Canterbury Multi-Use Arena capacity increase


Christchurch arena with 30000 seats approved Image: Christchurch City Council

The Christchurch City Council (New Zealand) has voted to restore the seating capacity of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena to 30,000.

The ‘Christchurch City Council’ stated that the arena will be able to host up to 41,000 people for concerts.

The Canterbury Multi-Use Arena (CMUA) is a multiuse sports arena to be built on land bordered by Hereford, Madras, Tuam, and Barbadoes streets. The Multi-Use Arena is designed as a replacement for Lancaster Park which was damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake and subsequently demolished in 2019. The stadium was designed as part of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan in 2012 by the then Fifth National Government of New Zealand.

The Canterbury Multi-Use Arena is scheduled to open by the end of 2024. From football World Cup qualifiers to big concerts and events, the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena will be able to host them all.

The ‘Christchurch City Council’ further stated that the decision to restore the extra 5,000 seats will impact on the overall cost of the project, adding about $50 million to the previously approved budget of $473 million.

However, the Council will seek to limit the impact of the cost increase on Christchurch and Banks Peninsula ratepayers by pursuing other funding strategies and commercial opportunities.

Observed Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, “The Canterbury Multi-Use Arena will be an amazing regional asset. It will be a venue that people from all across New Zealand will want to visit because it will offer a great visitor experience and the opportunity to see the best performers, the best entertainers and the best sports teams in action. From the outset we have been determined to build a great arena for our region. It is time to put the debate over the capacity of the arena to rest and get on with the job of building it.”

Added Mayor Dalziel, “The post-COVID environment is causing challenges for all construction projects, with rising freight and material costs resulting in price escalations. It will be April or May next year before we have certainty on the arena costs. We have a high caliber team of local and international experts led by Australian-based stadium BESIX Watpac and the Kōtui consortium working on this project. I have complete confidence they will deliver us an arena of which we will all be proud. They will go away now and work on the preliminary design plans for the arena. We hope to be able to share these with people by the end of the year.”

As previously agreed, the arena will be designed with a Level 1 concourse and a stage at the Northern end, which reduces the risk of turf damage from concerts and festivals.

Mayor Dalziel concluded, “The arena is the final anchor project of the post-earthquake blueprint. It will offer an unparalleled experience in the heart of our region – the undeniable sporting capital of New Zealand.”

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