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Squaring off Canterbury’s rebuild

After years in limbo, the rebuild of one of Christchurch’s most iconic landmarks is yet one more step closer after concept designs for a $154 million reinstatement of the Anglican Cathedral in Cathedral Square were revealed recently.


Released by Warren and Mahoney in association with international firm Snøhetta and heritage specialists Salmond Reed, the designs acknowledge the Anglican Cathedral’s rich history supported by modern buildings which will play a wider role in the city – and square’s – offerings.

The new buildings make up a Cathedral Visitors Centre, including a café, landscaped garden and museum and retail stores, as well as a Cathedral Centre providing gathering spaces, offices and amenities.

The renderings show use of glass and timber to complement and contrast with a reinstated stone cathedral.

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Limited Chair Justin Murray says the vastly improved aesthetics and landscaping of the overall quarter will be a point of pride for the city and a revitalised New Zealand attraction.

“It is a wonderful piece of design work, by Warren and Mahoney and Snøhetta, that is distinctly Kiwi. The new modern buildings serve as a link to the contemporary buildings around the outside of the square and are complementary to the Cathedral.

“This great looking plan offers a vibrant, attractive, functioning Cathedral Quarter that we are convinced will stimulate social, economic and tourism activity in Cathedral Square and the wider central city.”


Hot property

Landmarks of Christchurch old and new have been recognised at the 2020 New Zealand Property Industry Awards recently, with other Canterbury projects receiving praise, too.



The restored Christchurch Town Hall and the new Riverside Markets both won best in category for the Naylor Love Heritage and Adaptive Reuses Property Award and Yardi Retail Property Award, respectively.

The Town Hall recognised the work of Hawkins, Christchurch City Council, Octa Associates Limited, Warren and Mahoney, Holmes Consulting, Cosgroves, Tonkin and Taylor and Emily Fryer Conservation, while Riverside Market’s entry was submitted by Riverside Limited.

Judges recognised the on-budget and on-time delivery of the Town Hall’s refurbishment, which was less than building a new facility. Riverside drew attention for not only scooping Auckland’s Westfield Newmarket, but for “providing a benchmark for the ‘new Christchurch’.”

The Ngā Puna Wai Sports Hub submitted by AECOM was awarded excellence for the Holmes Group Tourism and Leisure Property Award, and He Puna Taimoana swimming pool complex in New Brighton submitted by the council received a merit in the same category.

For the Greenstone Group Education Property Award, the Beatrice Tinsley Building at the University of Canterbury Christchurch submitted by the University of Canterbury received excellence and Shirley Boys’ & Avonside Girls’ High Schools submitted by ASC Architects took home merit.

The awards, hosted by the Property Council New Zealand celebrate excellence in design and innovation in the built environment.


Constructing a strong reputation: Tonu Civil Construction

Once you find a company you can rely on for small or larger projects, you never let them go. Recommendations are given to carefully selected friends only, so precious is the quality, communication, and cost effectiveness of your prized contractor.


And so it is with Tonu Civil Construction, whose projects come to them almost entirely through word of mouth, from clients delighted with their work.

Specialising in all types of foundation, roading construction, driveways, demolition, plus cartage, this family-owned and Christchurch-based company gets jobs done without hassle, leaving happy customers in their wake – with compliments such as “the driveway is looking really fantastic, we are looking forward to driving on it later in the week,” an everyday occurrence.

EQC repairs are a specialty, and both residential jobs and commercial jobs around Christchurch and Canterbury are given the Tonu point of difference: Director Sullivan himself.

“I give clients what they want at reasonable prices, we are always looking at ways we can offer reduced costs, and open communication between us and our clients is a given,” he says.

The tight knit team of nine also works effectively with other contractors, bringing their can-do attitude and skill in communication to every project.

Ask about a quote on 021 174 7970 or via


From paperwork to completion: WD Build x Hardy Projects

You might be thinking you’ve done the easy part – registered before the deadline on the EQC website for on-sold, over-cap properties – but are dreading what comes next: preparing the paperwork, communicating with the Christchurch City Council, and of course coping with the stress and upheaval of the repair itself.



Relax! Mitchell James and Paul Hardy, Directors of WD Build and Hardy Projects have been at the forefront of this programme since its inception.

