Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 381,800 residents, making it New Zealand's third most-populous urban area behind Auckland and Wellington.
The city was named by the Canterbury Association, which settled the surrounding province of Canterbury. The name of Christchurch was agreed on at the first meeting of the association on 27 March 1848. It was suggested by John Robert Godley, who had attended Christ Church, Oxford. Some early writers called the town Christ Church, but it was recorded as Christchurch in the minutes of the management committee of the association. Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand.
The river that flows through the centre of the city (its banks now largely forming an urban park) was named Avon at the request of the pioneering Deans brothers after the Scottish River Avon, which rises in the Ayrshire hills near what was their grandfather's farm and flows into the Clyde.
The usual Māori name for Christchurch is Ōtautahi ("the place of Tautahi"). This was originally the name of a specific site by the Avon River near present-day Kilmore Street and the Christchurch Central Fire Station. The site was a seasonal dwelling of Ngāi Tahu chief Te Potiki Tautahi, whose main home was Port Levy on Banks Peninsula. The Ōtautahi name was adopted in the 1930s. Prior to that the Ngāi Tahu generally referred to the Christchurch area as Karaitiana, a transliteration of the English word Christian.
|POPULATION :||• Territorial 367,800|
• Urban 381,800
|TIME ZONE :||• Time zone NZST (UTC+12)|
• Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
|LANGUAGE :||English (official), Maori (official), Sign Language (official)|
|AREA :||• Territorial 1,426 km2 (551 sq mi)|
• Urban 607.73 km2 (234.65 sq mi)
|ELEVATION :||Highest elevation 920 m (3,020 ft)|
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
|COORDINATES :||43°31′48″S 172°37′13″E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.2%|
• Female: 50.8%
|AREA CODE :||03|
|POSTAL CODE :||8011, 8013, 8014, 8022, 8023, 8024, 8025, 8041, 8042, 8051, 8052, 8053, 8061, 8062, 8081, 8082, 8083|
|DIALING CODE :||+64 3|
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and the third most-populous urban area in the country. As well as having the most attractions of any place in the South Island, it's the major international entry point for visiting the rest of the island. It is on the east coast of the South Island, and is the centre of the Canterbury region.
Christchurch is recovering and rebuilding after a large earthquake in February 2011 that severely damaged the city, killed 185 people and displaced many more. Bits of the city may be off limits due to reconstruction work, but most of the city and region are open for business and the city remains the main gateway to the South Island.
Christchurch is a distinctly English city, however it contains various European elements, with strong Gothic Revival architecture. As early settlers of New Zealand,Māori culture is also prevalent in the city. It features many public open spaces and parks, river beds and cafes and restaurants situated in the city centre and surrounding suburbs.
Site Visitor Centre
i-Site Visitor Centre, Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave (next to Canterbury Museum), , toll-free: 0800 423 783, e-mail:[email protected]. Daily 08:30-17:00. Free booking service for accommodation, activities and transport.
Archaeological evidence found in a cave at Redcliffs in 1876 has indicated that the Christchurch area was first settled by moa-hunting tribes about 1250 CE. These first inhabitants were thought to have been followed by the Waitaha tribe, who are said to have migrated from the East coast of the North Island in the 16th century. Following tribal warfare, the Waitaha (made of three peoples) were dispossessed by the Ngati Mamoe tribe. They were in turn subjugated by the Ngāi Tahu tribe, who remained in control until the arrival of European settlers. Following the purchase of land at Putaringamotu (modern Riccarton) by the Weller brothers, whalers of Otago and Sydney, a party of European settlers led by Herriott and McGillivray established themselves in what is now Christchurch, early in 1840. Their abandoned holdings were taken over by the Deans brothers in 1843 who stayed. The First Four Ships were chartered by the Canterbury Association and brought the first 792 of the Canterbury Pilgrims to Lyttelton Harbour. These sailing vessels were the Randolph, Charlotte Jane, Sir George Seymour, and Cressy. TheCharlotte Jane was the first to arrive on 16 December 1850. The Canterbury Pilgrims had aspirations of building a city around a cathedral and college, on the model of Christ Church in Oxford.
