The city is named after the cathedral college of Christ Church in the University of Oxford. Its Maori name is Otautahi, from the Maori chief Tautahi, who had a settlement on the banks of the Avon River. Christchurch is located at Template:Coor dms. 
|Urban Area||Population||363,700 (2004 est.)|
|Extent||the city, Kaiapoi,
Prebbleton, Lyttelton &
|Population||344,100 (2004 est.)|
|Extent||Waimakariri River to the
Port Hills and west toTempleton
|See also||Waimakariri District
Banks Peninsula District
- 1 Geography
- 2 Demographics
- 3 Economy
- 4 Government
- 5 History
- 6 Gateway to the Antarctic
- 7 Tourist Attractions
- 8 Entertainment
- 9 Sport
- 10 Educational institutions
- 11 Transport
- 12 Sister cities
- 13 External links
- 14 Further reading
Christchurch is the main city in Canterbury, New Zealand. It lies at the southern end of Pegasus Bay, in the middle of the east coast of the South Island, between Banks Peninsula and the Canterbury Plains. The city is bounded to the east by the Pacific Ocean coast and the estuary of the Avon and Heathcote rivers, in the south and south-east by the volcanic slopes of the Port Hills, and in the north by the Waimakariri River. The urban area extends a little further.
The large number of public parks and many well-developed residential gardens with many trees throughout the city have given it the name of The Garden City. Hagley Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens are located in the centre of the city, with Hagley Park being a site for sports such as golf, netball, and rugby, and for open air concerts by local bands and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.
With much of the city being flat and only a few metres above sea level, spectacular views can be obtained from almost any high building. At these low elevations the city appears more like a forest with only a few buildings visible, rather than a major city.
List of Christchurch suburbs
(clockwise from city centre, starting due north)
(clockwise from city centre, starting due north)
Burwood; Parklands; Waimairi Beach; Avondale; New Brighton; Bexley; Aranui; South Brighton; Southshore; Bromley; Redcliffs; Sumner; Ferrymead; Heathcote Valley; Huntsbury; Cashmere; Westmoreland; Hoon Hay; Halswell; Oaklands; Wigram; Sockburn; Hornby; Islington; Yaldhurst; Russley; Avonhead; Harewood; Bishopdale; Casebrook; Redwood; Belfast.
(clockwise from city centre, starting due north)
Christchurch has a temperate climate, with temperatures in January ranging from a minimum of 15°C to a maximum of 33°C, and from -5°C to 10°C in July. Summer temperatures are often moderated by a sea breeze from the northeast. A summer in 2004 had christchurch at around 40 degrees on some days which is extremely hot for New Zealand standards. A notable feature of the weather is the Nor'wester, a hot föhn wind which occasionally reaches gale force and causes widespread damage to property. In winter, it is common for the temperature to fall below 0°C at night. Snow falls occur reasonably often, on average once or twice a year.
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, California, Christchurch smog has often been known to exceed World Health Organisation recommendations for air pollution. The city has strict requirements for domestic home heating in order to limit air pollution.
On 6 March 2004, the area administered by the Christchurch City Council had a population of 344,100, making it the second-largest in New Zealand, and the largest city in the South Island. The Christchurch Urban Area is the third-largest in the country, after Auckland and Wellington.
The local economy was based on the agricultural produce of the Canterbury plains. Early manufacturers processed agricultural produce, especially sheep and dairy products, into finished products. The early presence of the University of Canterbury and the heritage of the city's academic institutions working in association with local businesses has fostered a number of technology-based industries. The region now has a range of "new economy" sectors.
Tourism is also a significant factor of the local economy. The closeness of the ski-fields and other attractions of the Southern Alps and hotels and an airport that meets international standards make Christchurch a stopover destination for many tourists.
- A city council  comprising a mayor, and 12 councillors elected in six wards.
- Six community boards, each covering one ward, with three members each plus the two ward councillors.
- The Canterbury Regional Council, known as Environment Canterbury including four Christchurch constituencies with two members from each constituency.
- The Canterbury District Health Board,  with five members for Christchurch.
- District councils in surrounding areas: Banks Peninsula, Selwyn, and Waimakariri.
In 1993, Christchurch was selected as the "Best Run City in the World", also known as the Carl Bertelsmann Prize, by the Bertelsmann Foundation of Germany, a branch of Bertelsmann media company. It shared the honor with Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
Archeological evidence found in a cave at Redcliffs indicates that the Christchurch area was first settled by moa-hunting tribes. Maori oral history tells that humans began living in the area around 1000 AD. These first inhabitants were thought to have been followed by the Waitaha who are thought to have migrated from the east coast of the North Island in the 16th century. However, Waitaha ( made of of three peoples ), had been in the land for centuries beforehand and Ngai Tahu have done their best to hide this. Following Waitaha were the Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu who remained in control until the British did to them what they did to those before them.
Although there were European settlers from the 1830s, notably the Deans at Riccarton, what are regarded as the First Four Ships were chartered by the Canterbury Association, and arrived on 16 December 1850, bringing the first English settlers to Lyttelton Harbour. The four ships were Randolph, Charlotte Jane, Sir George Seymour, and Cressy.
Captain 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 called 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 by water around the coast and up the estuary to Ferrymead. New Zealand's first public railway line was 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, making it the oldest city in New Zealand. Many of the city's fine Gothic buildings by the architect Benjamin Mountfort date from this period.
Christchurch was the seat of provincial administration for the province of Canterbury.
