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 394,700 residents, making it New Zealand’s third most-populous city behind Auckland and Wellington.
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. 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. 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 kilometers/6.2 miles), it caused widespread damage to the city and minor injuries, but no direct fatalities.
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. 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 The city also had five footwear manufacturers, but these have been replaced by imports.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 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 but for producing innovative and entrepreneurial solutions, products and concepts.
Places to visit
Christchurch Art Gallery, Worcester Boulevard and Montreal St one block east of Botanic Gardens. Spectacular facility opened in 2003, the largest in the South Island, with over 3000 items and visiting exhibitions.
Botanic Gardens, (30 hectares/74 acres) of exotic and indigenous plants and trees wrapped in a loop of the picturesque Avon River and linking to the (160 hectare/395 acres) Hagley Park. These put the “Garden” in the “Garden City”, and the combined total with Hagley Park makes them the second largest inner-city park in the world.
Things to do
Antigua Boatsheds. Boat hire from historic British boatsheds for a hands-on water experience.
The Summit Road, drive it or bike it or take a bus then walk it. The road and the Crater Rim Walkway traverses the crest of the Port Hills, which separate Christchurch from Lyttelton Harbour. Breathtaking views over Christchurch, the Southern Alps, and Banks Peninsula often all from the same vantage point.
Riccarton Bush. The last remaining forest remnant on the Canterbury plains is in Christchurch city. If your time is limited in New Zealand , this is a great way to experience an example of the country’s native forests. The circular track passes under tall Kahikatea trees, and there is a diversity of small trees, climbers and ferns.