Christchurch [ ː tʃ kɹaɪsttʃɜ ] is located on the east coast of the South Island in New Zealand's Canterbury region city with 341.469 inhabitants.

Christchurch is considered the " most English " city in New Zealand, which can be even comprehend in architecture today. The Māori name of the city is Otautahi, named after a chief of the Māori, who settled on the Avon River.


Christchurch is the largest city in New Zealand's Canterbury region. 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 ranges in the east to the suburbs to the Pacific Ocean, lying on the Brighton Spit. This separates the estuary Avon Heathcote Estuary with the estuaries of Avon and Heathcote River from the Pacific Ocean. In the south and southeast of the city extends to the volcanic foothills of the Port Hills and in the north to the Waimakariri River. The surrounding area extends even further into the interior.

After a referendum in November 2005 joined on March 6, 2006, the previously existing district Banks Peninsula with the locations Akaroa, Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour to the city of Christchurch. As a result of this integration Christchurch to Dunedin and was in front of Upper Hutt to face second-largest urban district in New Zealand. The managed from the Christchurch City Council area bordered to the north by the Waimakariri District, on the west by the Selwyn District and on the east by the Pacific Ocean. Nearby places are Kaiapoi, Rangiora, Lincoln, Rolleston, Prebbleton and West Melton.

Christchurch is divided into several districts ( in alphabetical order ):

  • Addington Aranui, Avondale, Avonhead, Avonside
  • Beckenham, Belfast, Bexley, Bishopdale, Bromley, Brooklands, Bryndwr, Burnside, Burwood
  • Case Brook, Cashmere
  • Dallington
  • Fendalton, Ferrymead
  • Halswell, Harewood Heathcote Valley, Hillmorton, Hillsborough, Hoon Hay, Hornby, Huntsbury
  • Ilam, Islington
  • Linwood
  • Mairehau, Marshland, Merivale, Middleton, Mount Pleasant, Murray Aynsley
  • New Brighton, Northwood
  • Oaklands, Opawa
  • Papanui ( Papanui High School ), Parklands, Phillipstown
  • Redcliffs Redwood, Regents Park, Riccarton, Richmond, Russley
  • St Albans, St Martins, Shirley, Sockburn, Somerfield, South Brighton, Southshore, Spencerville, Spreydon, Strowan, Sumner, Sydenham
  • Templeton
  • Waimairi Beach, Waltham, Westmoreland, Wigram, Woolston
  • Yaldhurst


In Christchurch there is an oceanic climate. January is the warmest and sunniest month of the year with an average temperature of 17.4 ° C with an average minimum of 12.2 ° C and an average maximum of 22.5 ° C and about 7.7 hours of sun a day ( = 2810.5h ). The month of July, however, is the coldest and wettest with an average temperature of 6.6 ° C with an average minimum of 1.9 ° C and an average maximum of 11.3 ° C and an average monthly rainfall of 79 mm to about nine days of rain ( with at least 1 mm of precipitation ) in the month. The relative humidity in July in the same with an average value of 87.3 %.

In summer, the wind chill temperature usually remains at moderate levels, thanks to a frequent sea breeze from the northeast. Also noteworthy is the Nor'Wester, a hot hair dryer. Snowfall in winter is not uncommon, but rarely. The number of days with ground frost is an average of 70 a year with a frequency focus of about 16 monthly between June and August.

The highest air temperature measured in the period 1971-2000 is 41.6 ° C, the lowest was -7.1 ° C.


In census 2013 341.469 inhabitants were counted .. In order for the City to Auckland New Zealand is the second largest and the largest in the South Island. The surrounding area, however, is the third largest in terms of population in the country, behind Auckland and Wellington.


