Christchurch’s new multi-use arena will be completed six months later than planned due to additional planning work related to its expanded capacity.

An update from Christchurch City Councillors said the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena (CMUA) design and construction phase is now estimated to be completed in mid-2025.

Barry Bragg, CMUA project delivery board chair, said additional planning work has been required to expand the CMUA from 25,000 to 30,000 seating capacity, while staying within the project’s budget.

The updated concept design for the CMUA features a U-shaped concourse, with space for a ‘stage pocket’ at the northern end of the arena, 30,000 spectators in sporting mode, and thousands more in concert mode. It will still have a permanent roof.

“The rapid, global escalation of shipping and steel prices in this Covid-19 environment have provided a real challenge for the Kōtui team working on the preliminary design of the CMUA,” said Bragg, who was appointed to his position last month.

“While the projected completion date is now estimated to be the end of June 2025, Council staff and contractors are actively looking at ways to streamline the current design, early works and construction phases so contractors can hit the ground running as soon as the Design and Construction work is awarded in 2022.”

The council update also identifies the updated project budget of NZ$533m (£260m/€310m/$365m). Councillors approved an additional NZ$50m to maintain the arena’s seating capacity at 30,000 in August 2021. The design concept will mean that the venue is capable of hosting up to 41,000 people for concerts.

The CMUA will be the biggest of its kind in New Zealand and is set to host All Blacks rugby matches as well as concerts and other events.

The Kōtui consortium led by international stadia design experts BESIX Watpac, is currently working on the preliminary designs for the CMUA. These designs are expected to be completed and published by the end of the year.

Image: Christchurch City Council