It's been a while since we have done a wander around Christchurch city to see what has been rebuilt, restored, re-opened or is simply completely new.
If you haven't visited Christchurch in the last 12 months, you will be surprised at the amount of activity that has been going on - and the projects now opening up.
Bridge of Remembrance, Cashel Street and Avon River Precinct
This iconic landmark was being earthquake strengthened and restored, and was completed in time for ANZAC Day this year. Scaffolding removed, the Bridge of Remembrance once again provides an elegant reminder of those who served in war.
Arts Centre Great Hall
Just last weekend, the amazing restoration of the Great Hall at the Arts Centre was officially completed with the public re-opening. Not only has the restoration incorporated some wonderful additions including heating, it also means that the city receives back a much needed performance and event venue.
Christchurch Bus Exchange
The bus stop right outside the Park on Cranford Street will take you right into one of the new city landmarks and another of the completed anchor projects - the city Bus Exchange. Taking up a full city block, buses drive directly in and back out of their parking spots. Travellers can wait under shelter for their bus to arrive, and pick up food and drink from the businesses housed in the Exchange building.
The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts
This beautiful brand new building located at the rear of the Isaac Theatre Royal, is the second element of the Performing Arts Precinct in the city to be completed. Due to open in for its first concerts in August 2016, this will be a venue for a range of performing arts and the city's young music students. The Piano includes a raked 330-seat, raised-stage auditorium, with acoustics designed to enhance presentation of music performance to the fullest. The auditorium will be used for large and small performances, drama, dance and music productions, recordings, festivals, lectures and workshops. The stage will accommodate a choir of up to 120, an orchestra of 60-70 or a dance group of 30-40.
Margaret Mahy Playground
Very few visitors to the city with children haven't heard of the stunning Margaret Mahy Playground, but it really needs to be included here as one of the first post-quake "anchor projects" to be completed. Although the playground was officially opened in summer 2016, developments have continued with new play equipment being installed recently. The Christchurch City Council have also responded positively to requests for more activities suited to children with disabilities, and these are in the process of being added.
Environment Canterbury, Kathmandu and Vodafone buildings
Some of the other new office buildings now complete in the CBD are the new Environment Canterbury (ECan) building in Tuam Street, and across Manchester St a little further down in the Innovation Precinct, the newly opened Kathmandu and Vodafone buildings. All three bring a new population of office workers back into the city, helping to keep the already established hospitality businesses at Strange's Lane, Dux Central, Brick Farm/Smash Palace and C1 nice and busy.
BNZ Centre, Hereford Street
The new BNZ Centre was one of the first new retail and office buildings inside the CBD to be completed, and is now home to a number of Government departments, who have relocated from their scattered sites around the city. New retail and hospitality outlets are opening on the ground floor, including the city's well known bookshop Scorpio Books. This building is sited across the road from what is gradually becoming the new city Library building, and surrounded by further retail and office buildings along Colombo and High Streets.
The Terraces Steps, Avon River Precinct
Officially opened in June, these wide steps on the banks of the River Avon are part of the Avon River Precinct project, and designed to provide a perfect spot to rest and relax - especially as we head towards the warmer months. Close to Cashel Mall, ReStart and the retail and hospitality outlets of The Terrace, this will be a pleasant area to stop and enjoy watching the watery wildlife - as well as the locals and tourists wandering by. If you are poetically inclined, the steps also carry the poetry of Apirana Taylor. Taylor's poem forms one of 15 literary sculptures that will be built along different parts of the precinct. There will also be stone-paved blocks designed by Ngai Tahu weaving artists, of which two are finished.
Justice and Emergency Services Precinct
Due for completion in 2017, this complex of buildings is one of the larger projects in the CBD. Now at the stage where windows are being installed, this complex will house the Ministry of Justice; New Zealand Police; Department of Corrections; New Zealand Fire Service; St John New Zealand; Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management; Canterbury Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group and Christchurch City Council - Civil Defence and Emergency Management. Once completed, the 2,000 staff working in the three buildings will provide a significant injection of business for nearby retailers and help boost the revival of the central city.
The Tram circuit
Although the Christchurch Tram has been up and running for some time, the shakes on February 14 did some damage to the few buildings in New Regent Street that had not been repaired and re-opened. Unfortunately that meant the tram couldn't tavel down New Regent Street until those buildings were made safe again, which impacted on the businesses in the street. Completion of repairs means that the tram is now back running it's full circuit and visitors and locals alike are able to fully enjoy the unique character of the street and the nearby Isaac Theatre Royal.
Alice Deluxe Cinemas, The Tannery
We've been waiting for this one for a while, but the new movie theatre complex in the Tannery, Woolston is a recent addition to entertainment options on the Eastern side of the city. The complex has two boutique cinemas, one with 32 seats and a larger 54 seat cinema with huge picture and sound. Both cinemas are fully digital, screening the latest hand picked blockbusters and art house titles. A diverse selection of movies is on show, and you can even hire the venue and show your own content if you prefer.