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Container mall given new life in Kaikōura

Upcycled shipping containers from the popular Re:START mall in Christchurch have found a new home in Kaikōura’s main street.

Re:START opened in central Christchurch in 2011 as a temporary solution to the lack of retail areas in the city following its earthquakes earlier in the year.

The mall’s brightly-coloured shipping containers quickly became an internationally-famous symbol of post-quake innovation.

They remained a real feature of the central city for many years but were gradually removed to make way for the Riverside Farmers’ Market due to open early next year

Four of the Re:START containers have now turned up in another temporary retail precinct in Kaikōura, after the town experienced its own earthquake in 2016.

Uplift Kaikōura is the brainchild of local business owners whose buildings were damaged in the Kaikōura quake.

The precinct opened at the end of last year on an empty site in the centre of town and is home to Gecko Gearz, Paper Plus and Ocean Arts, with a fourth business joining in soon.

Gecko Gearz owner Penny Betts says Uplift stands on the site where the grand Adelphi Hotel stood for 96 years before being demolished after the 2016 quake.

“We are so fortunate to have these containers in Kaikōura. A good mix of travelers are shopping at the site and we’ve had very positive feedback and support from locals and Kiwis travelling through,” Betts says.

“People are constantly telling me it has given the town life, a really good vibe and shows we are moving forward and staying positive albeit challenging times,” she says.

“There’s a lovely green area in the centre, which has some picnic tables and a giant Connect Four game. It is great to see people relaxing in the area and quite a few of the local teens come and play the Connect Four.”

Uplift was predominantly privately-funded with some public donations from a Givealittle fundraising page.

In Christchurch, the Riverside Farmers’ Market is expected to be made up of five low-rise buildings with more than 80 market stalls, with 10,000 square metres of floor space and balconies overlooking three new laneways.

Inspired by European markets in cities like Copenhagen, the complex will also feature restaurants, food stalls and fashion stores.

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