Manawa - Health Research Education Facility, Christchurch

Manawa - Health Research Education Facility, Christchurch

Manawa, the health research and education facility, is a collaboration between Christchurch’s health and tertiary education sectors, bringing together the Canterbury District Health Board (Canterbury DHB), Ara Institute of Canterbury and University of Canterbury (UC).

Client Huada Construction, John Fairhall and Bert Govan

Dates - June 2018

More Info


This $26 million facility is the first private sector building to be constructed in Christchurch’s new Health Precinct, adjacent to the Christchurch Hospital. The seven-storey building is home to more than 2,000 Ara nursing, midwifery and medical imaging students along with Canterbury District Health Board education and development staff. The University of Canterbury and Otago University staff will also have a presence.

The building was developed by the NewUrban Group, a joint venture between Chinese property and development company Huadu Construction and New Zealand investors John Fairhall and Bert Govan.  The company is led in New Zealand by former Christchurch Mayor, Sir Bob Parker.



Southbase was engaged to construct this build from piling stage upwards. The building was constructed using 28-metre polymer piles, which were driven into intensely liquefiable soils. The build comprises of suspended floors built over ground beams, supported off the pile foundations. The central core was constructed from tilt panels that included a precast plant deck and buckle resistant braces, blending into the architectural aspect to strengthen the structure.

Southbase influenced the design of the exterior façade, which was incorporated with the tenant’s fit-out requirements. The build breaches from both east and west boundary lines, with the inclusion of an extensive landscaped arena at the rear of the build.


Key Project Facts

Total Project Value: $26M

Challenging foundation bearing into ground conditions that are intensely liquefiable.

Foundations pass through Riccarton gravels, with the bearing capacity of the pile passing through varying inconsistences of shallow and deep aquifers.