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Christchurch’s sizzle-seller to receive honorary doctorate

Christchurch’s sizzle-seller to receive honorary doctorate at Canterbury

April 11, 2014

One of Christchurch’s most passionate business people leading the city’s rebuild will receive an honorary doctorate at next week University of Canterbury graduation ceremonies.

Christchurch property investor and entrepreneur Antony Gough will become Doctor of Commerce for his significant contribution to the post-quake development of Christchurch’s central city.

He is best known in Christchurch for creating The Strip, a stretch of bars and restaurants on Oxford Terrace that became a popular social precinct and tourist destination along the Avon River.

He is a strong supporter of the city’s rebuild following the earthquakes. As chairman of the Central City Business Association, Gough was instrumental in establishing the Re:Start container mall in Cashel Street.

He has begun a $140 million redevelopment project centred on his former Oxford Terrace precinct. This mixed-use Terrace development will be built around a central courtyard containing bars, restaurants, shops, a hotel, apartments and offices. When completed, it will include 40,000 square metres of built space where up to 2000 people will work. The creation of The Terrace precinct is seen as pivotal to the rebuild of the central city.

Gough graduated from Canterbury in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree (Honours) with a special interest in nuclear physics.

``My University of Canterbury degree has helped me enormously in what I have been doing in Christchurch. I did a nuclear physics honours degree and it gave me the confidence that I could achieve anything.

``I did maths first year but got better marks in physics so jumped ship and did that and got invited to do honours. University taught me not to be locked into one direction but to look at options. The University was a great training ground. I learned to go the direct route and not muck around but out what really matters.

Since the earthquakes, I have felt a stronger and unwavering commitment to the city because Christchurch will be a brilliant place for students to live in as the rebuild takes effect.

``I feel positive about Christchurch and I’m a sizzle-seller for the city and the university. The place has been dealt a really tough blow just because of the earthquakes.

``But the University of Canterbury has a fantastic name in New Zealand. We have just got to give confidence to the younger set that there is a social life here which is important for young people. Hopefully that’s what I am going to give them – a social life that is world-class. I feel a loyalty to this city. It’s like a marriage, you have to live through the good times and the bad times.

``The bad times are an opportunity to re-evaluate and do something better. When one door closes another one opens. I have had to re-invent myself as a developer. I’m always up for a challenge which always harps back to my university days. The grounding the university gave me has been totally invaluable.

``I had 12 buildings within the four avenues. I have zero left. That was a big hit. They were totally demolished. They are not here. That is a huge knock. Basically all my income got swept off the table and I have had to restart from nothing.

``We’ll start to see students returning to Christchurch with a vengeance. I see first year domestic and international student numbers are beginning to grow again so it’s really great. This is going to be just a fantastic city to be in.

``It’s exciting that the University will be able to deliver good graduates for the city for the future. Being an honorary doctor of the University of Canterbury is something I never expected. I’m absolutely delighted and chuffed. I’m not going to be any different. I’m still Antony Gough and that is really important.’’


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