Council approves designs, new name for Christchurch stadium

Christchurch City Council has approved preliminary designs for its planned multi-purpose stadium, while it has also announced a new name for the facility.

In August, the council voted to restore the seating capacity of the stadium to 30,000 after its decision to approve a concept for a smaller design was criticised by locals. The design concept will mean that the venue is capable of hosting up to 41,000 people for concerts.

Four preliminary designs for the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena were released before Christmas and a further three have been released today (Thursday). The images have been created by Christchurch-based architects Warren & Mahoney and stadium design experts Populous, who are part of the Kōtui consortium delivering the project.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said: “We are delighted with the preliminary designs for the arena and feel confident that we are on track to having a world-class arena in the heart of our city.

“Today we have instructed the Kōtui consortium to begin work on the developed design for the arena. Once the developed design phase is completed, we will then be in a position to approve a design and construction contract.

“We are still working towards the goal of having early construction works on the site begin by April.”

The council has also approved a new name – Te Kaha – for the stadium, which will cost NZ$533m (£263m/€315m/$352m) to build. Te Kaha is a shortened version of Te Kaharoa (meaning ‘enduring strength’).

Caroline Harvie-Teare, Venues Ōtautahi chief executive, told New Zealand news website Stuff that the Te Kaha moniker would eventually either be replaced or combined with the name of a sponsor.

“Te Kaha is going to be a magnificent asset, not only for Christchurch and Canterbury, but for all of New Zealand,” said Barry Bragg, chair of the stadium project delivery board.

“With the preliminary design and new name now approved, we can begin those important conversations on how we incorporate the cultural narrative and the name, Te Kaha, into the design of the physical structure.”

Bragg was appointed as chair of the company that will oversee the project back in September. He was appointed to the role after original chairman Murray Strong resigned from the role earlier in the year.

In October, it emerged that the stadium would be completed six months later than planned due to additional planning work related to its expanded capacity. The construction is now estimated to be completed in mid-2025.

Te Kaha will include 250 metres of food and beverage outlets, a function lounge with a large terrace overlooking the field, 23 corporate boxes, increased user experience for people with disabilities, and a premium general area in the western stand.

The stadium 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.

Image: Christchurch City Council