Canterbury (English also: Environment Canterbury, Māori Waitaha ) is the largest of the 17 regions of New Zealand. It lies in the east of the South Island.
With an area of 45,845 km ² Canterbury is the largest region in New Zealand. The area can be divided into two geographical parts. On the east side, on the borders all along the line of the Pacific Ocean, lies the vast plain Canterbury Plains. Approximately in the middle of the north - south extension protrudes into the Pacific, the Banks Peninsula.
The entire western part of the region is finally dominated by the second major geographical area, the Southern Alps. The Mount Cook ( 3754 m) here is not only the highest peak in the region but the entire country. This is also the Mount Cook National Park. The region is bounded on the north by the river Conway River and to the south by the Waitaki River.
The region is bordered on the southwest by Otago, on the west by West Coast, to the north by Tasman and in the north east of Marlborough.
The entire region has a population of 519 200 (2004), with about Christchurch has about 350,000 inhabitants. After Christchurch Timaru is the second most important city with 27,100 inhabitants. Other important places are Ashburton with 16,100 inhabitants, with 12,700 inhabitants, Oamaru and Rangiora with 11,400 inhabitants ( as of 2004)
Canterbury divided into the following ten districts:
- Christchurch City Council
- Kaikoura District
- Hurunui District
- Selwyn District
- Waimakariri District
- Ashburton District
- Mackenzie District
- Waimate District
- Waitaki District ( partial)
The Banks Peninsula District was merged in 2006 with the City District Christchurch City Council, after had finished in November 2005, more than half of the inhabitants of this.
Colonization was planned by Edward Gibbon Wakefield and John Robert Godley in 1848 on behalf of the Church of England. From about 1850, the settlement began by the European immigrants. Many state and church buildings were constructed style by Benjamin Mountfort, one of the most famous New Zealand architect in Neo-Gothic in this period.
By 1876 there was a province of the same name, but included a larger area.
In the years 2010 and 2011, two major earthquakes occurred in the region. On 4 September 2010 Darfield earthquake and 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, which caused significant damage and numerous fatalities demanded.
Canterbury is the fourth- largest wine -growing area in New Zealand. Here are mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also grown Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. Along with the capital city Christchurch was added to the network " Great Wine Capitals ", a world organized marketing organization for wine and related tourism products in 2009.