The name "Christ Church" was decided prior to the ships' arrival, at the Association's first meeting, on 27 March 1848. The exact basis for the name is not known. It has been suggested that it is named for Christchurch, in Dorset, England; for Canterbury Cathedral; or in honour of Christ Church, Oxford. The last explanation is the one generally accepted.
Captain Joseph Thomas, the Canterbury Association's Chief Surveyor, surveyed the surrounding area. By December 1849 he had commissioned the construction of a road from Port Cooper, later Lyttelton, to Christchurch via Sumner. However this proved more difficult than expected and road construction was stopped while a steep foot and pack horse track was constructed over the hill between the port and the Heathcote valley, where access to the site of the proposed settlement could be gained. This track became known as the Bridle Path, because the path was so steep that pack horses needed to be led by the bridle. Goods that were too heavy or bulky to be transported by pack horse over the Bridle Path were shipped by small sailing vessels some eight miles (13 km) by water around the coast and up the estuary to Ferrymead. New Zealand's first public railway line, the Ferrymead railway, opened from Ferrymead to Christchurch in 1863. Due to the difficulties in travelling over the Port Hills and the dangers associated with shipping navigating the Sumner bar, a railway tunnel was bored through the Port Hills to Lyttelton, opening in 1867.
Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, the first in New Zealand. Many of the city's Gothic Revival buildings by architect Benjamin Mountfort date from this period. Christchurch was the seat of provincial administration for the Province of Canterbury, which was abolished in 1876. In 1947, New Zealand's worst fire disaster occurred at Ballantyne's Department Store in the inner city, with 41 people killed in a blaze which razed the rambling collection of buildings. The Lyttelton road tunnel between Lyttelton and Christchurch was opened in 1964. Christchurch hosted the 1974 British Commonwealth Games.
On Saturday 4 September 2010, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Christchurch and the central Canterbury region at 4:35 am. Located near Darfield, west of the city at a depth of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), it caused widespread damage to the city and minor injuries, but no direct fatalities.
Nearly six months later on Tuesday 22 February 2011, a second earthquake measuring magnitude 6.3 struck the city at 12:51 pm. It was located closer to the city, near Lyttelton at a depth of 5 km (3 mi). Although lower on the moment magnitude scale than the previous earthquake, the intensity and violence of the ground shaking was measured to be IX (Violent), among the strongest ever recorded globally in an urban area and in total 185 people were killed. People from more than 20 countries were among the victims. The city's iconic ChristChurch Cathedral was severely damaged and lost its spire.The collapse of the CTV Building resulted in the majority of fatalities. Widespread damage across Christchurch resulted in loss of homes, major buildings and infrastructure. Significant liquefaction affected the eastern suburbs, and the total cost to insurers of rebuilding has been estimated at NZ$20–30 billion.
On 13 June 2011 Christchurch was hit by two more large aftershocks. A magnitude 5.6 quake at a depth of 9 km (6 mi) hit at 1:00 pm in the general location of Sumner, Christchurch. This was followed by another quake at magnitude 6.3 with a depth of 6 km (4 mi) at 2:20 pm again in the general location of Sumner, Christchurch. There were no fatalities though it resulted in further liquefaction and building damage.
There were further earthquakes on 23 December 2011; the first, of magnitude 5.8 according to the US Geological Survey, 26 km (16 mi) north-east of the city at a depth of 4.7 km (2.9 mi), at 13:58, followed by several aftershocks and another earthquake of magnitude 6.0 and similar location 80 minutes later, with more aftershocks expected. St John Ambulance reported after the two quakes that there were minor injuries at homes and businesses but no serious injuries and few indications of building collapses at the time.Christchurch Airport was briefly closed. There were power and water outages at New Brighton and severe damage to the Parklands region, including roads and footpaths.
Christchurch was again rattled awake on 2 January 2012; the first; a magnitude 5.1 struck at 01:27 followed five minutes later by a magnitude 4.2 aftershock; a second larger earthquake struck at 05:45 with a magnitude of 5.5. This caused power outages to the eastern suburbs of Parklands, New Brighton, Shirley, Dallington, Burwood, Spencerville and Richmond; this affected around 10,000 homes.
4,558 earthquakes were recorded in the Canterbury region above a magnitude 3.0, from 4 September 2010 to 3 September 2014.
