© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

More than just books

Tūranga, the new central library, has opened its doors to Christchurch.



outside central library
Outside the new Central Library Christchurch City Council

The $92 million building on the edge of Cathedral Square marks the return of a central library to Christchurch after the earthquakes.

Thousands of people poured through the doors of Christchurch's newly opened space on Friday. The Christchurch City Council expects an average of 3000 people to use the library each day.

Over five floors, the library features new technology, from a studio for media, music, video film-making, 3D printing, laser, vinyl cutting, and robotics, around which the library's specialist staff will offer education programmes.

The library's opening was "an incredible milestone in the regeneration of the city." Mayor Lianne Dalziel said.

Controversy was raised over a $1.245 million touchscreen wall, which "was worth it", Dalziel said, and will be beneficial to the people who use it. The Mayor said the interactive wall allows people to explore the past and the future of Christchurch and send themselves postcards.

New $1.2 million smartwall Christchurch City Council

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.

“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," Carolyn Robertson, Head of Libraries and Information, said.  "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." Tūranga provides a new civic, social and cultural heart for the center of Christchurch, which is open for all to experience and enjoy. 

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," Dalziel said.

New Zealand company Architectus designed Tūranga in association with Danish library design experts Schmidt Hammer Lassen who have received more than 150 awards for their work. The building's façade was inspired by the warm colours of the Port Hills and native harakeke flax fronds, with many pieces of art inspired with help from the Matapopore Charitable Trust.

• Opening celebrations at Tūranga included tours across the weekend- 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.