring. I can’t speak highly enough of the design that features broad, well-designed paving. In pre-quake days, few would have braved the river’s grassy banks but the City Promenade can today be safely and easily accessed by people of all physical abilities and ages.

How we interact with this part of the city is going to change as a result. Instead of just driving through it, people can now enjoy a leisurely walk or cycle along the river. My recent tour of the area gave me a fresh appreciation of how lucky we are to have such a beautiful natural environment in the heart of our city. Vehicle traffic will likely dwindle through the streets next to the river as more people embrace the waterfront. Activities such as riverside entertainment and market stalls will no doubt evolve in response to the City Promenade.

The rebuild provided an opportunity for Ngāi Tūāhuriri/Ngāi Tahu identity to truly become a part of the city and it’s great to see how this has been woven into the river precinct. A self-guided walk has been created to highlight Ngā Whāriki Manaaki – Woven Mats of Welcome, a series of 13 weaving patterns adapted for the riverside using stone pavers of varying shades and colours.


They reference the whakamanuhiri process of welcome and support the Ngāi Tahu guiding principle of the rebuild, ‘Kia atawhai ki te iwi’, (care for your people). The designs were made by expert weavers Reihana Parata, QSM and Morehu Flutey-Henare, Master of Applied Indigenous Knowledge with technical support from artist Wayne Youle, Bachelor of Design. Personally, I feel moved and impressed by the Whāriki, which so eloquently embed mana whenua history and values in the city.

My walking tour was a real journey of discovery: altogether, the City Promenade includes 34 artworks and various site-specific displays/information. Around 500 trees, 29,000 plants and 600,000 pavers went into its creation. The river winds by the Canterbury Earthquake Memorial and the Bridge of Remembrance. It passes by The Terrace hospitality hub and the Riverside Farmers’ Market site, the Convention Centre, Victoria Square and the North Frame to the Margaret Mahy Playground. It goes without saying that this is a wonderful walk for families.

Te Papa Ōtakaro/Avon River Precinct simultaneously rolls out a welcome while leaving room for introspection and reflection and encouraging a spirit of exploration. Personally, I got a lot out of my day on the waterfront. If you have friends and whānau/family visiting over summer, I recommend taking them to see it so they can experience a unique Christchurch welcome.


Architect Craig South
Architect Craig South


Ivan Iafeta

Ivan Iafeta: The Influencers

Ivan Iafeta
Ivan Iafeta: Regenerate Christchurch CEO

Since 2011, plenty has been said about the opportunity Christchurch has to redefine itself. But, as in most cities, conversations about vision can sometimes be overtaken by more vocal demands for immediate action and visible progress. As we near the end of 2018, a year in which there have been significant visible signs of progress, the focus must continue to shift from recovery to the longer-term, ongoing and more complex process of regeneration.

While individual agencies deliver value through their individual work programmes, it is the outcomes from the collective regeneration initiatives of the wider public and private sectors that generate the most value. Two examples this year have been the completion and opening of Tūranga, the new central library, and the EntX cinema complex. In just a few months’ time, the Christchurch Town Hall will re-open and, this time next year, the opening of Te Pae (the new convention centre) will be months away.

But it is also important to remember that regeneration is not about new buildings and facilities. Attracting more people to Christchurch as visitors and new residents must be one of the city’s core objectives. Unlike Auckland and Wellington, Christchurch has the capacity to grow without the space and infrastructure constraints the northern cities are currently grappling with.

However, it will not be a case of ‘build it and they will come’. Christchurch must demonstrate how it is uniquely placed to support the country’s growth and its relevance to New Zealand’s future success. That will be a task for all of us in 2019.



John Bridgman

John Bridgman: The Influencers

John Bridgman
Ōtākaro Limited Chief Executive

As we head into Christmas let me give you a few numbers on Ōtākaro’s projects that help illustrate how far we have come in Christchurch’s regeneration this year – 29,000 plants and 600,000 thousand pavers make up the City Promenade that now lines the Avon River; 97,000 hours went into repairing, widening and reprioritising Manchester Street for buses; 15,000 cubic metres of concrete and 1,450 tonnes of steel are taking shape as Te Pae, the city’s new convention centre, which is now 25 percent complete.

A more significant measure of progress may be considering the spaces we can once again use. In February the former site of the CTV building was reopened as a green space for peaceful reflection, as desired by the affected families. Victoria Square emerged from a 13-month restoration in March and the determination to retain its iconic character has recently been recognised with a Civic Trust award. The Bowker Fountain is back to its fully illuminated former glory, and the paths levelled and widened to make the area safer, more accessible and ready for the likes of Carols by Candlelight.

In October we opened the fourth and final gathering space in the South Frame – Kahikatea Common – complete with native plants, seating and the central city’s first butterfly enclosure.  It feels like a year that has gone faster than Santa down a chimney and I hope you have noticed the changes. All the best for the holiday season and I look forward to updating you on what lies ahead for Ōtākaro in the New Year.