12 Oct 2018

Christchurch has a library in the heart of the city again

6:43 am on 12 October 2018

A new state-of-the-art, multi-million-dollar library will open its doors to the public in Christchurch at 1pm this afternoon.

There has not been a central library in the city since the 2011 earthquake.

Tūranga took two-and-a-half years to build, cost about $93 million and is the largest library in the South Island.

The five-storey building near Cathedral Square, opposite the quake-damaged cathedral, houses 180,000 books, a 200-seat theatre and a $1 million touch screen.

Photo gallery - Inside Christchurch's new library:

Tūranga head of libraries and information Carolyn Robertson said the project had created a lot of buzz.

"We've had a lot of people telling us how excited they are to actually have a library in the heart of the city again, particularly one that has all the new features.

"Kids and families are absolutely going go to the first floor and just revel in all the colour and excitement and things they can get their hands on. Our genealogists and family history people are going to love going to our identity floor, so it'll be different for people who are keen to see a performance or an event - they're going to gravitate to our TSB space."

Ngāi Tūāhuriri - the local Ngāi Tahu hapū - helped with the construction, design and Māori artwork.

Spokesperson Lynne Te Aika said it was important their culture was represented.

"If you think of the former Christchurch pre-earthquakes, it reflected only the English migration from the number of churches and the number of buildings really reflected European history - so I think it's an exciting step forward."

The Christchurch City Council said a special opening ceremony would be held at midday, while there would be walking tours today and over the weekend.

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