A new $56 million cruise ship berth will be built in Lyttelton which has not hosted cruise ships since the 2011 earthquake.
Plans have been released by the Lyttelton Port Company today for the new berth which will be the first custom built cruise ship facility for Christchurch and will be able to accommodate some of the largest cruise liners from around the world.
This means it will be able to berth the world's largest cruise ship, the Oasis of the Seas which is 362 metres long, weights more than 225,000 tonnes and carries around 5,400 people and 2,394 crew.
"The cruise ship berth represents a massive investment in the future of Christchurch and the wider region," said Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel.
"Cruise ships bring a lot of life and economic activity into the city so it is great that Christchurch will have a dedicated facility."
An artist's impression of the Lyttelton cruise ship berth with the Oasis of the Seas at berth.
With Lyttelton unable to host cruise ships for the last few years, cruise ships have been berthing in Akaroa and Ms Dalziel says this has put tremendous pressure on the Banks Peninsula town.
"I'd like to pay tribute to the community there that has enabled Christchurch to stay connected to the cruise industry. This announcement will bring some relief to them," she said.
Lyttelton Port Company Board Chair Trevor Burt says this is a huge project and the port is happy to be able to bring cruise ships back to Lyttelton in time for the 2019-2020 cruise season.
The cruise ship industry was worth $484 million to the New Zealand economy in the 2015-2016 year and is forecast to grow to $490 million in the 2016-2017 season.
The plans for the berth will open up new tourism opportunities for Christchurch, says Tourism Minister Paula Bennett.
"The cruise industry is incredibly valuable to New Zealand tourism, with the number of passengers growing by 48 per cent in the past five years. Without this long-term solution there was a risk larger vessels would choose to bypass Lyttelton and Akaroa, impacting the wider Canterbury region," she said.
In 2015 the Government announced the Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan which allows for works that contribute to the recovery of the port to be undertaken quickly and outlined a $45 million dedicated cruise berth facility.
Ms Bennett says the news follows Auckland Council giving support in principle to extend Queens Wharf to allow larger cruise ships like the Ovation of the Seas to berth, rather than anchor in the harbour.