The series of earthquakes in 2011 changed the fascia and the attitude of New Zealand’s second largest city. Christchurch had its image as the stately most English city in the Southern Hemisphere shaken up overnight.
Typical of the Garden City’s inhabitants though, the healing process began almost immediately, and one of the most striking additions to the city center is a shopping mall with an image all its own. Located on Cashel Street, The Re:START project benefited from over NZ$3 million of funding from the city’s Earthquake Appeal to bring to life a retail complex constructed principally from shipping containers.
Stacked, sliced and modified in a range of different ways, the initial batch of 69 containers have created 22 outlets, home to many of the brands that had their old premises damaged or destroyed by the quakes. Local, national and international retailers sit side by side in unique two-story concept structures decked out just like any other shop.
Christchurch clothing institutions such as Ballantynes and Kathmandu are joined by household names like Samsung, keen to cash in on the street cred surrounding the unique venue. Taste buds are also tantalized by two food courts, offering no less than ten different styles of cuisine, from sushi and souvlaki, to pizza and hot dogs.
If you’re planning to visit Christchurch, take a look at the re:START website for scheduled events and the latest additions to the mall.
Re:START is a testament to the resilience of Christchurch’s vibrant local shopping and dining scene, and may well blaze a trail for other such semi-permanent shopping malls elsewhere.