A shipping container mall is the first part of Christchurch's red zone to open for business.

A total of 27 businesses including the well-known Ballantynes department store opened their doors today in Cashel Mall, which was devastated by the February 22 earthquake.

Prime Minister John Key, who opened the mall, said it was great news for Cantabrians and retailers who were determined to get their businesses up and running.

"This is an important step in re-opening the CBD red zone to residents and retailers alike, and gives more certainty to people as they look to the future of this great city,'' he said.


The temporary container shops are part of the Restart the Heart initiative, which received a $3.36 million interest free loan from the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal to help relocate displaced businesses.