12 Oct 2018

Tūranga, our new central library, has opened its doors and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the landmark building is a “game changer” for the central city.

Mayor Dalziel says the $92 million five-level centre on the edge of Cathedral Square marks the return of Christchurch’s cultural and community heart.

She describes her vivid memories of visiting the old city library as a child.

"Tūranga will create a new set of memories for a new generation in a way I would never have dreamed as a child. It is much more than a library and I think it’s going to transform the central city.

“It’s a massive game changer in terms of giving people of all ages and interests a reason to come into the centre of town and giving them an inspirational place to meet, learn, create and discover,’’ the Mayor says.

“It is jam packed with new experiences, technology and knowledge and I hope it will excite children into dreaming about their future and the part they can play in shaping our city and our world."

The Mayor says Tūranga has been designed by and for the people of Christchurch.

“Nearly 2500 public ideas helped the designers develop the final plan, and many of those have now come to life inside the building. I’m confident that every visitor is going to feel very proud of their new central library."

As well as housing more than 180,000 items, Tūranga holds a suite of technology features including New Zealand’s largest digital touch-screen, the Discovery Wall, on the ground floor which allows users to swipe through a virtual world of photos, videos and information.

There is also a music studio, video editing suite, 3D printing, robotics, exhibition spaces, a conference room, café, TSB Space community arena and a children's play area.

Tūranga, the largest and most modern library in the South Island, is expected to attract more than 3000 people each day.

Carolyn Robertson, the Council’s Head of Libraries and Information, says Tūranga is world class and will allow everyone to participate in the changing world.

“Out of disaster and adversity an opportunity has been created for our city to reimagine its central city library for today and for future generations. Tūranga provides a new civic, social and cultural heart for the centre of Christchurch which is open for all to experience and enjoy.

"There is something here for everyone, whether you are a child or an adult, a local or a visitor, a regular user, or someone who hasn't set foot inside a library for years."

Christchurch’s former central library was demolished after being damaged in the February 2011 earthquake. It was the largest and busiest library in the South Island with nearly one million visitors each year.

Its replacement was designed by New Zealand company Architectus in association with Danish library design experts schmidt hammer lassen who have received more than 150 awards for their work.

Tūranga’s striking façade was inspired by the warm colours of the Port Hills and native harakeke flax fronds.

Ms Robertson thanked other partners involved in Tūranga, including Southbase Construction, TSB, Spark and the Matapopore Charitable Trust.

Check out Tūranga

  • Opening celebrations at Tūranga include tours today, tomorrow and Sunday - either a full 45-minute tour through all five floors or a shorter 15-minute tour covering just the ground and first floors. Access to the building is via Cathedral Square. Last entry to complete the tour today is 7pm and on Saturday and Sunday 4pm.
  • The Breeze and More FM are providing giveaways and entertainment today and Saturday. There will be food trucks on site or visitors can enjoy The Foundation cafe inside Tūranga. 
  • Tonight, from 7pm, the architects behind Tūranga will share the story of the library’s design, then on Saturday, from 3pm, award-winning author Gareth Ward will present a talk about his life. Both events will be held in the TSB Space on the Hapori (Community) Floor, Level 1. 
  • For updates on opening events check the Council's Facebook page(external link). Travel info is available on the Council’s events webpage.(external link)