They help owners with the process from the paperwork at the very beginning, to handing over beautifully finished homes at the completion of the project.

“We have so much experience with the EQC process, as well as bringing our building expertise from engineered foundations to architectural finishes,” says Mitchell.

Client Ben McLean is delighted with the result he received.

“Working with Mitchell and Paul was so easy – they made the process really straightforward when we didn’t have a clue about what was required,” he says.

The house required foundation repair, a partial relevel, new flooring, tiling in the bathroom, internal painting, electrics brought to code, and the underfloor insulation (which had been non-compliant) all replaced. The garage had its foundations dug out and replaced as well as blockwork repaired.

“The house looks amazing,” says Ben. “And the estimate of four to six months work was actually completed in 12 weeks!”

With Mitchell and Paul on the job the work was very well planned, started quickly, ran smoothly and was completed to a very high standard.

“I’d recommend WD Build and Hardy Projects to anyone in a heartbeat,” says Ben.

Paul says: “For home owners who have registered with EQC and now need to engage a contactor to get things moving along, just pick up the phone and talk to us about an initial free assessment of your home and we’ll make a plan from there.”


Awards find homes in Canterbury, Southern Lakes

A former state house transformed to a modern family home steeped in cultural significance, the showroom of a sustainable timber brand, a farm cottage conversion and an impressive public restroom are the four Canterbury and Southern Lakes projects recognised with prestigious New Zealand Architecture Awards recently.

Photography: Patrick Reynolds


The 2020 ceremony held at the Christchurch Town Hall and beamed to mini-ceremonies in Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown and Whanganui saw 27 projects by Kiwi architects take home awards as part of the annual Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects awards programme.

Winners were whittled down from 46 finalists, which in turn resulted from hundreds of regional winners. All 46 finalists were visited by jury convenor Auckland architect Michael Thomson and fellow judges, Auckland architect Lynda Simmons, Christchurch architect Fiona Short, and University of Auckland architecture professor Anthony Hoete.

“The jury was impressed by the standard of work presented to us,” says Michael. “Many of the projects we visited seem particularly relevant in a year in which we’ve all had time to consider what’s important in our own lives, what matters in our communities, and what is special about our country.”

Photography: Simon Devitt

On awards night, the esteemed Sir Ian Athfield Award for Housing went to Toto Whare, a Lyttelton state house re-designed by Bull O’Sullivan Architecture and re-constructed by its builder-owner, Alistair Toto of Browntown Builders.

The former state house above Lyttelton Harbour underwent a dramatic transformation to become a modern family home which combines elements of Maori culture with modern design principals and reclaimed native timbers.

Canterbury architects Architype also won a Commerical Architecture award for Bathroom Pavilion in Ashburton. Further south, Lake Hayes Cottage by Anna-Marie Chin Architects won a Housing Alterations and Additions award and the Abodo Showcase in Cardrona by Assembly Architects won a Small Projects Architecture award.

Photography: Marina Matthews


Local business stories on show

Stories of hospitality, social enterprise, horticulture, healthcare, tech and art are amongst those shared as part of a campaign which highlighting business growth in Waitaha Canterbury recently.



Westpac and the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce’s Canterbury Business Champions campaign is a digital evolution of the organisation’s annual Westpac Champion Business Awards.

People were encouraged to give a shout out to a local business, team or individual or share their own story throughout October and early November.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson says the initiative aimed to create a place to share the “best kept secrets” of the region and reinforce the role that business plays in our wider community.

“Throughout the last few months, we have talked to thousands of businesses and have heard some amazing stories of innovation, nimbleness, determination, collaboration and kindness, so we wanted to provide a platform to share those stories and celebrate our business champions who contribute to the strong quality of life the people in Ōtautahi Christchurch and Waitaha Canterbury enjoy,” says Leeann.

One business nominated was 27 Seconds wines (pictured). The Chapman family donate 100% of the profits of their Canterbury-grown wine to end child slavery.

The business is named after the UNICEF statistic that estimates that 1.2 million children are sold into slavery every year. When you break that down it works out to be one every 27 seconds.

“While in a normal year, we could showcase some of those businesses at our annual awards ceremony, this year we decided to take the celebration online, given the uncertainty of running events during Covid-19, and focus on collectively championing all businesses – as there has never been a better time to share positive stories about our business community than right now.”

