Let’s go back to the late 19th century when New Brighton was the go-to destination for leisure. To cater to the growing number of visitors seeking a traditional English seaside holiday experience, the original New Brighton Pier opened in 1894.
Stretching into the Pacific, this wooden construction stood for 70 years and became a hotspot for locals and travellers seeking seaside fun. The pier featured a “penny arcade” full of games and amusements, and a popular nightclub called the Shoreline, known for dinner, cabarets, and dancing. New Brighton was a unique place to shop on Saturdays, unlike the rest of the country, which made it hugely popular.
Over time, the original pier began showing signs of wear and tear, leading to its closure in the 1960s due to safety concerns. It was quickly demolished.
The New Brighton community felt the loss of the iconic structure and decided to revive its magic. They joined forces in a thirty-year campaign, raising two million dollars through fundraisers, events, and contributions from local businesses. The council matched this amount, and construction on the new New Brighton Pier began in the early 1990s.
Fast forward to 1997, and the new New Brighton Pier rose triumphantly from the ocean, surpassing its predecessor in grandeur. Spanning an impressive 300 meters, it became the longest pier of its kind in Australasia, claiming its spot as Christchurch’s most renowned landmark.
The pier suffered damage during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, mostly at seabed level, but was fully repaired by 2018.
Stepping onto the pier, visitors are treated to panoramic views of the picturesque coastline. It offers a magical experience, from catching glorious sunrises to gazing at starry night skies. It’s also an ideal spot to watch local surfers catching waves, and if you’re lucky, you might spot playful seals or graceful dolphins gliding through the water below.
More than just a structure, the New Brighton Pier stands as a symbol of resilience, unity, and the enduring spirit of Christchurch, and the New Brighton Community.