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Christchurch set to firing starting gun on ‘Te Kaha’ stadium work

Work is set to commence on Christchurch’s new multi-purpose stadium, Te Kaha, with officials admitting that international market pressures will make its targeted mid-2025 delivery “challenging” to meet.

A soil turning ceremony was held at the stadium site in Canterbury, New Zealand today (Friday). Te Kaha Project Delivery chief executive, David Kennedy, said the Kōtui consortium behind the 30,000-seat project will begin early works on-site in the coming weeks, in preparation of construction commencing once Christchurch City Council has approved the design and construction contract.

“With early works beginning on site imminently, the vision of an incredible multi-use arena is now coming to life,” said Kennedy. “The early works and ground preparation are being done in advance, in order to streamline the process and enable contractors to hit the ground with construction as soon as the Council approves the design and construction contract in August.”

The covered stadium has been designed by the Kōtui consortium, led by BESIX Watpac, and will be constructed on a large tract of land in the centre of Christchurch. Te Kaha, a shortened version of Te Kaharoa (meaning ‘enduring strength’), will feature 23 corporate suites, 250m of food and beverage outlets, a 1150-square metre function lounge that’s capable of hosting a wide range of events, and 80 open corporate reserve seated areas.

“This is an important milestone and the start of a really exciting new chapter, both for Ōtautahi-Christchurch and for the Canterbury region,” said Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel.

“Te Kaha will be such an enabler for the future of our city and region. We are the sporting and events capital of New Zealand, and with this amazing new facility, we’ll be able to showcase to the world the very best of what we can offer.”

Speaking at today’s ceremony, Te Kaha Project Delivery chairman, Barry Bragg, said his team will be hard-pressed to deliver the stadium for mid-2025. “There is no question about it, in today’s environment with supply chain, materials, labour, it will be challenging,” he said, according to Stuff.co.nz.

Te Kaha currently has a budget of NZ$533m (£280m/€336.1m/$365.2m), with Bragg stating the budget and opening date are being assessed monthly as the costs of materials, including steel, in local and international markets, are monitored.

“That’ll give us a better idea of what the final numbers are going to be,” he added. “But it is fair to say that those numbers are under enormous pressure at the moment.”

Christchurch City Council in January approved preliminary designs for its planned multi-purpose stadium, while it also announced the 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.

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 facility 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