Christchurch facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Christchurch
Ōtautahi (Māori)
Metropolitan area
Christchurch
Christchurch City.jpg
ChristChurch Cathedral in summer.jpg New Brighton and the Port Hills, Christchurch, New Zealand, 12 June 2008.jpg
Peacock Fountain, New Zealand.jpg Tram in Christchurch (4666583714).jpg
St James Park, Christchurch.jpg New Zealand - Christchurch Art Gallery - 9597.jpg
Clockwise from top: Christchurch skyline with Southern Alps in background, New Brighton and the Port Hills, a Christchurch tram, the Christchurch Art Gallery, St James Park in autumn, the Peacock Fountain in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, and ChristChurch Cathedral in Cathedral Square
Flag of Christchurch
Flag
Coat of arms of Christchurch
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): The Garden City
Motto: Fide Condita Fructu Beata Spe Fortis
Latin
Founded in Faith, Rich in the Fulfillment thereof, Strong in Hope for the Future
Country  New Zealand
Island South Island
Region Canterbury
Territorial authority Christchurch City Council
Settled by the UK 1848
Area
 • Territorial 1,426 km2 (551 sq mi)
 • Urban 607.73 km2 (234.65 sq mi)
Highest elevation 920 m (3,020 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (June 2016)
 • Territorial 375,000
 • Density 263.0/km2 (681.1/sq mi)
 • Urban 389,700
 • Urban density 641.24/km2 (1,660.80/sq mi)
 • Demonym Cantabrian
Time zone NZST (UTC+12)
 • Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
Postcode(s) 8011, 8013, 8014, 8022, 8023, 8024, 8025, 8041, 8042, 8051, 8052, 8053, 8061, 8062, 8081, 8082, 8083
Area code(s) 03
Local iwi Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe
Website www.ccc.govt.nz
www.ecan.govt.nz
High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets in Christchurch, 8 May 1923
High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets in Christchurch, 1923

Christchurch (/ˈkrsɜːr/; Māori: Ōtautahi) 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 389,700 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 Avon River flows through the centre of the city, with an urban park located along its banks. At the request of the Deans brothers, the river was named after the River Avon in Scotland, which rises in the Ayrshire hills near to where their grandfather's farm was located.

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. 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".

History

See also: History of the Canterbury Region
ChristChurchCathedral1 gobeirne
ChristChurch Cathedral before its partial collapse in the 2011 earthquakes

Overview

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. The Charlotte 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.

2010–12 earthquakes

Pyne Gould Building destroyed by earthquake, Christchurch, New Zealand - 20110224
The collapsed Pyne Gould Building. Thirty of the building's two hundred workers were trapped within the building following the February earthquake.

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.

Following the earthquakes over 1500 buildings in the city had been demolished or partly demolished by September 2013.

Christchurch cherry blossoms and water wheel
Cherry blossom trees in Spring bloom and a historic water wheel, located on a small island in the Avon River at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Hereford Street, Hagley Park in the city centre.

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).

Port Hills fires 2017

On 13 February 2017, two bush fires started on the Port Hills. These merged over the next two days and the single very large wild fire extended down both sides of the Port Hill almost reaching Governors Bay in the south-west, and the Westmorland, Kennedys Bush, and Dyers Pass Road almost down to the Sign of the Takahe. Eleven houses were destroyed by fire, over one thousand residents were evacuated from their homes, and over 2,076 hectares (5,130 acres) of land has been burned.

Gateway to the Antarctic

Christchurch has a history of involvement in Antarctic exploration–both Robert 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 US Antarctic Program (USAP) participants in the 2007–08 season.

Geography

Christchurch, New Zealand, NASA 2
Satellite image showing Christchurch and surrounding areas.
STS-116 spacewalk 1
View of the Christchurch region from the International Space Station.

Christchurch lies in Canterbury, near the centre of the east coast of the South Island, east of the Canterbury Plains. It is located near the southern end of Pegasus Bay, and is bounded to the east by the Pacific Ocean coast and the estuary of 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.

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.

