The first soil on the site of the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena has been turned, marking the start of its construction.
At 1pm today, the site was blessed by mana whenua Ngāi Tūāhuriri, followed by a sod-turning ceremony.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods and Te Kaha Project Delivery board chair Barry Bragg also spoke at the event.
A view from the future fan's perspective. Photo / Supplied
Work on the new 30,000-seat rectangular-turf arena is due to be finished by mid-2025.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel speaking at the sod-turning ceremony for the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena. Photo / George Heard
The project was marred by controversy earlier this year when the city council decided to slash seating capacity to 25,000, after saying the budget had already blown out by $131 million.
The decision divided the city. Thousands signed an online petition to stick with the original capacity, fearing they could miss out on big All Blacks matches and other key events, which prompted a U-turn to the original 30,000 capacity.
The budget now totals $533m.
Four preliminary design images from Christchurch-based architects Warren & Mahoney and international stadium design experts Populous released late last year show how the stadium will sit on the inner-city site, as well as a "more detailed internal illustration" from the stands during a sporting event.
The planned new multi-use stadium. Photo / Supplied
The CMUA will occupy much of the central Christchurch site bordered by Hereford, Barbadoes, Tuam and Madras streets.
The arena is 232m long, 195m wide and 36m high at its tallest point, and will have a seating capacity of 30,000 for sporting events and up to 37,800 in concert mode.
The view from the arena's west entry. Photo / Supplied