As the earthquake ravished New Zealand city continued to recover, street artists brighten it with murals, sculptures and other Christchurch street art. An ever-changing art form, this page represents Christchurch street art spotted in 2018. We have opted to leave it as is so what was there at the time can continue to be enjoyed.
Christchurch street art is a colourful distraction from the vacant lots, and surviving earthquake-damaged buildings that seem to plague much of the downtown area. It’s as though New Zealand’s third-largest city is a blank canvas to be painted.
NZ street artists have flocked here to take on the challenge of revitalising and brightening this historic destination, and some famous artists from around the world have joined the challenge.
Colourful, fun and eclectic, some appear random while other artworks push the boundary, begging the question, what is street art?
We went on a self-guided city street art walk (similar to what we have done in Auckland). Below is what we consider to be the best of Christchurch street art. I have identified the artists where I knew them.
Christchurch street art
Download a free map to find Christchurch street art
If you have a smartphone or tablet, it’s an easy way to create your own self-guided tour. We used this interactive street map that highlights the art.
Is sculpture street art?
The question we pondered as we put together this collection of graffiti and street art: What is street art? Like many subjective questions, there are multiple answers.
- Most definitions suggest the essential elements are that it is artwork created in a public space, and typically without official permission, although lately many cities have commissioned both local and famous street artists to create original street art.
- However, Wikipedia adds, “Common forms and media include spray paint graffiti, stencil graffiti, wheat pasted poster art, sticker art, street installations, and sculpture.“
Last year, we went on a street art tour in Auckland during Art Week (Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city). It included sculptures. With that in mind, I add the following street art images:
What about this public art?
Do you consider this Glass Pavilion or the seemingly random giant set of living room (or library) furniture to be street art?
Want more street art? Don’t miss these collections of street art from around the world: Asia, New Zealand and Australia, Europe, Canada and the United States, and Central and South America.
Still want more? Christchurch New Zealand is one of 42 cities featured in Lonely Planet’s new guide to global Street Art book.
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If you enjoyed this collection of Christchurch street art, please pin it on Pinterest:
its lovely art.i like the hut and the wall painting.these looks very colorful and attractive.the wall where a boy stand with the back looks original .nice blog you shared..the monster looks so pretty..
Hi Rhonda, I’m glad to see you found our website, watchthisspace.org.nz, useful. I started putting it together two years ago when I first came to Christchurch. We’re running guided tours now as well as a blog where we interview local artists. Let us know next time you’re in town!
Whenever I come home to Chch, I have to go street art searching. I love that the city has become so synonymous with street art
I’ve never been to Christchurch before but the street art looks so nice. I think art is a beautiful reflection of culture and it just be a super vibrant culture!
Love your pics of street art in Christchurch – the artists are really talented!
I never considered graffiti and this kind of thing an art but murals in Christchurch seem to be really artsy! It’s a pretty amazing, so I hope I get to New Zealand one day to experience some of these.
I certainly believe that the sculptures belong to Christchurch’s street art scene. What person would steal a bronze statue during the earthquake? That was quite shocking! Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the graffiti as well, especially the one with the little smurf. I’m always looking for secret or hidden messages in the street art!
It’s such a pity that I missed out on Christchurch when I went to New Zealand. We had 2 weeks and were forced to cut down on several places. And since we both love the outdoors and nature more, we compromised with the larger cities like Christchurch and Wellington. I do love the street art here, your pictures are very cool. It definitely elevates the mood and vibe of the place.
Erin Klema | The Epicurean Traveler
Cookie Monster was my absolute favorite Sesame Street character as a kid, and still has a special place in my heart. Naturally, the Cookie Monster mural made me smile. I also really like the Queen’s Corgis. I definitely need to seek out street art on Christchurch Street someday.
These are all fantastic. Like many others, I love the cookie monster but I also love the one inspired by Maori stories. I haven’t been to Christchurch but I imagine that all of these pieces help Christchurch to heal. My kids would definitely love to track them all down.
Two by Tour
Absolutely stunning collection. Great street art is the sign of a vibrant city. I especially love the hand statue, corgis and the cookie monster. Reminds me of some muppet wall art I saw in Brooklyn once.
