Ōtākaro means ‘a place of play’ and was derived from Māori children who often played on the riverbanks during food-gathering (mahinga kai) times.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries the Ōtākaro Avon River was often used for recreation and boating, while trout-fishing being a popular past-time until fish numbers dwindled due to a decline in their food source and water quality from stormwater and wastewater entering the catchment.
Water quality is a high priority for the Council and we’re concentrating on improving the quality of the Ōtākaro Avon River’s water. Prior to the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, the area was home to thousands of people, communities, businesses and schools.
The earthquakes severely affected the area, with the Government classifying the 602 hectares as a residential red zone. This meant the land had experienced significant and extensive damage, there was uncertainty about the success of any potential engineering solution given ongoing seismic activity, and repairs would be disrupted and protracted for property owners, impacting on their health and wellbeing.
Within the red zone area, the owners of almost 5,500 properties accepted Crown offers to purchase their properties and remove them from the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor.
A legacy for the future
Regenerating the 602-hectare Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a legacy that benefits future generations. Stretching from the city to the sea, the 11km regeneration area contains streets, lawns and gardens that used to make up people’s properties.
The area’s potential is exciting and could provide a range of environmental, social and commercial benefits, as we explore ways to protect homes from the effects of climate change and sea-level rise, and make the Ōtākaro Avon River a healthier place for people and wildlife.
Transforming the area into a valuable asset for Christchurch won’t happen overnight. Given the scale of the Regeneration Area (it’s three-and-a-half times bigger than Hagley Park), and the costs of implementation, we estimate it will take 30-50 years to complete this development.