understorey /ˈʌndəstɔːri/ noun COMMUNITY a gathering place where creativity thrives and authentic connection is abundant.
“a space-based initiative at the Arts Centre Gym – Understorey”

We invite you to join us as we pilot a new type of space in the heart of Ōtautahi Christchurch. Understorey is the latest project from The Green Lab: a free to access, community, events, co-working, and collaboration space. 

For six weeks from August 18th, the stunning Arts Centre Gym will be transformed into a social space where people can come together and just be in the central city, without having to purchase anything. In this first iteration of the project, we invite you to connect with change organisations, community groups, innovators, entrepreneurs, and creatives alike.

We know the past couple of years have wrought big changes to the ways we work and connect with each other. This project brings a range of people together,  tests ways of sharing space, and hopes to support a flourishing, wellbeing-focused economy.  The multi-function space will be fit out with creative furniture that supports connection and collaboration (including our Green Connection Pod), and of course, plenty of plants delivering all the wellbeing benefits that come from being surrounded by them.

“Plants thrive in a complex world by communicating, sharing resources and transforming their environments” (Montgomery, 2021); humans are much the same. In a healthy forest  ecosystem, the understory is the layer between the ground and the canopy. Home to rich biodiversity which nurtures new generations of saplings, the understory makes important contributions to the stability of the ecosystem. At The Green Lab, we see our role as tending to the community understorey in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

During the day and often into the evenings over the six week pop-up, we will be hosting events, conversations, and opportunities to join community groups, innovators and organisations as they share with us all what they love to do.  

The Green Lab’s fit-out in this unique heritage space will be officially opened on 18th August 2021. You don’t have to wait until then to become part of the project though. In line with our co-design approach, we welcome you to connect with us as we co-create this new way of coming together in the central city. Keep an eye on The Green Lab’s  social media as we share more details and reveal a packed programme of events. 

understorey is a pilot project; The Green Lab’s dream is to find a permanent home supported by a sustainable business model. The pilot is supported by the COVID Lotteries Response, Christchurch City Council, and The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora


Come be for free in the city – drop by and hang out in the lounge space or the connection pod – they’re great for kōrero! Tamariki are welcome with supervision, and we invite rangatahi to join us in the space. 


Got an idea for an event you want to hold, or a future project you’d like to discuss? Do you have skills you’d like to share?  Get in touch. 


Need a home-away-from-home-office plant haven to work in from time to time? Join us at understorey – we’ll have wifi and a small kitchenette set up for you to use. Having a meeting in town? Bring them to understorey and make use of our meeting area or our Connection Pod. 

Join our community 

Want to be more hands on? We’ve got various volunteering opportunities up coming at understorey – read about the roles here, and register your interest here. 

We’re a small non-profit with big dreams; whilst we have some funding for understorey, every little bit helps. We invite you to support us by making a donation. All donations support The Green Lab to continue our wellbeing mahi in Ōtautahi. 

Thanks to our sponsors:

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