Council approves land gift for Ravenscar House

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Ravenscar Trust Co-Chairs, Jim and Dr Susan Wakefield and Canterbury Museum Director, Anthony Wright have welcomed today’s decision by Christchurch City Council to gift land to Canterbury Museum for the proposed Ravenscar House Museum.

Ravenscar House, Artists impression, September 2015

Ravenscar House, Artists impression.

Canterbury Museum and the Trust plan to develop and jointly operate New Zealand’s first contemporary house museum to display the Trust’s collections of New Zealand arts, sculpture, designer furniture and classical antiquities.

The Ravenscar House Museum will be built on a site at 52 Rolleston Avenue which is currently owned by the Council and operated as a car park. The Council’s public consultation on the proposal to gift the land to the House Museum project attracted 144 submissions, 128 of which were in favour.

Jim and Susan Wakefield said: “The Trustees have been heartened by the great majority of public support for the proposal. We thank the Council for making it possible for us to resurrect Ravenscar House in a way that will benefit Canterbury Museum and give Christchurch a new and different visitor attraction.”

Museum Director, Anthony Wright says that the Ravenscar House Museum is an exciting opportunity for the city. “While traditional Museums, like ours, are able to display elements of our past and present lives, we can’t deliver the complete experience of the house museum – the garden, the building, the furnishings, the books and the art works.

“Ravenscar House Museum will be a standalone visitor experience with a house, a garden and a unique collection of furniture, paintings and objects which reflect the taste and style of the people who build it. We are extraordinarily grateful to the Wakefields and the Council.”

Jim and Susan Wakefield began collecting art in the early 1990s. Their Collections were previously housed in a Trust-owned residence in Scarborough which was extensively damaged in the earthquakes. The Trust will use a combination of its own funds and its earthquake insurance settlements to build the $13 million development on Rolleston Avenue. The Trust will lease the land from the Canterbury Museum during construction of the House Museum. Ownership of the land and building will pass to Canterbury Museum on completion.

The House Museum will be largely self-financing through ticketed entry, car parking revenue and other income. The Museum will support the operation of the house museum from its existing staff and resources. It is expected to create nine new jobs.

The Trust’s decision to proceed with the House Museum is subject to obtaining resource consent and confirmation of project costs. The Trust aims to start construction in late 2016/early 2017 with the building opening to the public in 2018.