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Victoria Square restoration

Heritage remains strong in restoration of iconic space

The Christchurch earthquakes left Victoria Square, an important central city green space, in poor condition, unable to meet the current and future needs of the community and visitors.

As lead designers for the project, our landscape architects worked on a restoration plan with Otākaro Limited, the company responsible for delivering Crown-led anchor projects in the Christchurch rebuild. The upgraded square needed to retain the treasured qualities and character of this key public space whilst still allowing for improvements and access to the adjacent Otākaro Avon River.

Heritage features remain in their existing locations, preserving connections to the past. These include the Queen Victoria and Captain Cook statues, the floral clock and the Bowker Fountain, Australasia’s first fountain to be illuminated by electricity, which was fully restored. The square’s flowing, soft, green character is a counterpoint to that of the more urban Cathedral Square, and this defining characteristic is celebrated through the restoration plan.

The design was developed in consultation with a community reference group and Matapopore and includes a series of new artworks reflecting the importance of the site to Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga and the ongoing relationship between Crown and Iwi. Public feedback helped inform the plan, with input from local business, tourism, accessibility and youth groups.

Restoration works include the installation of high quality paving and seating walls, site furniture and lighting improvements. Construction of a punt stop/Tauranga waka, provides a landing point for ever-popular punting activity on the Otākaro Avon River, and encourages private vessels to use the waterway once again. Restoration works provide a safer and more accessible environment, setting this much-loved green space in good stead to continue serving the people of Christchurch for decades to come.

Our role

Landscape architecture, Developed design, Detailed design, Concept design, Construction monitoring, Engagement

The facts

ClientOtākaro Limited
Project teamNik Kneale
Sally Bishop
Worked with

Beca, ECubed, Ian Bowman, H2O Engineering

Project date2015 - ongoing
AwardsFinalist - Ngā Aho Award | 2019 Best of Awards - Designer's Institute of New Zealand (DINZ)