Central City

July Snow in Christchurch, NZ
July snowfall on Cobham Intermediate School grounds

At the city's centre is Cathedral Square, surrounding the now-earthquake-damaged – landmark Anglican cathedral, Christ Church. The area around this square and within the Four Avenues of Christchurch (Bealey Avenue, Fitzgerald Avenue, Moorhouse Avenue and Deans Avenue) is considered to be the central business district (CBD) of the city. The central city also has a number of residential areas, including Inner City East, Inner City West, Avon Loop, Moa Neighbourhood and Victoria, but many of the residential buildings in the CBD were demolished following the February 2011 Earthquakes. Cathedral Square is located at the crossing of two major central streets, Colombo Street and Worcester Street.

Cathedral Square, the heart of the city, hosted attractions such as (until the February 2011 Earthquake) the Wizard of New Zealand, Ian Brackenbury Channell, and evangelist Ray Comfort; regular market days; free standing food and coffee carts; an aquarium, pubs and restaurants and the city's chief tourist information centre. it is expected that activities in Cathedral Square will increase as the rebuild progresses. The Wizard of New Zealand now operates from New Regent Street.

The central city also includes the pedestrianised sections of Cashel and High streets commonly known pre-earthquakes as 'City Mall'. Refurbished in 2008/09 the mall featured especially designed seating, flower and garden boxes, more trees, paving, and an extension to the central city tram route. The tram route extension was nearly complete when the February 2011 Earthquake struck. Following the earthquakes, most buildings in Cashel Mall were demolished. A shopping area called Re:START opened on Cashel Street adjacent to Ballantyne's Department Store in October 2011. The Re:START mall is made of colourful shipping containers that have been converted to house retail stores. The Bridge of Remembrance commemorating war dead stands at the western end of the mall, and is being repaired and earthquake strengthened, with hopes of repairs being partially completed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I in August 2014 and being fully completed in time to commemorate ANZAC Day 2015.

The Cultural Precinct provided a backdrop to a vibrant scene of ever-changing arts, cultural, and heritage attractions within an area of less than one square kilometre. The Arts Centre, the Canterbury Museum and the Art Gallery are located in the Cultural Precinct. The majority of the activities were free and a printable map was provided. There areas are slowly being reopened follow earthquake repair and strengthening work.

In 2010, the Christchurch City Council released "A City For People Action Plan", a programme of work through to 2022 to improve public spaces within the central city to entice more inner city residents and visitors. A primary action was to reduce the impact of motorised private vehicles and increase the comfort of pedestrians and cyclists. The plan was based on a report prepared for the council by renowned Danish design firm Gehl Architects. Since the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake Wellington architect Ian Athfield has been selected to re-plan, although many varied suggestions have been promoted for rebuilding the central city

The Central City, which was fully closed off following 22 February Earthquake, opened in stages and was fully reopened in June 2013. There are still some streets closed off due to earthquake damage, infrastructure repair work, and damaged buildings.

Inner suburbs

(clockwise, starting north of the city centre)

Outer suburbs

(clockwise, starting north of the city centre)

Satellite towns

Climate

Weather chart for Christchurch
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
44
 
22
12
 
 
44
 
22
12
 
 
53
 
20
10
 
 
53
 
17
7
 
 
63
 
14
4
 
 
59
 
11
1
 
 
63
 
11
1
 
 
58
 
12
2
 
 
42
 
15
4
 
 
48
 
17
6
 
 
48
 
19
8
 
 
50
 
21
11
temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm

Christchurch has a temperate Oceanic climate with a mild summer, cool winter, and regular 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. Like many cities, Christchurch experiences an urban heat island effect; temperatures are slightly higher within the inner city regions compared to the surrounding countryside.

