In June 2015, Christchurch City Council agreed to repair the Town Hall. It will provide performance venues to complement the Performing Arts Precinct to be developed in the area south of Armagh Street.

As part of a four-year conservation project, the Town Hall's auditorium, entrance foyer, James Hay Theatre and the Limes Room will be retained. The Boaters and the Cambridge Room will also be rebuilt.

The Town Hall will be strengthened to 100 per cent of the New Building Standard and significantly refurbished, ensuring it is a modern, world-class facility that can be enjoyed for many years to come. It is expected to reopen to the public in 2018. A total of $127.5 million has been budgeted for the restoration.

In November 2015, the first major construction milestone was reached, with the beginning of significant foundation work.

A technique known as jet grouting has begun on the site, which will see more than 1000 large concrete piles injected eight metres into the ground. Three jet grout machines have been specifically imported from Germany to carry out the work. The foundation work is expected to be completed in June 2016. Media release (external link)

See what's happening at the Town Hall (external link)

Two time-lapse cameras have been installed to provide a glimpse of the work underway at the Town Hall, one inside the auditorium and a second outside facing the northern elevation (Kilmore Street side). These cameras take a photo every fifteen minutes during the early stages of the project and will be set to shorter intervals as the work progresses.

Christchurch Town Hall: Elected Member Update 30 December 2016 [PDF, 118 KB] [PDF 122KB]

Funding and Cost Share

The budget for the Town Hall project of $127.5 million comes out of the wider Performing Arts Precinct budget of $157.5 million which based on the 2013-2016 Annual Plan is to be fully funded by the Council and insurance proceeds. The budgets for the Town Hall project and Performing Arts Precinct are to be kept separate.

Funding for the Christchurch Town Hall will mostly come from insurance claim of $69million and Christchurch City Council $58.5million, which is the total cost to ratepayers.


Christchurch Earthquakes cause severe damage (2010-2011)

The Town Hall was significantly damaged in the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. During the February 2011 earthquake, the land beneath and around the building was severely damaged, and the Town Hall has been closed to the public since then.

The Town Hall closed as a result of earthquake damage. In Warren and Mahoney’s report to the Council's Community, Recreation and Culture Committee in September 2012: “Lateral spread adjacent to the river and a significant liquefiable layer under the building have caused serious damage to the ground floor and foundations. The Limes Room has lifted up towards the river and separated from the rest of the complex."

The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (2012)

The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan (CCRP) outlines the future development of central Christchurch. The Recovery Plan defines the form of the central city and identifies the locations of key anchor projects throughout the CBD needed to boost the recovery. The Recovery Plan outlines a new Performing Arts Precinct as one of the key anchor projects, located near the new Convention Centre between Armagh and Gloucester Streets, This precinct would be able to provide facilities for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, the Court Theatre and the Music Centre of Christchurch.

The Performing Arts Precinct and the Convention Centre have been identified as anchor projects in the CCRP, which makes them key components of the Christchurch rebuild. The success of the Performing Arts Precinct and Convention Centre in conjunction with a performance venue such as the Town Hall, will depend on the projects working together to provide facilities that are fit for purpose and user needs.

The city sees the reopening of performing arts facilities in the inner city as an important project and key to re-energising and re-occupying the CBD. Performing arts facilities will draw large numbers of people back into the central city, facilitating civic participation and supporting the development of economic activity within the CBD. These venues will also be utilised by out of town visitors who come for concerts or performances that only specific performing arts facilities.


What is Council seeking to achieve?

Make Christchurch a liveable city

The following community outcomes under the liveable city strategic direction, have been identified as relevant to the provision of a civic and event facility in the CBD:

  • The central city is a vibrant and prosperous business centre
  • The central city has a distinctive character and identity
  • The central city is used by a wide range of people and for an increasing range of activities
  • Streetscapes, public open spaces and public buildings enhance the look and function of the city.

Regeneration of Christchurch

A civic and event facility in conjunction with the Performing Arts Precinct and the Convention Centre will act as vital anchors in the recovery of Christchurch drawing people and businesses back to the CBD. The development of a civic and event facility will provide a strong signal that the CBD is returning “to normal” while at the same time providing a world class facility for cultural performances and events that is lacking at present.