Over 1000 buildings in the CBD, were demolished following the earthquakes.
The city has been experiencing rapid growth following the earthquakes, with the central city rebuild, which is outlined in the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan, starting to ramp up, and massive growth in the residential sector, with around 50,000 new houses expected to be constructed in the Greater Christchurch area by 2028, as outlined in the Land Use Recovery Plan (LURP).
Gateway to the Antarctic
Christchurch has a history of involvement in Antarctic exploration–bothRobert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton used the port of Lyttelton as a departure point for expeditions, and in the central city there is a statue of Scott sculpted by his widow, Kathleen Scott. Within the city, the Canterbury Museum preserves and exhibits many historic artefacts and stories of Antarctic exploration. Christchurch International Airport serves as the major base for the New Zealand, Italian and United States Antarctic programs.
The International Antarctic Centre provides both base facilities and a museum and visitor centre focused upon current Antarctic activities. The United States Navy and latterly the United States Air National Guard, augmented by the New Zealand and Australian air forces, use Christchurch Airport as take-off for the main supply route to McMurdo and Scott Bases in Antarctica. The Clothing Distribution Center (CDC) in Christchurch, had more than 140,000 pieces of extreme cold weather (ECW) gear for issue to nearly 2,000 U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) participants in the 2007–08 season.
Christchurch has a temperate climate with moderate rainfall. It has mean daily maximum air temperatures of 22.5 °C (73 °F) in January and 11.3 °C (52 °F) in July. Under the Köppen climate classification, Christchurch has an oceanic climate (Cfb). Summer in the city is mostly warm but is often moderated by a sea breeze from the Northeast. A record temperature of 41.6 °C (107 °F) was reached in February 1973. A notable feature of the weather is the nor'wester, a hot föhn wind that occasionally reaches storm force, causing widespread minor damage to property. Christchurch experiences the urban heat island phenomenon, similar to cities such as Tokyo, London and New York City, making temperatures feel warmer than they actually are within the inner city regions.
In winter it is common for the temperature to fall below 0 °C (32 °F) at night. There are on average 80 days of ground frost per year. Snowfalls occur on average three times per year, although in some years no snowfall is recorded. The coldest temperature recorded was −7.1 °C (19 °F) on 18 July 1945, the third lowest recorded temperature of New Zealand's major cities.
On cold winter nights, the surrounding hills, clear skies, and frosty calm conditions often combine to form a stable inversion layer above the city that traps vehicle exhausts and smoke from domestic fires to cause smog. While not as bad as smog in Los Angeles or Mexico City, Christchurch smog has often exceeded World Health Organisation recommendations for air pollution. To limit air pollution, the regional council banned the use of open fires in the city in 2006. In 2008 council prohibited the use of woodburners more than 15 years old, while making funding available to upgrade domestic home heating systems.
Climate data for Christchurch
|Record high °C (°F)||35.9|
|Average high °C (°F)||22.4|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||17.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||11.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||3.0|
|Source #1: CliFlo|
|Source #2: Time and Date (potential monthly daylight hours)|
Christchurch lies in Canterbury, near the centre of the east coast of the South Island, east of theCanterbury Plains. It is located near the southern end of Pegasus Bay, and is bounded to the east by the Pacific Ocean coast and the estuaryof the Avon and Heathcote Rivers. To the south and south-east the urban portion of the city is limited by the volcanic slopes of the Port Hills separating it from Banks Peninsula. In 2006, Banks Peninsula was incorporated into the city, in effect tripling the city's land area while adding only about 8,000 people to the city's population. To the north the city is bounded by the braided Waimakariri River.
Christchurch is one of only eight pairs of cities in the world that have near-exact antipodal cities. Half of these antipodal pairs are in New Zealand and Spain/Morocco–with A Coruña, Spain as Christchurch's antipode.
Christchurch is one of a group of only four cities in the world to have been carefully planned following the same layout of a central city square, four complementing city squares surrounding it and a parklands area that embrace the city centre. The first city built with this pattern was Philadelphia. Later came Savannah and Adelaide, before Christchurch. As such, Christchurch holds an important legacy and a strong platform for future development.
