Proposed John Jameson Lookout

Our Vision

To enhance the carpark opposite the Sign of the Bellbird through the addition of a low stone wall, a lookout area, steps down to Ohinetahi Reserve and native plantings. The view out over Lyttelton Harbour is iconic and this development aims to enhance this experience.


For a number of years, the Society has proposed enhancing the carpark area opposite the Sign of the Bellbird above Ohinetahi Reserve. Discussions were underway when the earthquakes struck and this project was placed on hold.

Over the last year, this project has been gathering momentum. A series of concept drawings were prepared and circulated for feedback. A feedback session was held with Society members in early December 2019. We also sought feedback from a number of other key stakeholders and partners.

This feedback and the results of an engineering survey informed the next version of these concept drawings. These drawings are shown below. These are advanced concepts and will be developed as we progress into the project design phase.

We are working in partnership with the Christchurch City Council. The carpark is owned and managed by the Council and the new lookout area is on Ohinetahi Reserve.

We are very grateful to landscape architects Graham Densem and Nic Kaye and engineering firm Davie Lovell-Smith for their assistance with this project.

Goals of the project

  • To increase knowledge and enjoyment of the area
  • To maximise views over the harbour
  • To facilitate access to Ohinetahi Reserve
  • To complement the existing heritage and natural features
  • To minimise anti-social behaviour
  • To remember John Jameson and his advocacy for the Port Hills

Concept Drawings

3D image towards Lyttelton Harbour

3D image towards the Sign of the Bellbird

Developed site plan

Progress to date

The Society now has 55% of the funding required for this project, thanks to donations and legacies to the Society and the Harry Ell Summit Road Memorial Trust and a significant grant from the CCC Capital Endowment Fund. The Society is currently seeking grants and donations for the remaining amount, so if you would like to donate, please go to our Donations & Bequests page here. Please contact us if you are keen to help.

Naming the area

John Jameson was the grandson of Harry Ell. Harry Ell was an MP and Christchurch City Councillor. It is thanks to his legacy that we have the network of reserves on the Port Hills, the Summit Road and the four rest houses.

Following WWII, John was horrified to discover that the reserves had been grazed and logged and the rest houses had been vandalised. He pushed for the creation of a protection society and in 1948 the Summit Road Society was formed.

John was a leading figure in the Society for many years and was awarded Honorary Life Membership in 1983. He had long advocated for the enhancement of the carpark area above Ohinetahi Reserve.

John passed away in 2018 at the age of 97 after a long life of service.

The Board of the Society has decided to name the area the John Jameson Lookout in recognition of John’s extraordinary contribution to the Port Hills, to the Summit Road Society and to the people of Christchurch.

John Jameson