Public Consultation with key stakeholders

Residents of Christchurch

The residents of Christchurch make up the largest stakeholder group and include ratepayers and renters of all ages. As part of the 2012/2013 Annual Plan process residents were able to make submissions on the proposal to repair or replace the Town Hall. The overwhelming majority of submitters to the draft annual plan were in favour of the option to repair the Town Hall to 100 per cent of New Building Standard.

Performers, Event Promoters

The key users of a civic and event facility include the performers, event management groups and community groups/schools/etc. who will hire the various spaces.

A consultation report with key stakeholders was prepared in November 2014 as part of the Christchurch Town Hall Operational Business Case. Several key stakeholders were consulted as part of this process, seven music groups including the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and several event promoters including the Jazz Festival & Buskers Festival Body Festival and South Island Dance Network.

As a result of this consultation process key themes emerged about the user needs:

  • An accessible building and spaces with good movement
  • Flexibility of spaces to allow for multiple uses and create user experience
  • Supporting and hosting spaces
  • Catering facilities to offer food and beverage
  • Storage

Other stakeholders

Local and Central Government

The Council has shown its commitment to the Performing Arts Precinct and to the Town Hall by committing $157.5 million to the projects.

Tourists and out of town visitors

A civic and event facility will act as a key destination for tourists and out of town visitors. Events hosted at a performance venue provide a focal point for a reason to visit Christchurch.


The opening of a civic and event facility in the central city will bring in new events and performances to the CBD which will rejuvenate the surrounding area, in particular bars and restaurants providing entertainment spaces pre and post events.

Community, cultural and special interest groups

The fate of the Town Hall has been largely debated over since its closure in 2011. Strong support for its restoration in at least some form was promoted by Heritage Management Group and the original architects Warren and Mahoney.


Critical success factors

  • A Town Hall facility that works in conjunction with the Performing Arts Precinct and Convention Centre.
  • Within Christchurch City Council budget of $127.5 million.
  • Completion of a ‘fit for purpose’ Town Hall facility by 2018.
  • Retention of the existing quality and cultural significance.

The Design - Restoration and rebuild

Key design aspects to meet baseline requirements are:

  • An accessible building and spaces with good movement
  • Flexibility of spaces to allow for multiple uses and create user experience
  • Supporting and hosting spaces
  • Catering facilities to offer food and beverage
  • Storage


Warren and Mahoney

Warren and Mahoney is an insight led multidisciplinary architectural practice with five locations functioning as a single office. Our clients and projects span New Zealand and the Pacific Rim. The practice has over 200 people, comprising of specialists working across the disciplines of Architecture, Workplace, Master planning, Urban Design and Sustainable Design. We draw from the wider group for skills and experience on every project, regardless of the location.

Warren and Mahoney is embedded in New Zealand’s architectural culture. We have created iconic designs with visionary design leaders. Our founders, Sir Miles Warren and Maurice Mahoney have been recognised as driving forces in introducing Architectural Modernism to New Zealand. Our philosophy is the ongoing pursuit of professional excellence; to improve the vitality of human interaction through built form.

Being the only third generation architectural practice in New Zealand – Warren and Mahoney have evolved from a generalist firm into a multidisciplinary design practice offering architectural, interior, graphic, urban and environmentally sustainable design services.

Founded in 1955 by Sir Miles Warren in Christchurch, the partnership went on to design buildings that are now regarded as the benchmark of New Zealand Modernism.


Requirements in line with Christchurch City Council resolutions.

A venue that provides for the performing arts and civic needs of the city.

The design of a modern fit-for-purpose venue to compete in the market for the foreseeable future, while maintaining heritage and character of the Town Hall.

Modern fit-for-purpose venue to meet expectations of a $127.5 million restoration from users including patrons, performers and public.

Flexible spaces that have the ability to be offered to the market at competitive pricing.

Modern multi-functional spaces to create sense of occasion with good bars and catering, comfortable crush space and venues to attract and maintain “high end” events.