More than 3000 people visited the Christchurch Art Gallery today after it reopened after being shut for almost five years due to earthquake damage.
The gallery became a Civil Defence hub after the February 2011 earthquake, and soon afterwards was itself closed when it became clear the land under the building had suffered major damage.
Almost $60 million has been spent on repairs, including re-levelling the floors and installing a base isolation system.
Gallery director Jenny Harper said the work was essential to reassure overseas galleries it was safe to send their work to Christchurch.
At the opening today, she could not have been happier.
"We've had more than 2200 people through in the first hour and there are smiles on everyone's faces.
"People are talking to each other and feel like the art's talking to them. I just feel like we're home again."
Ms Harper said she was hoping for even more people to visit the gallery tomorrow.