11 Nov 2023

Lancaster Park's Memorial Gates restored and looking 'amazing'

8:54 am on 11 November 2023
Lancaster Park Gates

The Memorial Gates were built in 1924 to commemorate the sacrifice of Canterbury athletes during World War I. Photo: Supplied / Christchurch City Council

Sports enthusiasts will once more be welcomed into Christchurch's famed Lancaster Park through the historic Memorial Gates.

The gates were damaged in the 2010/ 2011 Canterbury earthquakes and have been refurbished as part of a wider project to redevelop the sports ground.

Mayor Phil Mauger will formally rededicate the gates at a community ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

Christchurch City Council's head of parks Andrew Rutledge said having the gates restored was a big milestone.

"They're very significant in a sporting context, but also because Lancaster Park is obviously a special place for Cantabrians," he said.

Rutledge said the refurbishment started in 2021.

"Like many of the earthquake heritage rebuilds we've had, a lot of the structural integrity was at risk and we have to bring that up to the current standards, so a lot of work went into that.

"But they look now like they I guess would've looked when they were first built. They look amazing."

The Memorial Gates were built in 1924 to commemorate the sacrifice of Canterbury athletes during World War I.

At today's ceremony, the council is also set to unveil the Arc of History; a series of panels showing Lancaster Park's history.

"The images shown on the Arc of History have been sourced from various collections from across the country.

"From Peter Snell's 800 metre record to U2 playing to a crowd of 60,000, the arc captures a range of sporting and cultural moments from the past 130 years," Rutledge said.

He said guests set to be part of the unveiling included former cricketer Sir Richard Hadlee and All Black Sam Whitelock.

The ceremony begins at 12.30pm at the Memorial Gates on Stevens Street.

Another roof panel comes off the Paul Kelly stand at Christchurch's Lancaster Park.

The Memorial Gates will be among the few structures to survive the Canterbury earthquakes that have led to most buildings being demolished. Photo: RNZ / Rachel Graham

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