A series of earthquakes from September 2010 to January 2012 caused extensive damage to the city of Christchurch and the greater Canterbury region in New Zealand, with 185 lives being lost. Numerous landmark buildings were badly damaged, over 100 buildings in the Central Business District were demolished, and many others were left in a derelict state. The aftermath of the earthquakes spurred a rapid recovery strategy to restore and revitalize the city through rebuilding, organizing land use and developing the residential sector.
The Christchurch recovery programme encompassed numerous sectors of activity, institutions and activities. The heritage and cultural-based recovery strategy included three principal programmes: the Heritage Recovery Programme, the Arts and Culture Recovery Programme and the Sport and Recreation Recovery Programme. The efforts were financed by the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust launched in 2011, with NZ$20 million (US$14 million) allocated to heritage and culture projects. One of the most notable challenges was retaining heritage buildings as a resource and part of the city’s identity confronted with the need for rapid and wider earthquake recovery within available funding restrictions.
The recovery strategy placed heritage and cultural revitalization at the core of redevelopment, devising a plan with an integrated, all-encompassing vision. The Heritage Recovery Strategy covered land-based heritage, such as buildings whose historic value was recognized through inscription on the New Zealand Heritage List, historic areas, archaeological sites, heritage spaces and landscapes such as public squares, and places of cultural significance to the Ngāi Tahu. The Arts and Culture Recovery Programme, linked to the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, addressed the revitalization of cultural industries as important components of urban life. The strategy focused on restoring and enhancing broad participation in arts and cultural activities, recovering infrastructure for cultural activities, strengthening the contribution of arts, culture and heritage to the revitalization and healing process of the city, and commemorating the lives lost during the earthquakes.
Source: WHITR-AP, report for Study Area 6