Accounts of Canterbury’s heritage published before the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes often concentrate upon the richness of its built heritage, particularly Christchurch’s Gothic Revival architecture. The projects contained in the Heritage Recovery Programme reflect a determination to hold on to the region’s rich built heritage by retaining and strengthening heritage buildings, reusing heritage fabric and recording and interpreting ‘lost’ heritage.

At the same time, the projects realise opportunities to better recognise and increase awareness of the depth and breadth of the region’s heritage traditions – particularly, sites associated with early Māori and European settlement. The Heritage Recovery Programme also recognises there are unparalleled opportunities to establish a distinctive city that incorporates new and old architecture in creative ways. In time, some of these new buildings may be regarded as heritage.

The Heritage Recovery Programme helps recognise the value of heritage and its continuing contribution to the economic and cultural vitality of greater Christchurch.

There are significant challenges:

  • considerable damage has occurred
  • the costs of repairing and strengthening heritage buildings can be high
  • there are difficulties securing insurance for heritage buildings
  • the land beneath some heritage buildings is sub-optimal
  • the recovery needs to proceed as quickly as possible.

The overall aim must be to ensure that heritage recovery is an integral part of the recovery of greater Christchurch, not a roadblock to this recovery. 

Updated on 23rd July 2015