Christchurch businesses and global giants form stadium consortium

Local business have joined forces with companies behind the world’s tallest skyscraper and Yankee Stadium in a consortium chosen to build Canterbury’s $473 million new stadium.

The successful tender for the stadium project came from a group including infrastructure builders Fulton Hogan, construction company Southbase, architects Warren and Mahoney, and engineering consultants Powell Fenwick, all Christchurch-based.

Joining them will be several other companies including two international giants with established stadium expertise, BESIX Watpac, which will lead the project, ​and architects Populous.

The consortium, called Kōtui – which describes a well-woven whariki, a mat or floor covering – will “re-establish Canterbury as a premier sporting and events destination in New Zealand”, the city council says.

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“This final anchor project is one of the most significant projects in Christchurch’s history, and I welcome the Kōtui consortium and the extensive international expertise they will bring to the design and construction of the Canterbury multi-use arena,” mayor Lianne Dalziel said late on Monday night.

American-based Populous are international architects who have designed more than 1300 stadiums in 34 countries, including Yankee Stadium in New York City and football club Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in London.

They have already been involved in early planning for the new Christchurch stadium.

BESIX Watpac, a construction company based in Queensland in Australia, has completed major global construction projects including sports stadiums, the 828-metre Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, and Ferrari World amusement park in Abu Dhabi.


Christchurch’s new stadium should be open by the end of 2024.

Two weeks ago it formed two New Zealand companies, including one named BESIX Watpac NZ (CMUA) Ltd, wholly owned by the Australian parent company.

Speaking on behalf of Kōtui, BESIX Watpac chief executive Jean-Pol Bouharmont said he was extremely proud the team had been appointed to lead the stadiums design and construction.

“Kōtui is a remarkable team and from today we are proud to honour the meaning of our name and walk arm in arm with Christchurch City Council and the people of the Waitaha-Canterbury region to delivery this vital project.”

​Christchurch city councillors are understood to have agreed on the preferred design and build tender in a public-excluded meeting on Thursday.

The tender is worth $390m plus GST, making it one of the South Island’s biggest ever construction projects.

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the world’s tallest building built by BESIX Wetpac who are part of a consortium chosen to build the new Canterbury stadium.

Warren Little/Getty Images

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the world’s tallest building built by BESIX Wetpac who are part of a consortium chosen to build the new Canterbury stadium.

The consortium, if it progresses to a final costed contract with the council, will design and build the covered stadium to cater for sport, concerts and other events with 25,000 permanent seats and capacity for up to 35,000.

Kōtui will begin working on detailed designs of the stadium over the coming weeks

Early works on the site are under way now, construction is expected to begin early next year and the stadium is due to be finished in late 2024.

An artist's impressions of inside the new Canterbury stadium.

Christchurch City Council

An artist’s impressions of inside the new Canterbury stadium.

It will be replace Lancaster Park, which was wrecked in the Canterbury earthquakes.

The cost is to be met by Christchurch City Council using $253m from insurance proceeds, with the Crown chipping in $220m.

Appointing Kōtui is the first stage of the tender process to build the stadium. The second stage will be a pre-contract agreement where the consortium collaborates with council on the design, confirms it can complete the contract within budget, and submits a final bid.

The final stage, if the council accepts the bid, is a final contract.

The consortium was chosen by the council following a tender process which was opened in October, with the closing date pushed back after contractors asked for more time to submit proposals.

Aerial view of the new Canterbury stadium site in central Christchurch.


Aerial view of the new Canterbury stadium site in central Christchurch.

Other contract tenders for the stadium are for architecture, surveying, design verification, pre-construction project management, and demolition.

“We will create a stunning multi-use arena to fulfill an incredibly important role in our city,” Southbase chief executive Quin Henderson said.

“It will celebrate the spirit of Ōtautahi Christchurch and entice the world to experience the internationally renowned sporting, arts, and the cultural pride we have on offer.

Southbase is co-owned by Henderson alongside two prominent Christchurch investors and property developers, Philip Carter and Ben Gough.

Carter, a former city councillor, is head of property company Carter Group, while Gough heads Tailorspace and has been a major shareholder in the Gough Group companies.

Formed in 2013 as HCG Group, Southbase has built Carter’s The Crossing shopping centre, the city’s new bus interchange and Tūranga library, the Deloitte office building, and several schools.

Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi was built by BESIX Watpac.

Dave Moore/Stuff

Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi was built by BESIX Watpac.

Fulton Hogan is also based in Christchurch but was founded in Dunedin in the 1930s, and builds major infrastructure projects such as motorways and airports across New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.

It also produces and supplies construction materials such as concrete and asphalt.

Fulton Hogan construction manager Justin McDowell said the vision for the stadium was to “unite and ignite” the spirit of Christchurch.

The 2019 business case for the stadium forecast a $395.6m economic benefit from the stadium over 30 years, including $83.9m from tourism, $103.9m of extra consumer spending, and $53.9m in “civic pride”.

The Government has purchased all but one of the sites it needs for the stadium, and has begun the legal process to acquire the remaining NG building on Madras St, a move its owners are fighting.

Land Information New Zealand’s Crown has said the building needs to be bought “urgently” for the successful delivery of the stadium.

The business case for the stadium projected it could attract the following events in an average year:

  • Three large concerts averaging 28,000 people.
  • Three small concerts averaging 10,000 people.
  • Six or seven Super Rugby games averaging 15,000 spectators.
  • Four to five domestic rugby games averaging 7000 spectators.
  • One All Blacks game with 25,000-30,000 spectators.
  • A rugby league game bringing in 18,000 people.
  • One soccer game bringing in 15,000 spectators.
  • Three large scale exhibitions averaging 12,000 people.
  • One other event bringing in 10,000 spectators.

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