Owned and operated by Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, the i-SITE is expected to attract 300,000 visitors each year.
The i-SITE and DoC, in collaboration with the Canterbury Museum and local iwi, have been loaned a stunning pounamu touchstone that greets visitors at the entrance to the Visitor Information Centre.
Treasured, valuable and with spiritual significance, the pounamu (greenstone) has long been used by Māori to denote status and authority, for adornment, and for making peace.
Visitors are invited to touch the natural pounamu stone that sits atop a specially designed stand, made from a Totara tree that was unearthed during foundation work excavation at the ANZ building following the Canterbury earthquakes.
A tourist destination
Arts Centre Chief Executive André Lovatt says the i-SITE is a natural fit for Worcester Boulevard given its proximity to numerous tourist destinations, including Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Art Gallery and the Botanic Gardens.
“Attracting locals to the site remains our primary focus but, given our location, it’s ideal to have the city’s official i-SITE here. It will generate an enormous amount of foot traffic for the Arts Centre, and help to make Boys’ High a great opportunity for other specialty retail tenants.”
The Arts Centre is currently seeking proposals for other available spaces within the heritage-listed, two storey Boys’ High building. The focus of the building is creative industries that have a specialty retail focus, such as fashion, locally produced products, food and galleries.
Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism Chief Executive Vic Allen says the i-SITE is the first port of call for many visitors to Christchurch and the South Island.
“Our dynamic new i-SITE promises to give both domestic and international visitors a complete visitor experience, and we are delighted to be working with DOC to offer the combined expertise of the i-SITE and DOC teams in one location,” he says.
“The design of the i-SITE introduces locals and visitors to the city’s diverse landscape and the many layers of cultural values and stories embedded in it.”
Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism has worked with Ngāi Tūāhuriri’s Matapopore Charitable Trust to integrate striking cultural elements in to the design, including a narrative journey depicted in art and signage throughout the centre.