Boosting economic growth, attracting residents, visitors and workers, and creating community pride are all aims of a new identity, or city story, revealed this week to Christchurch people.
Behind the new Christchurch story
Drawing on input from thousands of residents, visitors and city stakeholders, and guided by global expertise and local knowledge, ChristchurchNZ has shared a new story for Ōtautahi Christchurch that describes a city in pursuit of balance, where residents, visitors and workers have the space to make time for all types of play.
Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger says that the city has a real buzz about it and the new city story speaks to our sense of fun, innovation, connection with nature and drive to do something new. “I’m so proud to be the Mayor of Christchurch at the moment. We are realising the investment of the past decade and taking our place as New Zealand’s true second city where people can work, live, play and invest.
“There is so much right here for our residents, visitors and businesses – we’ve always had a strong connection to our environment and nature, now the town is buzzing and our new industries in tech, aerospace and manufacturing are really putting Christchurch on the map. This new city story gets that message out there to the country and the world.”
Key themes from all the feedback included:
- We love Christchurch.
- We are the best place to be a Kiwi.
- We punch above our weight.
- Business is in our DNA.
- We are not currently a night-time entertainment hub.
- We have the opportunity to become a destination.
- We are a new city, not a post-earthquake city.
As a city evolves and grows, it’s really important that the story of that city evolves and grows with it. Christchurch is a city on the cusp of an amazing period in its history. It’s an incredible time to be here as a resident or a visitor — it’s a buzzy, vibrant city so it’s time for us tell a new story about what makes Ōtautahi Christchurch special.
ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive Ali Adams says a clear city identity is a recognised driver of economic development, because it makes it easier to explain why our city really is a great place to live, to work, to visit, to study, to invest and to play. And when residents buy into a city identity, it helps foster social cohesion, community pride and a sense of belonging.
“As a city evolves and grows, it’s really important that the story of that city evolves and grows with it. Christchurch is a city on the cusp of an amazing period in its history. It’s an incredible time to be here as a resident or a visitor — it’s a buzzy, vibrant city so it’s time for us tell a new story about what makes Ōtautahi Christchurch special.”
Christchurch’s story and how we’ll use it
Emerging from thousands of individual ideas, Christchurch’s story is one of a city in pursuit of balance, where people are at the heart. We are a city where making time and space for play is valued – where play is reflected in all of our activities: in our history, our affinity to the natural environment, our drive for experimentation and innovation, our love of sport, our role as a manufacturing hub and our value of community and whanau.
It also builds on the long-standing concept of Christchurch as the Garden City. A garden city has historically been defined as: “…a way to capture the primary benefits of the countryside and the city while avoiding the disadvantages presented by both…it testifies to a continued interest to secure a harmonious existence between humans and their natural environment.”
We’ve captured that idea of harmony between people and nature to form a key part of our city story – we think of it as balance and see Christchurch as a city that is always in pursuit of balance, reflected in our desire to make time and space for play, in all senses of the word.
The look of the new identity
Based on the brand work completed by our global experts, a creative platform has also been prepared by a group of local agencies: McCarthy, a Christchurch design studio, Ariki Creative, a Kaupapa Māori creative studio and Tahu Robinson, a local creative from hapu Ngāi Tūāhuriri. The design reflects the city’s story and will be shared with the people of Christchurch. This includes:
- A concrete expression of the story, through a new logo that brings together the ‘Ō’ and ‘C’ of Ōtautahi Christchurch and includes a parallel line pattern that reflects the Ōtākaro River as well as giving a nod to the tile pattern on the city’s re-emerging Anglican Cathedral. The design also reflects the traditional double-grove design used in Māori carving.
- A palette based on the colours of our city – red and black are still important to us, but we see broader colours from the greens of our environment, pinks of sunrise and sunset, and deep blues of our rivers and harbours.
- A toolkit, including imagery, videos and a brand book, that is being prepared so it can be used by all city businesses and agencies when they talk about their city.
What happens next?
ChristchurchNZ will support businesses and residents to understand and adopt the identity. The community will be invited to explore the story, what it means for them and make their own connections at a city event in April. In early May the first of a series of promotional campaigns that uses our story to talk to our audiences will be launched.
This identity is owned by the city and we all have a role to play in telling the new story of Christchurch. We want the whole city — leaders, businesses, residents and visitors — to see themselves in the story we tell about our city. After all, we are loudest when we sign together.
Perceptions of the story, how it is used, how it aligns and the impact it has on the desirability of Christchurch will be measured over time to help understand how residents, visitors and businesses are engaging with the direction.