Wellington's Reading cinema closes after earthquake report

4:42 pm on 5 January 2019

The large Reading Cinemas complex on Courtenay Place has closed until further notice following an independent engineers' report.

Reading Cinemas on Courtenay Place.

Reading Cinemas on Courtenay Place. Photo: Google Maps

A sign at Reading Cinemas Courtenay Place informing of the closure.

A sign at Reading Cinemas Courtenay Place informing of the closure. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

In a post on social media, Reading Cinemas announced this morning it would be closing the cinema complex out of "an abundance of caution".

The company said the draft report, which has not been made public, found a potential risk in parts of the building should an earthquake hit and the building would remain closed until a final assessment had been completed.

The building houses a movie complex, food court, a bank, and retail stores.

The building's car park was demolished after it was damaged by the 7.8 magnitude Kaikōura earthquake in 2016.

The company said tickets could be redeemed at Reading Cinemas in Porirua or by emailing for a full refund.

Libby Dearnley runs a pop-up shop craft business - and was alerted this morning that all businesses must close.

She was clearing out what she could.

Libby Dearnley runs a pop-up craft shop.

Libby Dearnley runs a pop-up craft shop. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

"Hopefully it is a short repair time and we can open up here again because we love this space and we've worked with them for a couple of years now," she said.

Ms Dearnley said they would move to another building in the interim if the delays were going to be long.

Wellingtonians are being told they can still walk safely on Courtenay Place despite the earthquake risk to a major movie complex.

The city council's business engagement manager, Phil Becker, said it was in contact with the movie operator about the matter.

"Their engineers have raised concerns about the potential risk in a seismic event beyond what was anticipated," he said.

Mr Becker said it was safe for people to use the footpath outside the complex.

Reading Cinemas has not returned RNZ's request for an interview.

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Photo: Courtenay Cinemas / Facebook