19th February 2013Lyttelton Museum collection

New Air Force Museum extension and the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre opens

The new Air Force Museum extension and the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre was officially opened by His Excellency, the Governor General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae in Christchurch today.

“The Air Force Museum extension is a symbol of regeneration for Christchurch,” said the Air Force Museum Trust Board Chairman Peter Adamson.

The large 6,400sqm, $14.3 million extension was originally intended to house aircraft and provide specialist large object conservation facilities but most of the space has been set aside temporarily for the restoration, storage and rehabilitation of heritage and cultural collections affected by the Canterbury earthquakes. 

“After the February 2011 earthquake the Museum Trust Board decided to put the Museum’s needs on hold for a period and to offer the extension space to other organisations affected by the earthquake for the benefit of the community,” said Air Force Museum Trust Board Chairman Peter Adamson.

“Many community organisations responsible for managing valuable heritage collections were displaced after the earthquake putting significant cultural collections at risk. The launch of the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre at the Air Force Museum means there is now space for collections to be safely housed and cared for until permanent long-term arrangements can be made,” said Air Force Museum Trust Board Chairman Peter Adamson.

The collaborative project would not have been possible without significant grants from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage and the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust toward the completion of the complex. The Christchurch Appeal Trust grant of $1.5 million from the donations contributed from New Zealand and around the world was one of the first given to the project. Government contributed a further $2 million to assist with storing and rehabilitating collections. The remainder of the funding for the Museum extension had already been raised from philanthropic grants, corporate sponsorship and gaming trusts.

“The Appeal Trust funds have enabled many cultural institutions displaced by the earthquakes to restore damaged cultural collections and temporarily store them free of charge at the Air Force Museum. The collections from Lyttleton Museum and a number of other community museums are now safely stored here, and we are grateful to everyone who generously donated to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal to make this happen,” said Ros Burdon, Advisory Board member, Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust.

Many significant community buildings were devastated in the earthquake including the convention centre. Vbase, the Christchurch City Council governed venue and event management company, has partnered with the Air Force Museum to use the rest of the extension space as a temporary new conference, exhibition and events facility.

“The exceptional conference and events facility will be a tremendous asset for the Christchurch,” said Mayor Bob Parker.

“It has been an enormous effort by many people to get to this point. We are delighted that the extension is now officially open and able to contribute meaningfully to the recovery of Christchurch” said Air Force Museum Chairman Peter Adamson.


Click here to see the original announcement about the Appeal Trust's grant to the Cultural Collections Recovery Centre.