Ministry Updates

THE BENCHMARK in New Zealand for Night Clubs… Ministry NEEDS your support!

CERA [Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority] has released a city blueprint outlining that they will be seizing Ministry NightClub, demolishing it, and constructing a new bus exchange in its place. Its demise is not the result of quake damage – the choice to demolish is not safety related. Rather, this is a case of over-zealous “forward thinking” and a planning process that has not consulted the people of Christchurch apart from rugby players and conservative old-money families

Even before reconstruction work has started, the engineering assesment of the building places it at 36% of building code, which means even now it is NOT classed as “quake prone”. The building was strengthened back in 1992 when first built, and was damaged mainly by the collapse of the next-door building on top of it

The demands of the planned bus exchange are in all likelihood years away, and they could still go ahead without the narrow strip of land down one side that is occupied by Ministry

Bruce Williamson designed, built and ran Ministry as a labour of love in Lichfield St for more than 20 years. Despite the damage sustained by the quake, the main floor was still salvagable. In fact, Williamson had been working on rebuild plans for the venue for some time and had already lodged a consent for its rebuild, retaining the existing main room but with capacity increased to 1000 in that room and 1350 people on the entire site

Anyone who attended an event at Ministry will understand what it represents to the Chch music scene and what is at stake. SIGN and SHARE this petition. SHOW Cera that ChCh bassheads are citizens too. YOU deserve to have a say about what is to remain when the new city is built!



Ministry management and our builders have had daily site access since earlier this month, even although we are still within the cordoned “red zone”

The damaged first floor has now been stabilised and by the end of September should have been completely removed, and a new roof put back in its place. The photo below shows the scale of the job

In the months that have passed since February’s quake the damage to the main zone of the club in the ground floor has been remarkably light, and due only to water

Work on rebuilding and strengthening the ground floor to meet quake resistance standards which have now more than doubled should be getting underway by November. The main hold-up before that work can start is the wait for geotech reports on ground conditions

Initial architects concept plans for the club including a temporary courtyard and bar area using shipping containers have been completed.  This will occupy the northern 40% of the site where “Cruz” used to stand. That portion of the site has been fully demolished now, but was a completely separate building from Ministry

As soon as some more fine-tuning of these drawings has been completed we will post them here

Things are starting to get exciting!







GONE !!!!!




The latest shakes on June 13 have caused no further damage to Ministry, but they have hastened the process of getting the old front building demo’d, so that brings us one step closer to securing and repairing the main zone

No longer can our insurance company piss about with making decisions, and the guvment is now getting things moving ….. about 3 months later than should have happened!


This is what part of a CERA demolition order looks like – there are a lot of them being issued, and not everyone is getting to keep the parts of their buildings that they wanted to, nor to demolish in the manner they would like, either

Extract from CERA demolition order


(click the image for clarity)

I found a pulse!

Just as we thought, the patient is well

We have the technology, we can repair her!

First Pics Inside Ministry Main Zone taken 17 April 2011

We always knew it would take more than another building falling on top to take out our bunker!


SO, Mr Civil Defense – LET US IN TO REBUILD !!!!



Thursday March 30 2011


Time to give Christchurch back to locals

The creation of a Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority comes not a moment too soon.

The frustration of business owners still excluded from the most damaged sector of central Christchurch last week was a sign that it is time to remove the grip of Civil Defence and return the city to those who will rebuild it.

The new authority, Cera as it will be known, may not much empower the citizens but it will be obliged to set up a “forum” of 20 local representatives and keep in touch with Ngai Tahu, business organisations and the wider community.

More influence than that, Christchurch can not expect. The Government is providing the money for the rebuilding of infrastructure and it is answerable for how the money is spent.

Cera will use the emergency powers bestowed on its minister, Gerry Brownlee, after the first big quake in September, giving it exemptions from statutory rules and procedures when it wants them, but an independent panel under a retired High Court judge will be established to assess its requests.

Confidence in the authority would be higher if Mr Brownlee had been able to launch it with somebody to take charge of it for its full five-year mission rather than the temporary appointment of a deputy State Services Commissioner for the time being.

The commission hopes to finalise a permanent appointment within five weeks but in the meantime John Ombler will set up the organisation and appoint key staff.

It sounds more like a government department than the sort of agency that will get things done quickly. The roads and services of central Christchurch need to be restored quickly if it is to be restored to commercial life.

The authority may need to keep its focus clearly on the essentials and ignore any pressure to try to remodel the city on concepts of architectural or environmental opportunism.

The best hope for Christchurch’s recovery starts with the kind of people who were trying to break the cordon last week. Many of them may have been seeking to recover records and stock to relocate their business somewhere out of the central city but many of them sound keen to remain in the centre if they can.

They may see many more possibilities than a government agency is likely to notice and find faster ways to make the best of buildings that remain.

More of them seem to be getting access to the “red zone” this week. If Civil Defence has drawn a lesson from the unfortunate scenes at the cordon, it is a lesson that ought to be written into its manual.

One of the predictable needs in the aftermath of a major earthquake is arrangements for business owners to have some sort of access to hastily abandoned shops, offices and showrooms once the urgent work is done.

A month has proved to be too long to ask them to wait. They knew the rescue and recovery phase was over but did not know any more.

Rumours flew that demolition crews were inside the cordon and drastic decisions were being made by zealots for public safety. Rumour had it that work crews were helping themselves to booty in condemned buildings.

A state of emergency necessarily puts all property in the zone under the authority of Civil Defence, and authority can be hard to relinquish. That is a lesson Cera could take from the cordon tension too.

The legislation governing it has yet to be seen, but for five years it is likely to have a free hand to do what it thinks necessary. Mr Brownlee has indicated it will have an annual review, which suggests it could be wound up as soon as infrastructure is restored.

In the end, Christchurch must be allowed to build the city it wants. Cera should start with that end clear.


If you can’t have the real thing ..

Engineer’s reports are almost completed on our old Lichfield Street site and buildings, and our plan is still to repair in part, and rebuild in part on that site

The main room of Ministry is exactly as we last saw it – all prepared for the Optimus Gryme and Upbeats gigs which had been planned for the 2 weekends shortly after the quake.  Sad ……… but life goes on

The Upbeats – Carousel ft Kemo -

Big Skeleton – Non Vogue.


We have been kicking around some really exciting short-term as well as long-term plans for what can be done there, but of course the biggest factor in how fast we move will be just how long it will be before ANYONE is back in the heart of the CBD?

Next summer would be nice.  Please, Mr Civil Defense?

One thing we know for sure – people will always want to party, and Ministry is far from walking away from being one huge part and the longest-running part of that partying scene these last 20 years.  If Christchurch has any future at all then we will be right there in the middle of it!



What we know so far…

We have limited knowledge so far of the exact state of our buildings, but we know this much:

We are surprised how strong the old front part of the Ministry buildings have been, and in fact really pleased with how well the earthquake strengthening work that had been done over the years has performed.  If people had been in Ministry when the quake hit then they would have walked out!  That’s what it is all about, after all.

Damage has mainly been confined to the older front building and this has largely come from collapse of the unstrengthened Bains building next door, which has lost its entire 2nd floor, a lot of it obviously onto and through our roof. The main Ministry dance zone at the ground floor of the newer rear building appears undamaged.

Ministry is far from gone for good, and in fact this is now a great opportunity to perhaps redevelop the site around the much-loved main zone, a place for which hundreds of thousands of partygoers have fond memories of gigs dating back as far as 1992

Our glass is definitely half-full, and not half-empty!

Bruce and Tony


Earthquake 22 February

We are all alive and well, and we will be back soon.

Meanwhile contact us on