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Why I love the central city – Christchurch Art Gallery Director, Blair Jackson

Blair Jackson, Christchurch Art Gallery Director, lives in Richmond and walks into work most days. He first worked in the central city back in the late eighties and early nineties. Blair returned to Christchurch in 2006 and has spent the last 12 years working at the Art Gallery.

What do you love about the central city?

I love how it’s always changing, particularly in the last few years it has really come back to life. I love its energy, its compactness and the ability to do a whole lot of things in a 30-minute lunch break.

What’s your favourite part of the central city?

The Christchurch Art Gallery! In fact, we’ve got a huge range of galleries in the city – we’re spoilt for choice

Check out ChristchurchNZ’s suggestions for art galleries in Christchurch.

Favourite place to eat in the central city?

It’s got to be the Friday Street Food Market in Cathedral Square. My picks would be The Vagabond Chefs or Adam’s Malaysian Noodles.

Favourite restaurant in the evening?

Inati, without a doubt. Everything on their menu is stand out.

If you had just one day to spend in the central city, what would you do?

I’d spend it with my family and we’d start by watching the sunrise over the Avon River. Breakfast at Little Poms, we’d visit the Christchurch Art Gallery and spend some quality time together looking and talking about art. I’d make sure they checked out our beautiful new exhibition, Wheriko- Brillant!, where artists play with shadow and light.

We’d take the dog for a walk in Hagley Park and then finish at Pomeroy's for dinner and a pint.

Best kept secret?

I walk to and from work each day and there is nothing more magical than walking through Victoria Square in the twilight. The Town Hall is beautifully lit up, it’s such a tranquil and peaceful place in the city. In the mornings I see the sun shining off Tūranga and it is just stunning.

What sets the central city apart from other cities in New Zealand?

Christchurch has a newness and freshness that is really exciting. There’s a new injection of energy, space, architecture and potential.

Best spot for lunch?

I love sitting somewhere quiet in the Botanic Gardens or the Arts Centre quad. I’ll often walk along the City Promenade. Sometimes I’ll go into Cashel Street for the shopping – it’s great to walk across the Ballantynes bridge once again.

Describe the central city in one word?

Vibrant.

What would you say to someone who thinks the central city is too boring/too hard to get too/not enough parking?

Try finding a park in Auckland or central London and then compare it to Christchurch – it’s not as hard as one thinks.

There is an amazing carpark under the Christchurch Art Gallery with a lift straight into the building, so give that a go next time!

What are you really excited about in the central city?

Ao Tawhiti, Unlimited Discovery school on Mollett Street. It’s really exciting to have a whole group of kids in the inner city. They’ve got so much on their doorstep – the Christchurch Art Gallery, Tūranga, Hagley Park, all within a quick walk.

I love Christchurch’s central city because....

It’s the home of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū and I love working here.

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