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Avon River / Te Papa Ōtākaro Arts Trail
Christchurch / Ōtautahi, Aotearoa, New Zealand

Christchurch Earthquake recovery Authority & Christchurch Central Development Unit

Project Team
Landscape Architect / Urban Design :  Wraight + Associates Ltd
Public Art Director :  Deborah McCormick
Stakeholder engagement & communications :  Sacha McMeeking
Public Art Curator : Lara Strongman
Artist Consultant + Ngāi tahu artist’s liaison : Ross Hemera

Project Summary
The Art Trail is a public art legacy project in the Christchurch rebuild that complements the suite of art initiatives in the city and is being developed in partnership with the Avon River Precinct anchor project. Wraight + Associates and SCAPE Public Art co-led the team, whose role was visionary, strategic, and curatorial, extending to funding and implementation strategies. The project had a continual focus on the meaningful inclusion of Ngāi Tahu’s interests and desires for Te Papa Ōtākaro and the art network.

A number of new, and some existing, significant works from local, national and international artists will be sited along the Avon/Ōtākaro River, creating, not so much a sculpture walk, but a cultural walk interpreting the stories of the river and its place at the heart of Christchurch / Ōtautahi. The works will draw upon the unique histories and features of the river, cultural, social, geographical, ecological, musical, literary, political and beyond, to be a catalyst in the re-emergence of Christchurch’s distinctive identity. The works are integrated with the landscape and curated to enable multiple interpretations and layered meaning within the public space environment.

The Avon River/Te Papa Ōtākaro – Art Trail Delivery: Vision, Concept and Strategy was completed for CERA in March 2014. This Vision, Concept and Strategy is now the guiding document for CERA in the delivery of the Art Trail going forward. The concept development involved exploratory discussions with stakeholders and research into the stories and characteristics of the river to form the vision for the trail as well as identifying the narratives and potential sites that works could engage with. Subsequent stages involve curated commissioning and works of art development processes.