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 International Airport (1943–2015, Sunshine 1949–2015, Temperature 1953–2015, Humidity 1960–2015)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.9
(96.6)
40.0
(104)
35.9
(96.6)
29.9
(85.8)
27.3
(81.1)
22.5
(72.5)
22.4
(72.3)
22.8
(73)
26.2
(79.2)
30.1
(86.2)
32.0
(89.6)
36.0
(96.8)
40.0
(104)
Average high °C (°F) 22.4
(72.3)
21.9
(71.4)
20.0
(68)
17.3
(63.1)
14.2
(57.6)
11.4
(52.5)
10.7
(51.3)
12.2
(54)
14.6
(58.3)
16.9
(62.4)
19.0
(66.2)
20.9
(69.6)
16.8
(62.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.1
(62.8)
16.8
(62.2)
15.0
(59)
12.1
(53.8)
9.0
(48.2)
6.2
(43.2)
5.7
(42.3)
7.1
(44.8)
9.3
(48.7)
11.5
(52.7)
13.6
(56.5)
15.7
(60.3)
11.6
(52.9)
Average low °C (°F) 11.8
(53.2)
11.6
(52.9)
9.9
(49.8)
6.8
(44.2)
3.8
(38.8)
1.1
(34)
0.7
(33.3)
2.0
(35.6)
4.0
(39.2)
6.1
(43)
8.1
(46.6)
10.6
(51.1)
6.4
(43.5)
Record low °C (°F) 3.0
(37.4)
1.5
(34.7)
-0.2
(31.6)
-4.0
(24.8)
-6.4
(20.5)
-7.2
(19)
-6.8
(19.8)
-6.7
(19.9)
-4.4
(24.1)
-4.2
(24.4)
-2.6
(27.3)
0.1
(32.2)
-7.2
(19)
Rainfall mm (inches) 43.5
(1.713)
43.5
(1.713)
52.8
(2.079)
52.9
(2.083)
63.0
(2.48)
58.5
(2.303)
62.5
(2.461)
57.6
(2.268)
42.4
(1.669)
48.3
(1.902)
47.5
(1.87)
50.4
(1.984)
622.9
(24.524)
Humidity 72.5 79.0 80.9 83.9 86.3 87.2 87.8 85.8 78.7 73.9 70.5 71.3 79.8
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5.9 5.4 6.3 6.7 7.8 8.0 8.2 7.3 6.1 6.9 6.6 7.1 82.3
Sunshine hours 224.4 190.5 177.4 155.6 133.3 117.7 124.8 149.0 166.6 201.3 215.3 214.3 2,070.2
Source #1: CliFlo
Source #2: Time and Date (potential monthly daylight hours)

Demographics

AntiguaBoatShedsChristchurch gobeirne
Boatsheds on the Avon River

The area administered by the Christchurch City Council has a population of 375,000 (June 2016), making it the second-largest in New Zealand, and the largest city in the South Island.

The Christchurch urban area at 389,700 is the third-largest in the country by population, after Auckland and Wellington. The urban area differs from the city by including Kaiapoi in the Waimakariri District and Prebbleton in the Selwyn District, while excluding most of the Banks Peninsula.

Historical Population of Christchurch City
Census Pop. ±%
1981 281,721
1986 288,948 2.6%Increase
1991 296,061 2.5%Increase
1996 316,611 6.9%Increase
2001 323,956 2.3%Increase
2006 348,435 7.6%Increase
2013 341,469 -2.0%Decrease

Culture and identity

Largest groups of overseas-born residents
Nationality Population (2013)
 United Kingdom 21,267
 China 6,822
 Australia 5,529
 Philippines 3,126
 South Korea 2,739
 South Africa 2,694
 India 2,466
 Samoa 2,187
 United States 1,995
 Netherlands 1,911

The following table shows the ethnic profile of Christchurch's population, as recorded in the 2001 and 2006 New Zealand census. The percentages add up to more than 100%, as some people counted themselves as belonging to more than one ethnic group. Figures for 2006 refer to just Christchurch City, not the whole urban area. The substantial percentage drop in the numbers of 'Europeans' was mainly caused by the increasing numbers of people from this group choosing to define themselves as 'New Zealanders'–even though this was not one of the groups listed on the census form.

Approximately 62% of the South Island's Pacific Islander community reside in Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury region, equalling approximately 11,500 people. People of Samoan descent comprise about half the Pacific Islander population. There are also smaller communities of Cook Islanders, Fijians, Niueans, Tokelauans and Tongans residing in the city.

