Sumner clubhouse due to open in October

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A number of surf clubs around New Zealand are in the process of getting upgrades. In a new club rebuild series, we find out how the building project is going in Sumner...

Having a brand new clubhouse to operate out of is starting to feel more like a reality for Sumner Surf Life Saving Club as the building gets closer and closer to completion.

The club was founded in 1911 and was the second Surf Life Saving Club formed in Canterbury. The clubhouse is located at the midpoint of Sumner beach.

The Christchurch earthquake in February 2011 brought forward the need to replace the clubhouse that was originally built in the late 1950s.

The damage done to the club forced the immediate closure of the majority of the building and the patrol room, changing rooms and hall were demolished by August.

Fundraising began immediately to top up a small insurance pay out and to achieve a level of design and quality beyond a traditional 'block and iron roof' building.

The clubhouse is the first building you see when you enter Sumner, so its visual importance was a key factor. Rather than just replacing what they had, the club developed a brief for a design that would function well but also visually respect the surroundings and structurally endure both ocean and earthquake events.

The club then started a journey of four long years of resource consents, building consents, engineering plans, architectural plans and living out of shipping containers.

In December 2014, club patron Tony Johnson ceremoniously 'turned the first sod' on the construction site and work has been steady on site for all of 2015.

The building's foundation is a special design where the slab sits on a gravel raft to allow the building to move in an earthquake. This is protected from the ocean via a series of sand-filled bags along the foundation's seaward edge.

Local architect and Taylor's Mistake club member David Hill created the unique design. The roof is curved and in three long sections which resemble the surrounding sand dunes and wave patterns. The back part of the building is constructed from concrete tilt slab panels that visually anchor the building into the cliff face behind. The front of the building is cedar clad and this will weather off naturally to blend with the sand.

Sitting in the centre of the single storey building is the dedicated patrol tower which is elevated to provide 180 degree views of the beach and water. And surrounding the building will be a designed landscape with concrete pathways, outdoor showers, decking and future links with the yet-to-be-built Christchurch City Council Coastal Pathway project.

The new clubhouse is expected to be fully complete by October, in time for the voluntary weekend patrols that begin in November.

The SLSNZ Christchurch Club Development Officer and Sumner member says the whole club and greater community is looking forward to having the new surf club up and running for the new season.

"The architecture is a real eye-turner and does justice to the multi-million dollar spend the club has invested in its future. It's been a long time coming but we're really pleased with the new design and layout and we can't wait to move in," he says.

To find out more about the rebuild and for regular updates visit the club's Facebook page at

Is your club currently undergoing a rebuild or redevelopment? Please get in touch with some more information.


For more information, please contact:

Lisa Honeybone, Media & Communications Specialist, SLSNZ
Phone 09 303 9335 or 0276 488 823