Christchurch has one of the highest-quality water supplies in the world, with its water rated among the purest and cleanest in the world. Untreated, naturally filtered water is sourced, via more than 50 pumping stations surrounding the city, from aquifers emanating from the foothills of the Southern Alps.
The agricultural industry has always been the economic core of Christchurch. The city has long had industry based on the surrounding farming country – part of the original "package" New Zealand was sold to immigrants as. PGG Wrightson, New Zealand's leading agribusiness, is based in Christchurch. Its local roots go back to Pyne Gould Guinness, an old stock and station agency serving the South Island. That firm helped take deer farming techniques abroad. PGG Wrightson's overseas diversification includes dairy farming in Uruguay. Other agribusinesses in Christchurch have included malting, seed development and dressing, wool and meat processing, and small biotechnology operations using by-products from meat works. Dairying has grown strongly in the surrounding areas with high world prices for milk products and the use of irrigation to lift grass growth on dry land. With its higher labour use this has helped stop declines in rural population. Many cropping and sheep farms have been converted to dairying. Conversions have been by agribusiness companies as well as by farmers, many of whom have moved south from North Island dairying strongholds such as Taranaki and the Waikato.
Cropping has always been important in the surrounding countryside. Wheat and barley and various strains of clover and other grasses for seed exporting have been the main crops. These have all created processing businesses in Christchurch. In recent years, regional agriculture has diversified, with a thriving wine industry springing up at Waipara, and beginnings of new horticulture industries such as olive production and processing. Deer farming has led to new processing using antlers for Asian medicine and aphrodisiacs. The high quality local wine in particular has increased the appeal of Canterbury and Christchurch to tourists.
Christchurch is the second largest manufacturing centre in New Zealand behind Auckland, the sector being the second largest contributor to the local economy, with firms such as Anderson's making steel work for bridges, tunnels, and hydro-electric dams in the early days of infrastructure work. Now manufacturing is mainly of light products and the key market is Australia, with firms such as those pioneered by the Stewart family among the larger employers. Before clothing manufacture largely moved to Asia, Christchurch was the centre of the New Zealand clothing industry, with firms such as LWR Industries. The firms that remain mostly design and market, and manufacture in Asia. The city also had five footwear manufacturers, but these have been replaced by imports.
In the last few decades, technology-based industries have sprung up in Christchurch. Angus Tait founded Tait Electronics, a mobile-radio manufacturer, and other firms spun off from this, such as Dennis Chapman's Swichtec. In software, Gil Simpson founded a company that made LINC and Jade programming languages and a management buyout spawned local firm Wynyard Group.
There have also been spin-offs from the electrical department of the University of Canterbury engineering school. These included Pulse Data, which became Human Ware (making reading devices and computers for blind people and those with limited vision) and CES Communications (encryption). The Pulse Data founders had moved from the Canterbury University engineering school to work for Wormald Inc. when they set up Pulse Data through a Management buyout of their division.
In recent times, the University of Canterbury engineering school and computer science department play an important role in supplying staff and research for the technology industries, and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology provides a flow of trained technicians and engineers. Locally and nationally, the IT sector is known not for its size (the third largest in New Zealand) but for producing innovative and entrepreneurial solutions, products and concepts.
Nearby Lincoln University has played an important role in Christchurch agribusiness.
Tourism is also a significant factor of the local economy. The close proximity of the ski fields and other attractions of the Southern Alps, and hotels, a casino, and an airport that meet international standards make Christchurch a stopover destination for many tourists. The city is popular with Japanese tourists,with signage around Cathedral Square in Japanese.
(clockwise, starting north of the city centre)
- St Martins
- Upper Riccarton
- St Albans
(clockwise, starting north of the city centre)
- Bottle Lake
- Waimairi Beach
- North New Brighton
- New Brighton
- Bexley (now largely defunct)
- South Brighton
- Mt Pleasant
- Moncks Bay
- Richmond Hill
- Scarborough Hill
- Heathcote Valley
- Murray Aynsley
- Hoon Hay
- Kennedys Bush
- Knight Stream Park
- Hei Hei
- Hyde Park
- Regents Park
- Styx Mill
- Groynes Park
- Governors Bay
- Diamond Harbour
- Tai Tapu
- Little River
- West Melton
- Pegasus Town
- Pines Beach