Ethnic Group 2001 census 2006 census 2013 census
Percentage People National average Percent People National average Percent People National average
European 89.8 291,594 75.4 255,366 67.6 83.9 273,303 74.0
Asian 5.5 17,703 7.9 26,631 9.2 9.4 30,717 11.8
Māori 7.2 23,421 7.6 25,725 14.7 8.5 27,765 14.9
Pacific Island 2.4 7,713 2.8 9,465 6.9 3.1 10,104 7.4
'New Zealander' n/a n/a 12.9 43,671 11.1 1.9 6,129 1.6
Middle East/Latin America/Africa n/a n/a 0.8 2,862 0.9 1.0 3,384 1.2
Others 0.6 2,073 <0.1 114 <0.1 <0.1 147 <0.1
Total giving their ethnicity 324,666 (individuals) 338,748 (individuals) 325,772 (individuals)

The 2006 Census also provides information about the multilinguality of the region. Of those people in Christchurch City who provided data, 86% spoke one language only, 12% spoke two, and 2% could converse in three or more languages.

Transport

See also: Public transport in Christchurch

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 reorganised to direct more localised 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-fare hybrid 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.

01 Christchurch 178 Brill car
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.

There is a cable car system called the Christchurch Gondola which operates as a tourist attraction, providing transport from the Heathcote Valley to the top of Mount Cavendish in the city's south-east.

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 to Invercargill 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.

Culture and entertainment

ChristchurchBasilica gobeirne
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, partially demolished in the 2011 earthquake
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu
The Christchurch Art Gallery
Christchurch gardens, New Zealand
Christchurch Botanic Gardens

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 cafés and restaurants situated in the city centre and surrounding suburbs.

Cinema

While historically most cinemas were grouped around Cathedral Square, only two cinemas remain there. The Regent complex was rebuilt as 'Regent on Worcester' in 1996. In 2009 Metro Cinemas opened in Worcester Street with three screens.

Only one of the first generation of suburban cinemas, the Hollywood in Sumner, remains open. The largest multiplexes were the Hoyts 8 in the old railway station on Moorhouse Avenue (now demolished) and Reading Cinemas (also eight screens) in the Palms shopping centre in Shirley. Hoyts in Riccarton opened in 2005 with one of its screens for a time holding the record for the largest in New Zealand.

The Rialto Cinemas on Moorhouse avenue specialised in international films and art house productions. The Rialto also hosted the majority of the city's various film festivals and was home to the local film society. The Rialto was closed following the February 2011 earthquake.

The Christchurch Arts Centre includes two art house cinemas, Cloisters and The Academy, screening a wide selection of contemporary, classic and foreign language films.

The Canterbury Film Society is active in the city.

The matricidal Peter Jackson film Heavenly Creatures (1994), starring Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet, was set in Christchurch.

Parks and nature

The large number of public parks and well-developed residential gardens with many trees has given Christchurch the name of The Garden City. Hagley Park and the 30-hectare (75 acre) Christchurch Botanic Gardens, founded in 1863, are in the central city, with Hagley Park being a site for sports such as golf, cricket, netball, and rugby, and for open-air concerts by local bands and orchestras. To the north of the city is the Willowbank wildlife park. Travis Wetland, an ecological restoration programme to create a wetland, is to the east of the city centre in the suburb of Burwood.

Television

Christchurch has its own regional television station Canterbury Television. CTV was first formed in 1991 and still today reflects the Canterbury community through locally made programmes. It airs both local, national and international content, namely DW-TV and Aljazeera World.

VTV, a Korean TV channel airs in Christchurch (also Auckland). It offers English content about Korea, from arirang World, and Korean-speaking content in SBS. This channel broadcast many of the latest dramas airing in Korea.

The city's main television transmitter is located atop Sugarloaf, in the Port Hills due south of the city centre, and broadcasts all major national television channels as well as the two local channels. All television channels in Christchurch have been broadcast in digital since analogue switch-off on 28 April 2013.

