partner owner, Jen Crawford
, has played an instrumental part in what is believed to be the largest heritage restoration project of its kind currently being undertaken in the world.
Originally from Southland, Crawford started out in Bell Gully
’s Auckland office, before heading overseas for a stint at Freshfields in the UK. The resource management specialist now lives in Christchurch and has been on the Arts Centre of Christchurch board since 2010 (Chair since 2012).
“I have always had a strong interest in heritage and the arts,” she tells NZ Lawyer. “My role at the Arts Centre has enabled me to combine my specialist legal skills as a project consenting lawyer with my training as a historian (holding a first class Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in History).”
She says some of the biggest challenges, from a legal perspective, in restoring the Arts Centre of Christchurch have involved resolving the insurance claim after the earthquakes.
“The restoration project itself is complex and challenging,” says Crawford. “It is a major undertaking. The project involves 22 heritage buildings and is believed to be the largest of its kind currently being undertaken in the world. The Arts Centre restoration will play a central role in rebuilding the cultural heart of the city as we recover from the earthquakes.
“Significant planning and work is also underway to enable the Arts Centre to achieve a vision for the future. The goal is to create a hub of creative entrepreneurs in the heart of Christchurch.”
Crawford says the trust is also in the process of reviewing its government arrangements, which involves special legislation.
“The Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust Bill was recently introduced in Parliament. This Bill is about protecting the Arts Centre for the future. It reflects the local, national, and international heritage significance of the site [and] will provide legal foundations for the trust board to continue to be able to recover from the impact of the earthquakes. It sets out the objects of the trust in legislation and reflects the cultural and heritage significance of the Arts Centre. This work has been challenging and time consuming, but extremely rewarding as it has enabled us to reconnect with our stakeholders and the general community.”
Crawford and her family live on a lifestyle block on the outskirts of Christchurch and enjoys painting and snow sports in her spare time.
“I have been involved in (mainly social) downhill ski racing since the early 1980s,” she says. “I compete in the Mt Hutt Masters each year and am also a member of the Anderson Lloyd ski team that competes at the annual Lawyers vs Accountants ski race in Canterbury, which is a hotly contested event between the two professions!”
Crawford’s recent career highlights include:
- Being the lead consenting advisor to Foodstuffs South Island Ltd for several years, which has involved the fast-track redevelopment of supermarkets damaged by the Canterbury earthquakes and advising on the recently-consented Wakatipu PAK'n SAVE in Queenstown, following years of complex litigation.
- Advising on the Portlink Industrial Park, Lake Hood Extension Project, Rangitata South Irrigation Scheme (which reached the construction stage last year) and securing permanent approval in March for a temporary retail "container mall" that was set up in a suburb of Christchurch following the earthquakes.
“I am kept busy right now in the water/agri space in my capacity as a specialist in environmental due diligence, acting for a number of international investors looking to get into Canterbury with significant farm purchases and also leading the consenting of the Waimea Augmentation Scheme in Tasman District,” says Crawford.