In collaboration with:


WIth the support of:



Christchurch's Central City has been severely damaged by a series of earthquakes that began in September 2010.
The Wards Brewery site sits on the fringe of the inner city defined by the four avenues.
The complex of buildings has been a recognizable landmark for the city of Christchurch since its initial construction in 1881. Its unique architecture is described by NZHPT:

“The kilns in particular are superb examples of industrial architecture, their design and ornamentation transcending their functionality. Together with the malt-house, brewing tower and other related structures they comprise the largest and most important group of industrial buildings in Christchurch dating from this era.” “Breweries, with their distinctive towers, often featured prominently in the landscape” “Brewery structures were typically constructed in wood and corrugated iron” The Ward's complex is of considerable importance nationally as a largely intact example of an early brewery, complete with malt-house, malt kilns and brewing tower. It also retains some technological features of the brewing industry.”

The site is characterized by its direct proximity to the Avon River/Otakaro, and in particular to the loop that was once a vital fishing location for local Maori and that become later a prime recreational place as the site of the very popular Boating Club.
Adding to the historical significance of the area, one of the oldest houses of Christchurch is built on an adjacent property.

This proposal is a first step towards re-introducing the importance of the zone containing the Wards Brewery complex, the fishing marker and the river loop as an iconic intersection of the diverse moment in history since the use by men of the site.


a covered passageway with arches along one or both sides, a covered walk with stores along one or both sides
(Origin: late 17th century: from French, from Provencal arcada or Italian arcarta, based on Latin arcus "bow")

a place where beer is made commercially (Origin: mid 17th century: from brew, probably on the pattern of Dutch brouwerij)

Cabbage tree:
any of a number of palm-like trees that resemble a cabbage in some way, in particular: a New Zealand tree grown for its sugary sap or for ornament (Cordyline australis, family Agavaceae). a cabbage palm

Collective memory:
The memory of a group of people, passed from one generation to the next. The collection of memories shared by a common culture, preservation of culture and its celebration

a group or system of different things that are linked in a close or complicated way; a network a group of similar buildings or facilities on the same site
(Origin: mid 17th century (in the sense 'group of related elements'): from Latin complexus, past participle (used as a noun) of complectere 'embrace, comprise', later associated with complexus 'plaited'; the adjective is partly via French complexe)

a small wood or other group of trees (Origin: Old English graf, of Germanic origin)

valued objects and qualities such as historic buildings and cultural traditions that have been passed down from previous generations denoting or relating to things of special architectural, historical, or natural value that are preserved for the nation denoting a traditional brand or product regarded as emblematic of fine craftsmanship
(Origin: Middle English: from Old French heritage, from heriter 'inherit' (see heritable)

the action of explaining the meaning of something, a stylistic representation of a creative work (Origin: late Middle English: from Old French, interpretation or Latin interpretatio)

an object used to indicate a position, place, or route. a distinctive feature or characteristic indicative of a particular quality or condition

a large area of flat land with few trees (Origin: Middle English: from Old French plain, from Latin planus, from a base meaning 'flat')

an area of low-lying, uncultivated ground where water collects; a bog or marsh. (Origin: early 17th century: probably ultimately from a Germanic base meaning 'sponge' or 'fungus')

- a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network - a set of preocedures according to which something is done, and organised scheme or method (Origin: early 17th century:from French systeme or late latin systema, from greek sustema, from sun-"with"+histanai "setup")

Willow tree
a tree of temperate climates that typically has narrow leaves, bears catkins and grow near water. Its pliant branches yield osiers for basketry, and its wodd has various uses.
Genus Salix, family Salicaceae



TI KOUKA "The area is delineated to the north by the Avon River, known to Maori as Otakaro. Otakaro and its surrounding swamplands and waterways were well known to successive iwi Maori (Waitaha, Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu) who utilised the area as an important mahinga kai.
A large variety of food was gathered there seasonally including tuna (eels), patiki (flounder), inaka (white bait), kokupu (native trout), koukoupara (cockabullies), parera (grey ducks) and putakitaki (paradise ducks). A significant ti kouka (cabbage tree) in the grounds of Englefield Lodge was used as a fishing marker by local Maori in the 19th century; this was removed in 1922 but formally replaced in 1994.
A small monument sited next to the William Guise Brittan Memorial Garden on the corner of Fitzgerald Avenue and Avonside Drive commemorates the Maori ancestors' allocation of fishing sites in the area. The swamplands that were so highly prized by Maori were not however regarded favourably by European colonists who later drained eel fisheries and diverted life giving waters from the traditional mahinga kai to make way for cultivation and urban development.” "Original Topography Early maps of the swamps and vegetation of Christchurch indicate that the Englefield area was broken ground, surrounded by sand hills of tussock, fern and raupo. the majority of the land surrounding the Avon River was found too swampy to be of use."

"Paddle steamer trips to Brighton commenced in 1874, the landing stage for which was located at the junction of Kilmore Street and Fitzgerald Avenue. Most families in the area also possessed small rowing boats used for excursions down the stream. In the early 1860s a boatshed for rowing was built on the east bank of the river just north of the Fitzgerald Avenue bridge opposite Wards Brewery. Originally formed as the Christchurch Rowing Club in 1863, this later became the Canterbury Rowing Club, membership of which included many residents of the Avonside area. Several other rowing clubs later established their boat sheds in the vicinity of the Fitzgerald Avenue bridge. This area came to be known as “The Willows” after W.G. Brittan and others planted willow trees there. Rowing regattas were held on the river from 1870 and rowing and canoeing races were run between the Fitzgerald Avenue and Stanmore Road bridges. Avonside Drive (then known as River Road) and the terrace rising from the road formed a natural grandstand from which to view river racing events. The opening of the rowing season, usually in mid-October was a big social event of the year. The Englefield stretch of the river remained a principal area for rowing training until the 1950s when the rowing clubs transferred their headquarters further downstream to Kerrs Reach."

"Ward's Brewery, the first established in Christchurch, opened in 1854. It moved to its current site in 1860 and has been a signifincant landmark on the eastern side of the city for well over a hundred years. Constructed of brick and stone, the interesting range and form of the buildings attract attention to the site adjacent to the Avon River. The buildings are notable amongst other industrial structures of the era for their attractive detailing featuring Oamarau stone. The kilns in particular are superb examples of industrial architecture, their design and ornamentation transcending their functionality. Together with the malthouse, brewing tower and other related structures they compromise the largest and most important group of industrial buildings in Christchurch dating from this era."
"The Wards complex is of considerable importance nationally as a largely intact example of an early brewery, complete with malt kilns and brewing tower."

"The Breweries, with their distinctive towers, often feature prominently in the landscape." Tower and chimney works as markers in the surrounds.

extracts from "Proposal for registration as an Historic Area of the Wards Brewery Complex" and "Contextual Historical Overview of Christchurch City