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Central City
Beyond Ōtautahi
Within the Four Avenues
“There’s so much happening in the city. It’s a place that makes you feel creative. The street art is world class.”

Central City

Central Christchurch is beginning to emerge like the proverbial phoenix from the earthquake sequence in 2011. The city, while still retaining some amazing heritage spaces, has a contemporary feel – with new venues, majestic heritage spaces, a range of contemporary and traditional galleries, amazing public art installations and a enviable street art culture. There’s so much going on here, and inspiration to be found around every corner.

From Linwood to Sumner – the East is where it's at…
“So much has come out of the East. Music like Flying Nun, Pacific Underground, Scribe. And then there’s the artists and poets – Rita Angus, Denis Glover… the list is too long”


The East of Christchurch is a diverse place. From the inner city suburbs like Linwood and Aranui, out to the beach side communities of New Brighton and Sumner, there’s a rich heritage of creativity that flows through the neighbourhoods. Aranui has been home to some of our most beloved musicians and singers including Ladi6, Scribe, Pacific Underground and Roger Shepherd of Flying Nun. The beach suburbs have also nurtured some of Aotearoa’s most creative souls – Rita Angus, Ramai Haywood, Denis Glover, all lived in, and were inspired by the coastal community. The East is also the birthplace of some of our best known broadcasters including Miriama Kamo, Stacey Morrison, and Mike Hosking. And where would New Zealand literature be without the likes of the late Keri Hulme who was a student at Aranui High.

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Central City
Wider Ōtautahi
From Sydenham to Lyttelton..
“It’s fast becoming the most creative area. The street art in Sydenham, the music scene in Lyttelton, all the artists living and working in the area -it just has a real vibe.”

Spotlight on Sydenham

Gently nudging the central city is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Ōtautahi – Sydenham.

Originally named for a china and crockery shop in the area, Sydenham has had many incarnations over the decades. In 1902, its bustling streets made it the largest borough in New Zealand and in the ensuring decades it was a thriving residential and commercial area. It was in this suburb that the best-selling novel Oracles and Miracles by Steven Eldred-Grigg was set.

In the 80’s and 90’s Sydenham lost a bit of its allure, but it’s now reclaiming its dynamism– as more and more creatives, retail businesses and eateries move into the ‘hood.

Art lovers are well served a range of galleries – Fiksate Gallery’s new home is a light-filled, expansive space. At Chambers Art Gallery, the space is big enough to display several shows at once, and as an added bonus there are working studios for artists on the premises as well. Form Gallery has a range of works from local and national artists including some stunning jewellery. Nearby is digital creative agency, Publica.

Artisan jewellers, Filigree and The National (just across Moorhouse Ave) are also residents in the area and well worth checking out.

The performing arts are also well represented in Sydenham. Southern Ballet is headquartered just across the tracks in Carlyle Street and Movement Art Practice has studios in Hawdon Street. if you want to catch an arthouse movie then The Colombo is home to the Academy Gold Cinema.

If you’re a fan of street art then you will love discovering the many murals in the side streets – some are hidden – but most are in plain sight. You can find works by Jacob Yikes, The DTR Crew with Ikarus and the late sculptor Llew Summers has a bronze in the council park on Colombo Street.