Tūranga fosters life-long learning and is the place for information, inspiration and entertainment.

At nearly 10,000 square metres, Tūranga is the largest public library in the South Island and the flagship for the Christchurch City Libraries network, supporting 19 community, digital, and mobile libraries. 

Opening hours

Tūranga is open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 5pm Saturdays and Sundays.

On weekdays, He Hononga | Connection (Ground Floor) opens earlier at 8am.

Visit Christchurch City Libraries' website for more information about Tūranga.(external link)


Port Hills and flax


The inspiration for the design was derived mainly from the warm colours and rolling shadows of the Port Hills and the angular fronds of the native Harakeke flax that once grew in the vast wetlands of Christchurch.


Tūranga's building was designed by New Zealand company Architectus in partnership with Danish library design experts Schmidt Hammer Lassen. Architectus has worked on many other civic and community projects, such as  the new Christchurch bus interchange. Schmidt Hammer Lassen has received more than 150 awards for its work which includes 12 libraries internationally and the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Creating a welcoming atmosphere

Architect Carsten Auer describes the ground floor of the library as an extension of Cathedral Square:

“This is a building that invites people in. We want them to walk through the library in the same way they walk through the square. We want people to feel like they belong here.”

Māori cultural aspects of the design

The design was developed in discussion with Ngāi Tahu and the Ngāi Tūāhuriri rūnanga.

Openings on upper floors face culturally significant points in the Canterbury landscape and beyond:

  • Kā Tiritiri o te Moana – Southern Alps
  • Aoraki / Mt Cook
  • Horomaka / Pātaka o Rākaihautū – Banks Peninsula
  • Maungatere – Mt Grey
  • Hawaiki – according to oral traditions, one of the places of origin of New Zealand's earliest settlers.


Innovation and technology


Tūranga features new spaces, equipment and programmes not found in traditional libraries.

  • up to 100 computers
  • innovation zone for trialing new technology
  • Spark Place: flexible space for seminars, presentations and workshops
  • free Wi-Fi internet access
  • 3D printers and laser cutters

Creative spaces

  • music and video editing studios
  • rooms for activities such as craft sessions

Meeting spaces

  • boardroom and meeting rooms

Entertainment spaces

  • TSB Space: 200-seat arena for performances, author talks and public debates
  • Southbase Gallery: exhibition area
  • Discovery Wall and digital displays about events and activities
  • children’s play zone

Relaxing spaces

  • quiet reading room
  • outdoor roof terraces
  • café and espresso bar.

Location and travel information

Tūranga occupies a prominent central-city site on the corner of Cathedral Square and Gloucester Street.

Travel information

By car

  • The closest off-street car parks to Tūranga are 158 Hereford Street and 105 Worcester Street. 
  • Get an hour’s free parking at Christchurch Art Gallery or Lichfield Street car park buildings.
  • There are four P120 mobility parking spaces immediately outside Tūranga, two on Gloucester Street and two on Colombo Street.
  • Check out the central city car parking map.

By bus

  • The Bus Interchange is located approximately 500 metres from Tūranga, a short walk of about 7 minutes.
  • The Manchester Street Bus Stop is approximately 250 metres from Tūranga, a short walk of about 4 minutes.
  • Plan your bus trip.(external link)

By bike

  • Bike stands are located near the Gloucester Street entrance
  • Additional cycle parking will be located in Cathedral Square. This area will be able to store cycles, scooters and mobility devices, however please take care and bring your own lock as we can’t take responsibility for lost or damaged items.
  • Find your best cycle route.

Central Library history

Cambridge Terrace Library

In 1859, the Mechanics Institute opened a small subscription library in High Street and a few years later it moved to Cambridge Terrace. This building was later converted into offices and was demolished after the earthquakes.

The Council took over management of city library services in 1948 and a new Warren and Mahoney-designed building opened on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Gloucester Street in 1982.

By 2008, the library was too small and the Council agreed to look at options for replacing it. In 2011, the Old Central Library was badly damaged in the earthquakes. Plans to repair it were dropped after the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan earmarked the site for the new convention centre, and it was demolished.

The old Central Library, corner of Oxford Terrace and Gloucester Street.

A temporary library in Tuam Street provided library services in the central city until the site was needed for the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct.

Two temporary libraries in Peterborough and Manchester streets then served the central city until Tūranga opened on 12 October 2018.