Arts and Recreation Services includes enterprises that produce original artistic works and/or live performances, events or exhibits intended for public viewing. It also includes museums and facilities or services that enable participation in sporting, amusement or recreational activities.

As the gateway city to the South Island, and second-largest city, Christchurch has historically had a significant offering of arts and recreation services. This ranges from galleries and museums to health and fitness centres and sports venues.

Christchurch Quick Facts

  • Contributes approximately $212 million to Christchurch GDP (Infometrics’ Estimate year ended June 2014, $2010)
  • Accounts for around one percent of GDP in Christchurch
  • Around 686 business units are based in Christchurch (2014, Statistics New Zealand)
  • Has around 3,220 employees (2014, Statistics New Zealand)
Arts and Recreation Services Sector Employment Breakdown, 2014
Source: Statistics New Zealand
Sub-sectorEmployee Count% of total
Heritage Activities50016%
Artistic Activities2207%
Sport and Recreation Activities187058%
Gambling Activities62019%

Sector Trends

Earthquake Impacts

The earthquakes had a significant impact on the Arts and Recreation Services sector through both decreased demand as a result of a reduction in tourists and physical damage to premises, many of which were located in the -significantly-damaged central business district. Guest nights are slowly recovering, helping those businesses which are currently open. The re-opening and development of the central-city area should see more tourist and recreation-related establishments begin to reopen or rebuild, but it will be some years before the sector is fully recovered.

Sector Initiatives

Performing Arts Precinct

The Performing Arts Precinct is one of the Anchor Projects proposed for the rebuild of the central city. It will offer facilities for theatre, music, dance and other expressive forms.


A new stadium within the central city to replace the earthquake-damaged AMI Stadium in Waltham is included as an Anchor Project in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan. The stadium’s main purpose will be to host rugby union, rugby league and football to an international level, but it will also provide a venue for concerts and other entertainment. The stadium will have capacity for 35,000 people, including 4,300 demountable seats to allow for staging and scaling of events and room for 4,000 in corporate suites and lounge spaces.

Metro Sports Facility

The Metro Sports Facility is one of the Anchor Projects proposed for the rebuild of the central city. It will be a venue and centre of excellence, accessible to people of all ages, abilities and sporting skills for recreational, educational, or high-performance sport. Its aquatic and indoor facilities will offer a great environment for players and spectators alike, and will scale up to hosting national and international events.

Te Puna Ahurea Cultural Centre

Te Puna Ahurea is one of the Anchor Projects proposed for the rebuild of the central city. The centre will be a unique, vibrant visitor destination that supports central-city recovery through increased cultural activity. It will provide an inspiring and interactive facility to showcase and celebrate Ngāi Tahu, Māori and Polynesian traditions, as well as performing and visual arts.

Cricket Oval

The Christchurch Central Recovery Plan identifies the development of an enhanced cricket oval in Hagley Park as an Anchor Project. It will provide an international test-level venue with facilities that can be used by everyone. The Cricket Oval will provide grass embankments with room for 15,000 people, expanding to 20,000 with temporary seating. It will include training and coaching facilities, a new pavilion with lounge and media amenities, as well as lighting to international broadcast standards.

Arts Centre

All but one of the 23 heritage buildings experienced significant damage in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Due to the scale of the work the rebuild is being split into phases, with different buildings being re-opened at different times. The Registry building was completed in July 2013. A fundraising campaign is underway to meet the difference between cost and insurance payments. In addition, a master plan is being developed to help the Arts Centre become financially sustainable in the future. (Source: Arts Centre 2012 Annual Report).

Christchurch Art Gallery

The Christchurch Art Gallery buildings suffered little damage during the earthquakes, and were used immediately afterwards as Civil Defence headquarters. Liquefaction under the building has,
however, damaged the foundations and made the floors uneven. Repair work includes lifting the building and re-levelling, base isolation and repairs to the façade and interior. Christchurch City Council committed to repairing the Art Gallery to 100 percent of the new Building Code in its 2012 Annual Plan. (Source: The Press, 5/4/13)

Canterbury Museum

Canterbury Museum has reopened since the earthquakes. However, it currently does not meet international museum standards for storing its collections or hosting international exhibitions, and is
at visitor capacity. A business case is being developed to redevelop Canterbury Museum including undertaking earthquake strengthening, upgrading systems, increasing storage capacity and improving the visitor capacity and experience.