Cities for Peace: The Case of Christchurch

The 10th International Conference of Museums for Peace

Title: Cities for Peace: The Case of Christchurch

Author: Marcus Coll, Disarmament and Security Centre | University of Canterbury

Abstract: This presentation describes the role that Peace Cities can play in conveying memories for future generations. A case study of Christchurch, New Zealand will demonstrate how cities themselves can act as a ‘living’ peace museum through the creation of physical and digital spaces for peace to be projected into the community. Christchurch became New Zealand’s first Peace City in 2002, marking the 20th anniversary as the country’s first Nuclear Free City in 1982. This consolidated Christchurch’s long peace history and demonstrated its commitment to actively fostering a peaceful future through a range of community initiatives. Peace proposals adopted by the Christchurch City Council include establishing a World Peace Bell, gifting a Peace Sculpture to the city of Nagasaki, granting Peace Awards, exhibiting material at the Canterbury Museum about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Gandhi and New Zealand’s Nuclear Free legislation, creating Peace and Disarmament collections in the City and University Libraries, and creating online content documenting the city’s rich peace heritage. Christchurch continues its connection with Hiroshima and Nagasaki through its membership in the Mayors for Peace network and in the wake of the Christchurch Mosque Shootings of March 15, 2019, the city’s strong commitment to Peace has become ever more important.