The people of Christchurch can now see how Victoria Square will be restored with Ōtākaro Limited today releasing the developed design.
The restoration plan retains Victoria Square’s much-loved park-like character and heritage monuments, the Queen Victoria and Captain Cook statues and the floral clock. The illuminated Bowker Fountain will be restored.
The site’s significance to Ngāi Tahu will also be recognised through a new artwork which will pay tribute to Ngāi Tahu Treaty of Waitangi signatories and mana whenua cultural values of the area. The low wall which sits behind Queen Victoria statue will be etched with an integrated artwork complimenting the principal of partnership through botanical motif.
A new punt stop opposite the Town Hall will be created that will also provide shade on the river’s edge to support aquatic species. The name gifted to the punt stop by Ngāi Tūāhuriri is referred to as Tauranga Waka.
“The designs released today show people will still be able to enjoy the sense of space within Victoria Square and access the Ōtākaro/Avon River, while benefiting from enhancements to this important civic asset that will make it safer and more accessible,” says Ōtākaro’s Chief Executive, Albert Brantley.
Given their age (25+ years), the materials used, and the effects of the Canterbury
earthquakes, paved surfaces throughout the square are not in good condition, resulting in trip hazards, ponding areas and uneven ground. With restoration in mind, the design team have gone back to drawings produced in the 1980s, and will be reinstating the look and feel that there is now with an additional layer which celebrates the City’s bi-cultural heritage. Materials used will compliment Victoria Square’s place within the wider Te Papa Ōtākaro/Avon River Precinct.
This project has been driven and informed by public participation and feedback in collaboration with strategic project partners the Christchurch City Council, Matapopore on behalf of Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ōtākaro Limited. The developed design has been closely reviewed by an Independent Reference Group made up of heritage, local business, tourism, accessibility and youth organisations alongside Ngāi Tūāhuriri and representatives from the team that developed the square during the 1980s.
“The consultation process showed a clear desire for Victoria Square to remain largely as it is now and has seen the redevelopment of our treasured space become the Restoration Plan that we see today. We're looking forward to enjoying Victoria Square again, Vanilla Ice in hand, once the work is completed,” says Independent Reference Group chair Sara Templeton.
The $6million restoration of Victoria Square is being funded by the Crown and delivered by Ōtākaro Limited. Work will begin this summer.