Wow! That is some really fun street art. I love the Cookie Monster one. I love how street art is gaining momentum all around the world. I always enjoy seeing a fun or beautiful piece of art pop in front of my eyes while I’m exploring a city.
I had no idea there had been so much damage!!! Still, that art is pretty incredible. My husbands always wanted to go to New Zealand so when we go this might be on the list to check out!
Rhonda, I went to Christchurch before the earthquake and I loved it, but I never noticed any street art. I love the second to last one, because we should all do that, right?
Absolutely. Every day like our last.
I had the same feeling for Christchurch and it’s heartbreaking to see the city centre is all destroyed and in rubble. Glad that the street art could cheer everyone up and it takes time rebuild the city. Now it’s a special moment for us to remember how things could change and be thankful with what we have.
Wow, this open-air reading room looks like stuff dreams are made of. I also like Chalice – the steel sculpture – a beautiful way to celebrate the landmark year. Street art otherwise is becoming a norm is most cities it seems.
Oh I loved the street art when I visited Christchurch, but it looks like it’s massively upped its game since 4 years ago. We live on the north island now so will definitely be taking a trip back.
I love that atreet artists have taken on the task of revitalizing the city in the aftermath of the earthquake. They’ve done a really great job – there’s some incredible art and talent here! Cookie Monster always makes me smile too! Though the unnamed work by Rone is particularly impressive. I think that’s my favorite.
The public art is very cool too – I think this should be classified as street art – I know traditionally street art is usually thought of as “graffiti” art, and murals, but I think 3D sculptures and installations count too. It’s art on the street after all right!
I love street art and there are some gems here! I find it interesting that around the world street art is playing an important part in urban regeneration.The corgis are such fun as well. This looks like a divine place to explore.
I knew there were earthquakes in New Zealand, but for some reason, I didn’t relate that to damage in cities. What a great way to enhance the area and bring out some color and vitality from the destruction. Cookie Monster makes me smile too. 🙂
Great insight into Christchurch’s street art. Both the murals and the sculptures are so creative! Sometimes I wonder how can people come up with such ideas, like incorporating a self portrait into a giant hand. I think the street art is a great way of revitalizing and brightening the rundown areas of the big cities. Recently, in my small town of La Crescenta, they started painting the electric boxes on the streets that looks hideous before. The project was the idea of some high school students (talented ones, for sure) who turned this boxes into real art works.
Hi Rhonda – you had me at the first one = the cows … but an incredible range of artistic skills you’ve given us … loved seeing them. Long may Christchurch be healed and blessed with its new beginnings … cheers Hilary
Wow, so very cool. I am a big fan of street art. Thanks for sharing.
I just love street art, we recently had a festival for it up here, some people are so clever.
This is so cool! I think street art is a great way to bring attention to certain areas. The sculptures and installations make the surroundings even more interesting. I love the corgi statues. Can’t believe one was stolen (of all the things that can be stolen). Hope the city keeps reinventing itself.
Sometimes street art and modern art can be so fascinating and actually quite difficult for me to interpret! But these are pretty awesome! Happy 2018!
I too am a huge fan of street art, and I really was unaware that Christchurch had a scene. They were great, but I have to say that my fave is Cookie Monster. He suits the alleyway!
I think that the sculptures for sure belong in this post, as they too are street art and even though they are not murals, it is still the artist’s objective to create something that blends in to the surroundings.
Glad I read this, thank you.
These are really cool! Love them!! I like street art everywhere, but I especially like it how it lifted up the spirits after such a sad period.
It does brighten up the city for visitors, and I am sure it is very healing for those who live there.
Love looking at street art! I too love the Smurfs. I collected them as a child, ahem, quite a few years ago. Like those corgis too. Not sure I consider commissioned sculptures as street art… need to think about that…
I didn’t notice the Smurf at first, but once I did, he is now what I see first.
haha, I love the Queen’s Corgis! Great to see such stunning street art. The public art to me isn’t street art in the same way but that doesn’t make it any less fun or important
I loved the Queen’s Corgis too. I didn’t know they were there. They startled me a bit when I first saw them on the footpath.
