Christchurch Art Gallery returns after nearly five years closed

Earthquake-damaged Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu will reopen to visitors on December 19. 

The gallery will celebrate with a weekend of exhibitions and artist projects, musical performances, films, family activities, talks and tours. 

There will be a pop-up shop, food trucks and on Saturday evening a cash bar and DJ until 10pm. 

Christchurch Art Gallery director Jenny Harper is delighted.

“Gallery staff and their families will be there to greet our visitors on their way in for the first time in almost five years,” she says. 

“Our team has put together an exciting selection of exhibitions, and we want to show our visitors what an exceptional art collection this city has.” 

The gallery will be installing artworks upstairs, downstairs, in the foyer and on the roof. 

Visitors will be able to view old favourites, as well as a selection of the 500 new pieces the gallery has acquired since it closed. 

Highlights on show at opening include Bill Culbert’s spectacular Bebop ‘chandelier’ of chairs and fluorescent lights from the Venice Biennale and Christchurch’s favourite bronze bull Chapman’s Homer by Michael Parekowhai. 

Christchurch Art Gallery is now one of the safest and most earthquake-resistant galleries in the world.

Since closing in February 2011, the building has undergone a $59.2 million repair programme of re-levelling and strengthening. 

Built in 2003, the building had minor damage from the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. 

However, areas of ground beneath the 33,000 tonne building liquefied and resettled unevenly, requiring a significant programme of repairs.

Phase one of the programme was to re-level the structure. Piles were formed under the foundations and filled with grout, slowly raising the building up. 

In April 2014 base-isolation work began. Large bearings were installed between the building and its foundations, effectively allowing the building to float on its foundations in the event of an earthquake, significantly reducing the seismic stress on the building and its contents. The final stage included repairs to essential services, the iconic glass façade and the interior.

Use MyNBR Tags to track people and companies and receive key-word email alerts. Find out how here.