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What You Need To Know

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 Charteron 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 ofNgāi 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. The city’s name is often abbreviated by New Zealanders to Chch. In New Zealand Sign Language, the city’s name is the fingerspelled letter C (made by forming the hand into a C shape) signed twice, with the second to the right of the first, while mouthing “Christchurch”.

Area: 1,426 km²

Population: 382,518

 

Currency

 

  • The New Zealand dollar is the official currency of New Zealand and Auckland.

 

Culture

 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.
 

Economy

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.

 

Language

There are several languages of New Zealand. English (New Zealand English) is the dominant language spoken by most New Zealanders. The country’s de jure official languages are Māori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Other languages are also used by ethnic communities.

Health

  • Eligibility for public health services. This section is a guide to publicly funded healthand disability services in New Zealand. There is information for service users, and resources for service providers to check eligibility.Apr 18, 2016
     
     

Transport

Christchurch is served by Christchurch International Airport and by buses (local and long-distance) and trains. The local bus service, known as Metro, is provided by Environment Canterbury. The car, however, remains the dominant form of transport in the city, as with the rest of New Zealand. Christchurch has an extensive bus network with bus routes serving most areas of the city and satellite towns. Nearly all bus routes travelled through the central city Bus Exchange before the earthquake but due to reduced passenger numbers since the earthquakes, especially in the central city, the bus network was reorganized to direct more localized services to ‘hubs’, such as major shopping centres, where they connect to the central station via core bus routes. Before the 2011 earthquakes, in addition to normal bus services, Christchurch also had a pioneering zero-farehybrid bus service, the Shuttle, in the inner city. The service has been suspended following the earthquakes and it is unclear whether it will resume again in the future. Bus services are also available leaving Christchurch, daily passenger bus services operates between Dunedin and Christchurch on the State Highway 1. Historically, Christchurch has been known as New Zealand’s cycling city and currently still attracts about 7% of commuters cycling. The central city has very flat terrain and the Christchurch City Council has established a network of cycle lanes and paths, such as the Railway Cycleway. Post-quake public consultation on rebuilding the city expressed a strong desire for a more sustainable transport system, particularly greater use of cycling again, and this has been reflected in the Council’s strategic transport plan. Christchurch Brill Tram No 178 on the heritage tramway in inner-city Christchurch. The Christchurch City Council has committed NZ$68.5 million to build a network of modern cycleways over the next five years. There is a functioning Christchurch tramway system in Christchurch, but as a tourist attraction; its loop is restricted to a circuit of the central city. The trams were originally introduced in 1905 as a form of public transport, and ceased operating in 1954, but returned to the inner city (as a tourist attraction) in 1995. However, following the February 2011 Earthquake, the system was damaged and within the cordoned off ‘Red Zone’ of the central city. The tramway reopened in November 2013 on a limited route, with plans to extend the tram route in 2014, first to reopen the complete pre-earthquake circuit, and then to open the extension travelling through the Re:Start Mall and High Street, which was being constructed when the 2011 Earthquake struck. Rail services, both long-distance and commuter, used to focus on the former railway station on Moorhouse avenue. Commuter trains were progressively cancelled in the 1960s and 1970s. The last such service, between Christchurch and Rangiora, ceased in 1976. After the reduction in services a new Christchurch railway station was established at Addington Junction. The Main North Line railway travels northwards via Kaikoura to Picton and is served by the TranzCoastal passenger train, while the Main South Line heads toInvercargill via Dunedin and was used by the Southerner until its cancellation in 2002. The most famous train to depart Christchurch is the TranzAlpine, which travels along the Main South Line to Rolleston and then turns onto the Midland Line, passes through the Southern Alps via the Otira Tunnel, and terminates in Greymouth on the West Coast. This trip is often regarded as one of the ten great train journeys in the world for the amazing scenery through which it passes. The TranzAlpine service is primarily a tourist service and carries no significant commuter traffic.

 

Weather

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.