A road tunnel was constructed between Lyttelton and Christchurch in the early 1960s.
Gateway to the Antarctic
Christchurch has played a significant role in the history of Antarctic exploration. Both Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton used the port of Lyttelton as a departure point for expeditions, and there is a statue of Scott (sculpted by his widow) in the central city.
Christchurch International Airport serves as the major base for the Italian and United States Antarctic Programs as well as the New Zealand Antarctic programme. The International Antarctic Centre provides both base facilities and a museum and visitor centre.
- Garden Parks such as Mona Vale, The Botanical Gardens, Hagley Park, and Riccarton House and Bush.
- Canterbury Museum.
- Ferrymead Heritage Park.
- Orana Wildlife Park.
- Willowbank Wildlife Reserve.
- Air Force Museum.
- Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House.
- International Antarctic Centre.
- Christ's College, one of New Zealand's leading private schools.
- Christ Church (the Anglican cathedral), the centre of the Church of England settlement which grew into the city.
- The Roman Catholic Basilica, which opened in 1905, is one of the most beautiful churches in the Southern Hemisphere
- Christchurch Art Gallery (opened 2003).
- Historic electric tram.
- The Christchurch Arts Centre and site of "Ernest Rutherford's Den".
- The Provincial Chambers.
- The Timeball Station in Lyttelton.
- The New Brighton Pier.
- Heathcote (Christchurch) Gondola.
- The Summit Road along the top of the Port Hills and Godley Head Road provides numerous spectacular views of the area and features the buildings created as wayside rests, the Sign of the Takahe (now a function centre) and Sign of the Kiwi.
- Walkways including Victoria Park, the Bridle Path and Whitewash Head, a bird sanctuary.
- Mountain Biking on the Port Hills and Bottle Lake Forest. Christchurch Mountainbiking
Christchurch has one full-time professional theatre, the Court Theatre (external link). There is also an active recreational theatre scene.
Christchurch has approximately 35 cinema screens, with more planned in the next few years. While historically most cinemas were grouped around Cathedral Square, only the Regent complex remains there. The largest multiplexes are the Hoyts 8 in the old railway station (Moorhouse Ave) and Reading Cinemas (8) in the Palms shopping centre in the suburb of Shirley. Hoyts in Riccarton, just recently opened, has the largest screen in New Zealand, called Cinemaxx.
The Christchurch Arts Centre includes two art house cinemas, Cloisters and The Academy, screening a wide selection of contemporary, classic and foreign language films. These cinemas participates in an annual film festival.
There is an active film society in the city.
Large Concert Venues
- The Westpac Centre is New Zealand's largest permanent multipurpose arena, seating between 5000 - 8000 depending on configuration. It was the venue for the 1999 World Netball championships and has been host to many concerts in recent years including Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, Velvet Revolver and many more major international acts.
- The Town Hall Auditorium (2000 seats, opened 1974) was the first major auditorium design by architects Warren and Mahoney and acousticians Marshall Day. It is still recognised as a model example of concert-hall design. It has an excellent modern pipe organ.
Christchurch has a wide range of dance parties. Information can be obtained from inner-city cafés such as C1 on High Street, or record stores. While most of the parties are either house or drum'n'bass, occasionally there are trance and hardhouse parties.
The city has a wide range of venues for live music, some short-lived, others with decades of history.
- Hang gliding and parasailing.
- Yachting and windsurfing.
- Swimming, surfing, surf lifesaving, surfcasting, and fishing.
- Netball, represented by the Canterbury Flames in the national league.
- Golf The city has more than a dozen golf courses and has hosted the PGA-sanctioned Clearwater Classic since 2002.
- Cricket - Christchurch's major summer sport
- Rugby Union, represented by the Crusaders in the Super 14 competition and Canterbury in the National Provincial Championship.
Major Sporting Grounds
- Jade Stadium (formerly known as Lancaster Park) is Christchurch's premier outdoor sporting ground which currently plays host to Rugby Union in the winter months and Cricket in the summer months. It is home to the Canterbury Crusaders and Canterbury NPC Rugby Teams. It is also used by the New Zealand Cricket Team and occasionally hosts a New Zealand Warriors Rugby League match. Jade Stadium has a current capacity of 36,500 people.
- QEII Park was build for the 1974 British Commonwealth Games which Christchurch hosted in 1974. It is used today primarily as an Athletics park, and contains a newly upgraded Swimming Pool complex. It also has hosted some major concerts in the past from bands such as the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
A number of tertiary education institutions have campuses in Christchurch, or in the surrounding areas.
- Christchurch College of Education
- Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology
- University of Otago Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences)
- Lincoln University
- Southern Institute of Technology
- University of Canterbury
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 Canterbury regional council.
Christchurch has six sister cities around the world. They are:
- Adelaide, Australia
- Christchurch, Dorset, England
- Gansu province, China
- Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan
- Seattle, Washington, United States of America
- Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- Christchurch City Council
- Christchurch.org.nz Official City Promotions website
- Christchurch street map and directory
- Christchurch street maps
- Christchurch and Canterbury Events
- localeye the online gateway to Christchurch & Canterbury, New Zealand.
- The Joint Christchurch radio show
- The Big City New Zealand Music Archive and Christchurch Events Poster Listing
Amodeo, Colin (ed.) (1998). Rescue, the Sumner community and its lifeboat service. Christchurch: Sumner Lifeboat Institution Incorporated.