Christchurch History, Arts & Culture

We could tell you to go explore Christchurch's cultural side, but we don't have to. The city is alive with street art, galleries and a rich heritage, so come to the Garden City and see what you discover.

Don't even bother trying to define Christchurch's arts scene. You won't find the perfect word to sum up its eclectic genre-bashing art, mishmash of architecture and varied museums, theatres and galleries. Maori heritage is celebrated, as is the British influence on architecture. And there's something so powerfully...New Zealand...bringing it all together.

Funky street art, ancient buildings awaiting post-earthquake restorations, dazzling modern buildings and edge-of-your-seat theatrical productions just scratch the surface. Take a walk and just see what you can see or create an action-packed cultural itinerary that will drop you on the doorstep of the most impressive arts and culture in Christchurch. Here are some tips:

Image: ChristchurchNZ


  • After the ancient Christchurch Cathedral was destroyed by earthquakes, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban created a transitional cardboard cathedral. Visit both for a poignant and powerful contrast.
  • When an elegant, 135-year-old Gothic building is filled with boutique shops and delightful food outlets you get the magnificent Arts Centre. Don't miss the stained-glass memorial window dedicated to World War I in the Great Hall.
  • Take a ride into the past on one of Christchurch's historic trams. Hop on, hop off, listen to the driver's commentary and see the sights in vintage style.

Image: ChristchurchNZ

Street Art & Restoration

  • Christchurch is upping its cool factor by decorating the city with intricate, enormous and downright jaw-dropping works of street art. You can't miss them.
  • The city's long heritage is celebrated in its street art, with everything from sport to nature, Maori culture, and powerful messages of post-earthquake strength and rebirth.
  • Grassroots, civic and private art projects are erupting as we speak. Wander on foot and discover wow-worthy sculptures, statues and installations.

Image: ChristchurchNZ

Theatres, Galleries and Museums

  • Watch classics, comedies or sing-along musicals in the century-old Isaac Theatre Royal, a rare Edwardian-style theatre.
  • Love art? Then don't miss the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, where you'll ferret out everything from classics to modern pieces.
  • Get enlightened at the 150-year-old Canterbury Museum, where the world's largest collections of Moa bones and Antarctic memorabilia have a home.

Created in partnership with ChristchurchNZ