Westpac was the lead sponsor for the campaign, and South Island Area Manager Commercial, Mark Forward, said the initiative provides an opportunity to recognise the resilience, determination and creativity of Canterbury businesses.

All individuals who shared a story went in the draw to win $18,000 worth of prizes.


Soulful celebrations covered: Boo Radleys

Famed for its southern-USA soul food, fresh New Zealand ingredients, invigorating live music and extensive drinks lists – Boo Radley’s also extends its award-winning offerings to events.



Celebration coming up?

Leave the planning to Boo Radley’s. Situated on Victoria Street, Boo has everything covered: from space, to cuisine, beverages and even live entertainment.

Host up to 30 people for drinks and nibbles in one private area, double the pax for 60 in the restaurant area, or go the whole hog with up to 110 people in the entire space.

From sliders to snacks, sharing plates to succulent s’mores – the food selection caters for all palates and appetites.

Work with the chefs to design your menu of canapes, courses or cocktails.

There is also an extensive range of New Zealand wines, a wide selection of craft beers, a hand-crafted cocktail list and the country’s largest bourbon whisky selection to sip your way through.

To add to the atmosphere, live entertainment options abound. Take your pick from comedy shows, live music, or even a burlesque night – all organised by the Boo Radley’s crew.

To book or for more information email or call (03) 366 9906.


Framed to last: Red Lion Workshop

The constructions exude strength, and built from classic pegged timber framing they are made to last. From his converted shearing shed workshop on a picturesque farm in North Canterbury, Nigel Wilson creates large-scale, elegant and beautiful wooden structures that would elevate any outdoor environment.



“I learned the craft while living in Canada,” says Nigel.

“Traditional joinery of this type using carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs is well known in North America.”

Nigel can build everything from cabins and outdoor furniture to decorative trusses and feature gates. He particularly enjoys making structures that frame outdoor living.

“Pergolas, gazebos and porticos are my speciality now. They require engineering expertise and building experience both of which I gained from my previous work.

“After talking with clients about what they need I come up with a concept and then build the structure. I cut all the pieces required here in my workshop and assemble them on site. It is remarkable how quickly they can be erected.”

All the timber Nigel uses is grown and milled in North Canterbury – redwood, Japanese larch, macrocarpa and Douglas fir – apart from the wooden pegs which are shaped from imported oak.

“I am very fortunate that there are three excellent mills nearby.” Contact Nigel on 021 249 9729 or at


Paws on that page: The Clocks Bookshop

Meet Vanna! After being rescued as a kitten from a street in rural Thailand, spending six years in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and nearly a year in Malaysia, Vanna has had a lot of life experience. Now he oversees operations at The Clocks Bookshop in Strowan.

Vanna the cat


From his preferred spot in a sunny window, Vanna carefully scrutinised the bringing in of thousands of cooking, children’s and crime books (the three areas The Clocks Bookshop specialises in) when the store opened nearly a year ago.

Recently, he has kept a watchful eye over new shelving being built to accommodate a burgeoning range of fiction and non-fiction titles – the novel, The Dalai Lama’s Cat, is a favourite, as is A Street Cat Named Bob.

And now he looks on as still more children’s books (over 2000 titles in store), cookbooks (Polish vegetarian, anyone?), and crime books (general, classic, Scandinavian, hard-boiled, etc) roll in.

Vanna (Cambodian for golden coloured) is a happy fellow and up for a chat, so if you come in for a browse and he’s awake (unlikely!) be sure to say hello.

The Clocks Bookshop is located at 12 Normans Road, Strowan, Christchurch. Phone ahead on (03) 550 995, email or check it out online.


Collective action: The Kowhai Collective

Craft lovers rejoice, Kowhai Collective has brought the best of locally made arts, crafts and homewares to the central city.


Tucked into the SALT district near Little High Eatery and Utopia Ice ice cream store, and opposite C1 Espresso, Kowhai Collective is just waiting to be discovered.

Stocking an enchanting range of unique items including the ever-popular Zippitydoodah felt bunnies, jewellery, ceramics, prints, homewares and candles – Kowhai Collective is the perfect holiday shopping destination to support dozens of local artisans and business owners.

All products are hand made locally, and celebrate the talent and materials local to Christchurch and New Zealand.

Visit the store at 181 High Street.