Christchurch Town Hall makes public comeback

The building has been off-limits to the public for eight years but today the doors were thrown open and people invited to look around its beautifully restored spaces.

In scenes reminiscent of when the Warren & Mahoney designed Town Hall first opened its doors in 1972, hundreds queued patiently along Kilmore Street as they waited for their opportunity to see inside.

In a speech ahead of official ribbon cutting, Mayor Lianne Dalziel spoke of the Town Hall's history and of the significant work that had been done inside, and underneath, the building over the past three years.

"The result is a building that retains all its original character and style, but is stronger and better equipped to again play its role at the heart of our civic and cultural life - citizenship ceremonies, graduations, fundraising balls, conferences and, of course, concerts.''

Hon. Lianne Dalziel, Mayor of Christchurch

"Today the memories will flood back, I can assure you, as you come through the doors to the foyer, enter the magnificent Douglas Lilburn Auditorium, see the Avon, Victoria and Limes Rooms, gaze at the very 70s Pat Hanly mural and visit the James Hay Theatre, which is not yet completed, but you'll get a taste of what's to come.''

The Mayor was then joined on stage by Sir Miles Warren, one of the original architects of the Town Hall, and Sir Harold Marshall, who designed the accoustics, for the ribbon cutting. The other original architect of the building, Maurice Mahoney, sadly died before the earthquake repairs to the Town Hall could be completed, but two of his great-grandchildren, Gus and Connor Jensen, also helped with the ribbon cutting.

Then, as members of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra played a fanfare, the building was officially declared reopen.

For those who campaigned for the Christchurch Town Hall’s restoration, today’s reopening is an exciting event they have waited years for.

“The restoration has been carried out with great attention to detail and the look and feel of the building has been preserved; the Hanly mural looks stunning now that it is back in place and once again bringing vibrancy and colour to the main foyer spaces."

Dr Ian Lochhead, Professor, University of Canterbury