The Arts Centre

Te Matatiki Toi Ora
  • The Arts Centre Trust
Project Leads
  • Canterbury – West Coast

The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora restoration programme, which commenced following the 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes, is the largest of its type in the world. The entire site is listed as Category 1 on the Heritage New Zealand Historic Places Register and for the past ten years, RCP has been providing broad advisory, programme, and project management expertise for the rebuild and commercialisation of what is one of New Zealand’s most significant clusters of heritage buildings.

RCP was initially brought on board in 2013, mid-way through Stage 1 of the restoration programme, to provide strategic advice and project management across the entire programme of works. The large $290M restoration programme focused on immaculately restoring the heritage features of these unique Gothic Revival buildings, while also fitting them out with the latest modern infrastructure. The seismic upgrade and reinvention of twenty-four large masonry buildings is globally recognised as ground-breaking and is recognised by multiple national and international structural and heritage awards – including the prestigious UNESCO Asia Pacific award for Block C in 2017.

RCP also provided advisory services to support the vision of not only preserving the heritage buildings but also ensuring they met feasibility and business case requirements. It was critical that tenant typologies aligned with the purpose of the precinct, while also providing a sustainable financial platform which enabled the core objective of promoting the arts.

This work included the innovative business case process for a boutique 33-room hotel that would both serve and be served by the centre’s galleries, a theatre, museums, and retailers. RCP led the end-to-end selection of the hotel operator and coordinated their inputs during design development. Having successfully delivered on the business case, the hotel is now successfully operating and complements the precinct with renewed vibrancy.

A key element of the project’s success was RCP’s introduction of the NEC4 contract framework for Stage Two of the restoration programme. This contract promoted collaboration between multiple stakeholders and was best suited to managing the unique practical and commercial challenges of the project. The recommendation to make a shift in the procurement approach was in response to lessons learned from the previous stage and was a significant shift for the project team. This use of the NEC4 contract suite was a New Zealand first.

Through RCP’s commercial and management acumen, and their ability to work closely with the Trust Board, CEO, and project teams, Te Matatiki Toi Ora has become a thriving arts centre for the region and the newly protected heritage buildings will continue serving the Canterbury region for years.

"It probably hasn’t sunk in yet what we’ve achieved, but those buildings held a legacy before all of us arrived and will now have a legacy long into the future. It was a privilege to be part of this project.”

- Ben Harland, RCP Project Director