Public Art is wonderful in any situation, but especially in a city like Christchurch that has seen such destruction. A great talking point and beautification project whilst the slow rebuilding takes place.
Very true, and it makes is much nicer to walk around the city.
I think the sculptures definitely belong with the rest of the street art. I’ve been reading a lot recently about how Christchurch is rebuilding, and I think art is such an important motivator. We’re hoping possibly to move to New Zealand in the next year or so, and I will definitely keep this in mind. Thank you for including the map!
We moved to New Zealand 16 years ago and have never regretted it.
Paul F. Pietrangelo
Hi Rhonda. What amazing murals, some natural while others crazy. I like the crazy ones. The one the like the most is the one with the hand with a face, Unbelievable. See ya.
I like them all. As for the hand, google the original artwork, it looks the same, only smaller.
Great post and featured art! I’ve been a fan of street art for quite some time now, and often seek it out. I believe that the sculptures are also street art… after all they are literally on the street aren’t they? I’ve been on a few street art tours in various places, and sculpture is almost always included, so it seems I’m not alone in that feeling. I suppose what might matter is whether it’s a large commissioned piece, or if it’s been put there without permission… but even those lines are blurring these days.
The fact that they are literally on the street was my basis for the question. And as for commissioned and permission, I think much of the street art we see in New Zealand falls under both categories and is still street art.
The more I travel, the more I appreciate street art. And while my tastes tend to run towards the unusual in art, I have to say that of the street art you found, I really like the cookie monster one. I don’t think it would usually appeal to me but it really made me smile.
I think a giant cookie monster on the wall qualifies as unusual.
Love finding some new Street Artists to follow on Instagram – thanks for sharing their names. I used to work for the public sculpture committee in my hometown back in Oregon. I don’t think they would have called it #StreetArt per se, but do think sculpture has a part to play in street art. We took a tour of graffiti and street art when in Paris and loved it. Know that I would like to see it here too!
I have taken street art and sculpture tours in both Auckland and Wellington. Loved them both. Mostly, we do self-guided tours.
I love street art and the one from Rone is my favourite. The Corgis are cute too 🙂
I am always impressed by Rone’s artwork.
L. Diane Wolfe
The Corgis are cute.
While some of the artwork is a little odd, most of it really adds to the surroundings.
It reflects the personality of the country.
this is such a beautiful initiative! art has such a positive impact in our lives, and using street art to improve the atmosphere of a city is an incredible idea! The Cookie monster mural is super cool, btw! 🙂
I couldn’t agree more. The bright colours and interesting artwork everywhere you turn, really adds a positive personality to the city.
What a wonderful insight into Christchurch’s creative rebuilding process. I just love how they have embraced street art and my favourites are Rone’s piece and Sunshine by Holly Ross and Olivia Laita. Hopefully they are still there later in the year as I think we will be in the area in February/March.
Rone is so talented. We were just there, less than two months ago, so it should all still be there.
I really enjoyed this post and the cookie monster piece was my favorite. I need to see these in person
I love Cookie Monster too.
Shannon | Shannie Chic
Big fan of street art and this list was amazing! So many talented people creating so many beautiful things!
I agree, the street art in Chch is quite impressive.
What amazing pieces. Wish more cities would embrace artistic expression in a city.
Me too. I am a big fan of street art.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
The Glass Pavilion was really cool. And unique. I think it’s more decorative than art though. The hand is just a bit weird. Of the paintings, I like the one by Berst best.
I was thinking the same, but it is pretty cool. I think the face is the weirdest part of the hand.
What a fun adventure. I love the dogs the best. That made me smile.
Have a fabulous day, Rhonda. ♥
They made me smile too. The little one is in the back is licking up a fallen ice cream.
You had me at Cookie Monster LOL. My niece loves him, so we watch him for hours when she stops by. Don’t worry she’s 18 months old 😉 But I was a fan as a kid too. As for the Green Reading Room, it is up my alley. I would love being able to sit and enjoy some down time there. Street art fascinates me, especially the quality of these pieces of work.
I was a fan too, that’s how Cookie Monster made it to the front page for the article.