7 October 2019

Work is underway to adapt the former home of acclaimed New Zealand artist Bill Sutton into a house museum and community centre.

The Templar Street home, in the residential red zone, will be gifted to the Christchurch City Council by the Crown after the restoration project is complete, to allow Sutton’s legacy to live on.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which manages the red zone on behalf of the Crown, has been working closely with the council, and the Sutton Heritage House and Garden Charitable Trust to convert the property into a community facility.

LINZ Chief Executive Gaye Searancke says the restoration of the significant site, protected by a covenant, marks the start of wider regeneration plans for the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor. 

“It’s an honour for LINZ to be involved in this project which, once complete, will bring new life to this special home,” says Ms Searancke.

“As kaitiaki of this land, we are always looking for new ways to support the use of the residential red zone, and this is just another way we can help make that happen.

“We’ve been working behind the scenes to get multiple consents, as well as the tender process to get an experienced contractor for this unique project.”

Once the restoration is finished, the property will be managed and maintained by the Sutton Heritage House and Garden Charitable Trust. The trust plans to use the facility to run tours about the life and work about Bill Sutton and also to use the house for a range of community programmes and public meetings. 

Sutton Heritage House and Garden Charitable Trust co-chair Dame Ann Hercus says they appreciate the support of LINZ, the council and Regenerate Christchurch in getting to this point. 

“It’s exciting to see the project becoming closer to being a reality. We believe Bill’s home will become an attraction, it really is a special place, culturally very significant to the city, and we’re pleased we’ve been able to help in securing its future.”

The restoration is expected to be complete and the facility open to the public in March 2020. 

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