When the Christchurch town hall opened in 1972 it was the first new town hall in New Zealand in nearly 50 years. It comprises an auditorium, theatre (the James Hay Theatre) and conference and catering facilities. Christchurch architectural firm Warren and Mahoney designed it in modernist style, one of the country's best public buildings in this idiom. The success of the building led to the firm designing the Michael Fowler Centre, a civic auditorium built in Wellington in the early 1980s. Auckland built a new civic auditorium soon after – the Aotea Centre. Both cities kept their existing town halls. This view shows part of the James Hay Theatre with the town hall restaurant cantilevered over the Avon River. The town hall was damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, but it is expected to be rebuilt by 2018.
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