New Regent Street is a boutique shopping and heritage pedestrian mall in Christchurch.
The street is located between Gloucester and Armagh Streets with a number of cafés, bars, retail and beauty shops.
New Regent Street opened during the Depression on April 1st 1932 as a beacon of hope for the people of Christchurch. Over a 3 year period the area that was previously a skating rink was transformed into a terraced street with Spanish Mission style architecture and a pastel colour scheme. Harry Francis Willis designed the two rows of shops that lined the street. Over the years some of the shops were amalgamated to form larger shops. Today there are 38 shops on the street.
Following the Second World War, the area became a public road. In 1986 it became a one-way street before becoming a pedestrian mall with a tram line in 1994.
After the Christchurch Earthquakes the buildings were restored and interiors refurbished. New Regent Street reopened on the 20th April 2013, 81 years after its first opening. The street is being marketed as a boutique shopping, entertainment and heritage destination. Since its reopening many businesses have unfortunately come and gone as the heritage precinct struggles to finds its feet during the city’s rebuild.
In November 2013 the tram line reopened bringing more tourists to the area. The tram travels along Gloucester St down New Regent Street across Armagh Street to Cathedral Junction – which is also worth visiting.
At its opening Christchurch Mayor D.G. Sullivan described New Regent Street as “the most beautiful street in New Zealand.” While it may not quite be that, it definitely has a beauty and charm.