Te Papa Ōtākaro – Avon River Park Te Papa Ōtākaro – Avon River Park Te Papa Ōtākaro – Avon River Park Te Papa Ōtākaro – Avon River Park Te Papa Ōtākaro – Avon River Park

Te Papa Ōtākaro – Avon River Park

New city waterfront along the Ōtākaro/Avon River corridor provides greater public access

This project represents the largest ever public realm transformation undertaken in New Zealand, which has included the transformation of 1.5 km of the Avon River/Otakaro between the Christchurch Hospital  and Manchester Street; a total area of approximately 4.8 hectares.

The Avon River Precinct / Te Papa Ōtākaro is the first of seventeen anchor projects in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan to be taken through design completion and commencement of construction. The project
includes repurposing the river frontage, new shared space streets and cycle network, large public open spaces, residential housing and the Margaret Mahy Family Playground.

Boffa Miskell was engaged in 2013 to provide project-wide design leadership services, in collaboration with project partners.

The revitalised Avon River area sets a new benchmark for future public realm projects in the central city. Four themes resonate across the central city that also informed unique design outcomes for the site:

  • a healthy place – a healthy river;
  • a distinctive place – weaving cultures together;
  • an accessible place – safe and easy movement;
  • a prosperous place – more activity for more people.

Through collaboration with CERA, Christchurch City Council and Ngai Tahu,
and working alongside the wider project team, Boffa Miskell landscape architects helped deliver quality design outcomes to budget in a challenging, fast-paced and ever-changing environment.

The project was recognised with the 2019 George Malcolm Award, the highest honour presented by Tuia Pito Ora/NZILA. The judge’s citation noted:

“Te Papa Ōtākaro is not only the largest public realm project undertaken in Aotearoa New Zealand, it has also involved many landscape architecture practices and other collaborators, working within the complex context of the re-building of Christchurch.

The considerable challenges included shifting governance structures, massive disruption of infrastructure, and even the difficulties being experienced within the professional and personal lives of those involved in designing the Park – as the earthquakes and their consequences continued to challenge life in the city. Despite all of the challenges, Te Papa Ōtākaro has emerged as a significant and transformative urban landscape, maximising the opportunity provided by the earthquakes, to develop an exemplary interweaving of urban edge and river.

 The project demonstrates an holistic approach to landscape architecture, drawing in many voices, skills, and knowledge, and creating something of great value to the city of Christchurch.

Te Papa Ōtākaro’s scale, collaborative process, cultural and ecological transformation, hard and soft landscape quality, and spatial qualities, are recognised in the award of supreme excellence, the George Malcolm Award.”

Our role

Landscape architecture

The facts

ClientCERA as a sub-consultant to Opus
Project teamJohn Potter
Mark Brown
Worked with




Matapopore Charitable Trust
Park Central
EOS Ecology
Royal and Associates

Project date2013 - 2014
AwardsGeorge Malcolm Supreme Award
NZILA Resene Pride of Place Landscape Architecture Awards