Years of work culminate in land transfer and historic house gifting

19 October 2020

The transfer of Crown-owned red zone land and an historic house to Christchurch City Council is the culmination of many years of work by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

About 70 hectares of Crown-owned red zone land in Brooklands, Southshore and South New Brighton has now been transferred to the Council.

Bill Sutton House – located in the red zone – has also been gifted to the city, following extensive restoration by LINZ on behalf of the Crown. Bill Sutton was one of New Zealand’s most influential artists and created most of his works at the Templar Street house.

LINZ Chief Executive Gaye Searancke says the smooth transfer of the land and historic house is the result of a huge amount of work since LINZ took over responsibility for Crown-owned properties in the red zone in late 2015.

“During our time as guardians of the land, we’ve cared for the flora and fauna, carried out quality operational management, facilitated more than 130 transitional land use projects and initiatives, and carefully managed the steps towards full local ownership,” she says.

“At the request of the Council, we also surveyed some of the land to enable redundant roads to be legally stopped before the land was transferred. Much of our work has covered uncharted territory, and our team has shown incredible dedication in getting to this point.

“In terms of Bill Sutton House, LINZ has carefully restored this mid-century house to close to its original state, while also sensitively adding modern touches such as the creation of a wheelchair accessible entrance.”

Located in the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor red zone, the house was architecturally designed especially for Bill Sutton who lived there from 1963 and painted most of his works on-site until his retirement in 1992.

It was significantly damaged in the earthquakes and – in subsequent years – was further damaged by flooding, weather and intruders.

The house has been leased to the Sutton Heritage House and Garden Charitable Trust which will manage the property as a house museum and cultural destination.

“It’s wonderful to be able to gift this historic property to the city and people of Christchurch,” Gaye says.

LINZ remains responsible for managing the Port Hills red zone until May 2021 and is continuing to prepare about 600 hectares of Crown-owned red zone land in the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor before progressively transferring it to the Council in bundles.

Sarah Child, Ian Lochhead and Neil Roberts outside Bill Sutton House
From left, LINZ Manager Land and Property Sarah Child who led the restoration project, looks around Sutton House with Ian Lochhead and Neil Roberts, members of the Sutton Heritage House and Garden Charitable Trust. Image courtesy CCC Newsline.

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