Golf a part of Christchurch rebirth

Sean Dudley

The rebuilding of earthquake-stricken Christchurch, the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, already well underway, is now to include a new NZ$160 million golf academy and resort, located near Spencerville, just north of the city.

After eight years of work, planning permission for the Christchurch Golf Resort, to be designed by New Zealand-based architect Kristine Kura, has finally been granted. Resource consents are still required, but Kerr and the resort’s developer, South Korean businessman Younghwan Na, hope to start work on the 160 hectare site within a few months. 

The resort will include academy facilities, 86 villas, 141 sections, accommodation, lakes and an eighteen hole golf course as well as other recreational facilities. Kerr, principal architect of Kura Design says the site's sandy soil will enable her to produce a design featuring a combination of dunes, wetlands and native trees, typifying the pre-agricultural landscape. Adjacent to the development, a 41 hectare riverside conservation strip will be given to the local council as a contribution to its vision for a riverside walkway. 

Environmentally, Kerr says the course aims to maintain water quality and conserve water resources, attract wildlife, including native birds, by creating suitable wildlife habitats and preparing a long term environmental management plan. 

The golf academy is planned to attract students of golf and golf administration from around the world. The academy will be run in association with a multiple Major championship winner, who cannot be named at this stage for contractual reasons. 

Groups including the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand have supported the project. The resort is expected to employ about 120 full-time staff, and its developers hope the project will bring a ‘substantial’ boost in employment and tourism. 

Na said the resort was “an important message to the world that Christchurch is back on its feet and not only starting the rebuilding process, but also embarking on exciting new developments.”