Theatre

Christchurch has one full-time professional theatre, the Court Theatre, founded in 1971. Originally based in the Christchurch Arts Centre, the Court Theatre has been located in the suburb of Addington in temporary accommodation following the 2011 earthquakes. Alongside the Court, the co-operative and experimental Free Theatre Christchurch was established in 1979 and based in the Arts Centre from 1982. There is also an active recreational theatre scene with community based theatre companies, such as the Christchurch Repertory Society, Elmwood Players, Riccarton Players, and Canterbury Children's Theatre, producing many quality shows. The Ngaio Marsh Theatre, located at the University of Canterbury, hosts a range of student drama groups, as well as other theatre groups. The Isaac Theatre Royal was originally opened in 1863, and has since been rebuilt four times, most recently following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The Isaac Theatre Royal reopened to the public on 17 November 2014.

Music

The city is known for its many live acts, has a professional symphony orchestra, and is the base of professional opera company, Southern Opera. Christchurch is a home for experimental music scene of New Zealand. The town is the home to such bands as The Bats, The Narcs, Shocking Pinks and Bailter Space.

There are usually buskers around the town square and Christchurch also hosts the World Buskers Festival in January each year. Singer/songwriter Hayley Westenra launched her international career by busking in Christchurch. Soon she was signed to Universal Music Group New Zealand, then later to Decca Label Group in London, England, where she now bases her career.

Christchurch also has a Metal scene, with metal acts playing in various locations around the central city.

Some of New Zealand's acts such as Shapeshifter, Ladi6, Tiki Taane and Truth are from Christchurch. Promoters, Venues and clubs such as Bassfreaks, The Bedford and Dux Live regularly have international and New Zealand acts within the Drum and Bass scene performing live in Christchurch, along with dance parties, raves and gigs all featuring NZ and local Drum and Bass DJs, with often two or three happening on a single night or weekend (e.g. 2010 when UK Dubstep DJ Doctor P with Crushington was playing at The Bedford, while simultaneously Concord Dawn featuring Trei and Bulletproof was playing at Ministry). Independent Christchurch based radio station Pulzar FM is one of the few radio stations in New Zealand that plays Drum and Bass during the day.

In recent movements, hip hop has effectively landed in Christchurch. In 2000, First Aotearoa Hip Hop Summit was held there. And in 2003, Christchurch's own Scribe released his debut album in New Zealand and has received five times platinum in that country, in addition to achieving two number one singles.

Venues

P1010064 - The Weston House (8432707850)
Weston House, built in the colonial style

The Horncastle Arena is New Zealand's second largest permanent multipurpose arena, seating between 5000 and 8000, depending on configuration. It is home of the Canterbury Tactix netball side. It was the venue for the 1999 World Netball championships and has been host to many concerts in recent years.

The Christchurch Town Hall auditorium (2500 seats, opened 1972) 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 with an excellent modern pipe organ. The town hall is currently closed for repair after the significant damage caused by the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Christchurch also has a casino, and there are also a wide range of live music venues—some short-lived, others with decades of history. Classical music concerts are held at the Christchurch Music Centre.

In late 2014 it was announced that a 284 million dollar project was underway to build a convention centre located on the block defined by Armagh Street, Oxford Terrace, Worcester Street and Colombo Street. Gloucester Street will become part of the Centre itself, but will allow for retail use and public access. The convention centre will be able to host several events at the same time; starting with space for up to 2,000 people, this will complement facilities in Auckland and Queenstown. The scheduled opening of the convention centre is uncertain.

Sister cities

Christchurch has seven sister cities around the world. They are:

  • Australia Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (1972)
  • United Kingdom Christchurch, Dorset, England, United Kingdom (1972)
  • Japan Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan (1973)
  • United States Seattle, Washington, United States of America (1981)
  • People's Republic of China Lanzhou, Gansu, China (1984)
  • South Korea Songpa-gu, Seoul, South Korea (1995)
  • People's Republic of China Wuhan, Hubei, China (2006)

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Christchurch Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.