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Christchurch City Council decides to restore extra 5000 seats for Canterbury Multi-Use Arena

Christchurch City Council decides to restore extra 5000 seats for Canterbury Multi-Use Arena
August 13, 2021

Christchurch City Council has reversed its decision to reduce the seating capacity of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena from 30,000 to 25,000 and will now restore the extra 5000 seats – which it advises will impact on the overall cost of the project, adding about $50 million to the previously approved budget of $473 million.

The arena will be able to host up to 41,000 people for concerts. As previously agreed, the arena will be designed with a level 1 concourse and a stage at the northern end, which reduces the risk of turf damage from concerts and festivals.

Last month, with facing rising costs for the new Canterbury Multi-Use Arena, Christchurch City Council approved a new design direction for the venue that would reduce its capacity from 30,000 to 25,000 seats. Councillors and senior staff agreed the design change to the venue after it was publicly revealed the original preferred concept, which could have up to 30,000 seats, would have been over budget by up to $131.4 million.

Council will now seek to limit the impact of the cost increase on Christchurch and Banks Peninsula ratepayers by pursuing other funding strategies and commercial opportunities.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel notes “the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena will be an amazing regional asset. It will be a venue that people from all across New Zealand will want to visit because it will offer a great visitor experience and the opportunity to see the best performers, the best entertainers, and the best sports teams in action.

“From the outset we have been determined to build a great arena for our region. It is time to put the debate over the capacity of the arena to rest and get on with the job of building it.

“The post-COVID environment is causing challenges for all construction projects, with rising freight and material costs resulting in price escalations. It will be April or May next year before we have certainty on the arena costs.”

Mayor Dalziel added “we have a high calibre team of local and international experts led by Australian-based stadium BESIX Watpac and the Kōtui consortium working on this project. I have complete confidence they will deliver us an arena of which we will all be proud.

“They will go away now and work on the preliminary design plans for the arena. We hope to be able to share these with people by the end of the year.

“The arena is the final anchor project of the post-earthquake blueprint. It will offer an unparalleled experience in the heart of our region – the undeniable sporting capital of New Zealand.’’

For more information and updates on the CMUA, visit

Image top: Canterbury Multi-Use Arena and image above: cross-section giving an indication of the size and scale of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena. Courtesy


Related Articles

23rd July 2021 - Christchurch City Council backs smaller capacity for new stadium

21st July 2021 - Christchurch City Council to vote on design direction for Canterbury Multi-Use Arena

2nd July 2021 - Final property secured to enable development of Christchurch’s $473 million covered stadium

10th June 2021 - Canterbury Multi-Use Arena noise management rules ready for Ministerial approval

30th March 2021 - Australian-led consortium to build Christchurch’s multi-use arena

5th October 2020 - $473 million joint funding agreement agreed for new Christchurch multi-use arena

22nd July 2020 - Construction of new Christchurch multi-use arena set to start next year

26th October 2018 - Government gives financial approval for new Christchurch multi-use arena

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