Legendary New Zealand engineer John Britten, who created one of history's greatest motorbikes, is being honoured in his home city 20 years after his death.

The University of Canterbury today revealed that it will name a College of Engineering building in honour of the trailblazing Christchurch innovator and engineer.

The naming of the John Britten building has the backing of Mr Britten's widow, Kirsteen Britten, just days after marking the 20th anniversary of his death at 45.

"John would have been so honoured to have this wonderful building, a centre of innovation and creativity, named after him and to see the incredible talent that walks through these doors every day."


The John Britten building is home to the Wireless and Spatial Engineering Research Centres and the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HITLab) as well as being the main centre of the College of Engineering.

Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr said Mr Britten's innovations "continue to inspire new generations of inventors to follow their dreams".

Mr Britten's ground-breaking, innovative motorcycle, the V1000 was considered the most influential racing motorcycle of the 1990s, breaking world speed records and winning international races

Only ten of V1000 motorcycles were built and three remain in New Zealand.

Professor Jan Evans-Freeman, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Engineering, said the college was proud to have its main office and central facility named after John Britten.

"While John is best well-known for his achievements with the Britten motorbikes, he was a well-rounded creative talent," she said.

"He was also an architect, builder, glider pilot and fine art glass sculptor.

"It's an honour to be able to name this building after such an exciting engineer and inspire our current and future students to the big things they can achieve whatever discipline they chose to pursue."


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