Consortium appointed to deliver new Christchurch stadium

Christchurch City Council has announced that the Kōtui consortium of businesses has been selected to design and construct a new 25,000-seat stadium in the New Zealand city.

The consortium will be led by Australia-based stadium construction specialist BESIX Watpac and will also include Christchurch-based Southbase Construction and Fulton Hogan, local seismic engineering specialist Lewis Bradford, Christchurch architects Warren and Mahoney, and global stadium design experts Populous and Mott MacDonald.

The announcement comes after a funding agreement for the NZ$473m (£239m/€281m/$331m) venue was signed in October last year. The venue has been tentatively named the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena.

The combined experience in the Kōtui consortium has designed and built more than 400 stadiums globally, including the recently completed 25,000-seat Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville, Australia. Populous has designed a range of countries across the world, including the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium which opened in 2019.

The name ‘Kōtui’ describes a well-woven whariki, a type of mat or floor covering. The moniker is designed to illustrate the collaboration between the organisations involved in the consortium.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said: “This final anchor project is one of the most significant projects in Christchurch’s history, and I welcome the Kōtui consortium and the extensive international expertise they will bring to the design and construction of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena.”

Murray Strong, chair of the stadium project delivery board, added: “The Kōtui consortium ticked all of the boxes for every member of the selection panel; every organisation involved in Kōtui will bring an exceptional level of expertise to the project.

“BESIX Watpac has an outstanding track record of building premier international stadia on time and within budget, and we look forward to utilising their expertise through the CMUA’s design and construction process.”

The consortium will begin working on detailed designs of the stadium over the coming weeks and it is hoped early construction works can begin in early 2022. The stadium will be capable of hosting a range of sports and entertainment events.

Elsewhere in New Zealand, renovation work at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium, which was significantly damaged by a 2016 earthquake, is set to begin next month.

Demolition of the stadium’s East Stand will begin in mid-April and will be finished by September after the Taranaki Regional Council awarded a contract to Ceres NZ, which specialises in large-scale engineering projects.

Yarrow Stadium is being redeveloped following the closure of its two stands, which were found to be earthquake prone. The West Stand will be repaired and the East Stand will be replaced by a new structure.

Final plans for the NZ$50m revamp of the stadium were unveiled in November. The stadium had served as the Super Rugby’s Chiefs before the earthquake and was a host venue during the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The decision to rebuild rather than repair the East Stand was taken due to a number of complications, including poor ground conditions, the integration of the old grandstand structure and insufficient foundation strength.

Contracts for the design of the new stand, the refurbishment of the main pitch and the LED lighting upgrade to the main pitch lighting will be awarded in the coming weeks.

Image: Christchurch City Council