Orana Wildlife Park is drawing up plans for a new $2million animal enclosure to cope with its latest arrivals - three male gorillas.
New Zealand's first band of gorillas are on track to arrive at the zoo by March 2015.
The star of the show is 210kg male Kibabu, a giant silverback Western Lowland Gorilla, said to have the strength of 11 men.
The current leader of the pack at Sydney's Taronga Zoo, he will be joined by two of his blackback sons, Fataki, 9, and Fuzu, 5, who will cross the Tasman Sea with him in what Orana bosses say will give quaked-out Cantabs a much-needed boost.
"We're very excited, and proud, to bring a first for New Zealand to Christchurch, because my goodness, people here need something to look forward to,'' chief executive Lynn Anderson says.
News that the gorilla programme has not been derailed by the earthquakes, which hit the zoo hard, will be especially welcomed by staff, and the public, after the death of beloved giraffe, Harold, earlier this year.
The popular park is already designing its state-of-the-art gorilla habitat, located by the white rhinos enclosure.
An architect is already drawing up plans, while satellite imaging on site has been done to come up with a large outdoor area to replicate the undulated African jungle.
"They are highly intelligent primates. A lot of thought and expertise needs to be put in to ensuring that their lives are really interesting,'' Ms Anderson says.
A night-den and interior dayroom, both heated to a constant 24 degrees Celsius to withstand the Canterbury winters, will let them chose whether they want to stay inside or out.
It will be surrounded by water moats and visitors will get close up with glass viewing platforms.
Orana Wildlife Park, a charitable trust, has also started fundraising to bring the trio here.
On top of the $2m price-tag to build the enclosure, and transport them here, it will cost around $100,000-a-year to keep them.
But Ms Anderson says they will be worth the investment.
"When February struck, we largely lost our international and domestic visitors, and it's been tough.
"But we're coming out the other end and we believe the gorillas will help encourage tourism back to Canterbury.''
Kibabu arrived at Taronga Zoo in 1996 from Holland, and has since fathered 14 offspring.
Orana is confident they will provide the best home possible. Around six months before Kibabu and his sons arrive, the staff will be given in-depth training on how to handle the massive animals, and sent abroad to study how other facilities operate.
An experienced gorilla keeper from Taronga will travel over with the gorillas and help them settle into their new Christchurch home, staying for four to six weeks to ensure a smooth transition.