  • 344 100 2004
  • 348 435 2006
  • 390 300 2010
  • 341 469 2013

Ethnic composition (2006 ):

  • 75 % of European New Zealanders ( Pakeha )
  • 13% of New Zealander
  • 8% Māori
  • 8 % Asian
  • 3% Pacific Islander
  • 1% other

( The addition of the percentages gives more than 100 % because have assigned more than one ethnic group, some respondents. The New Zealandern it mostly involve European New Zealanders who have referred to themselves that way. )


Based on archaeological finds in a cave at Redcliffs the suspects to a first colonization by strains of Moa - hunters in the area around Christchurch. Oral traditions among the Māori tell of people who lived there as early as 1000 AD. These first inhabitants were followed by the Waitaha, of which it is assumed that they moved from the east coast of the North Island here in the 16th century. Other tribes such as the Ngai Tahu and Kati mamoe followed until about 1830.

Although already before 1830 lived sporadically European settlers in the area, the first major impetus Europeans arrived on 16 December 1850, when the First Four Ships, chartered by the Canterbury Association, in Lyttelton Harbour einliefen. These four ships were named Randolph, Charlotte Jane, Sir George Seymour, and Cressy.

Captain Thomas, the surveyor of the Canterbury Association, surveyed the entire area. In December 1849 he ordered the construction of a road from Port Cooper, later Lyttelton, to Christchurch via Sumner in order. This project almost threatened to fail, since a steep section had to be created over the hill between the port and the Heathcote valley, to reach the intended settlement. This path became known as the Bridle Path ( bridle path), because it was so steep that the horses had to be led by the bridle. In the early 1960s, a tunnel was created at this point. Today, there runs the State Highway 73

Goods that were too heavy or too bulky for the pack horses were shipped inland in small sailboats, the eight miles of the coast and the estuary according to Ferrymead. New Zealand's first public railway line ran from 1863 Ferrymead to Christchurch. To this day, the Ferrymead Heritage Park on the roads this time. Because of the dangers on the Bridle Path, as well as by sea, a railway tunnel was created between Lyttelton and Christchurch, which opened in 1876.

The city got rights Christchurch on July 31, 1856, which is why it is the oldest city in New Zealand. It is named after the Oxford College Christchurch. Many of the neo-Gothic buildings by architect Benjamin Mountfort are from this period.

Christ Church played an important role in the history of Antarctic expeditions. Both Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton used the port of Lyttelton as a starting point for their journeys. A statue of Scott, made ​​by his widow, Kathleen Scott, in downtown reminded.

The international airport of Christchurch is still used today for Italian and American ( Operation Deep Freeze) Antarctic programs as a starting point. The International Antarctic Centre offers itself as a base camp but also as a museum and visitor center.

On November 18, 1947 in Christchurch, the worst fire disaster occurred in New Zealand's history, as an office building caught fire and 41 people died in the blaze.

Christchurch hosted the 1974 British Commonwealth Games.


On September 4, 2010 at 4:35 clock (local time ) Christchurch was hit by an earthquake of magnitude 7.1 MW. Several houses were damaged, lives were not complaining. The epicenter of the quake, which was received under the name of Darfield earthquake in the city's history, the city was, according to the state seismological GeoNet around 40 kilometers west near Darfield and its hypocenter located approximately 10 kilometers deep.

On February 22, 2011 (local time) again, a major earthquake with the strength occurred at 12:51 clock, this time 6.3 MW. Since the quake's epicenter only ten kilometers south-west from the city center and was the hypocenter in just five kilometers deep, it taught this time much greater damage as the quake in September 2010. Several buildings collapsed, the city center was most affected. According to official figures 185 people lost their lives. Alone in the collapse of the regional television station Canterbury Television 115 people died. Among the significantly damaged buildings there were also many listed historic buildings, such as the steeple of Christ Church Cathedral and parts of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. Gerry Brownlee, Minister for Earthquake Recovery declared on 7 March, that one must give up parts of Christchurch and probably up to 10,000 houses would be demolished. Estimates also assume that about 100,000 houses are in need of repair. As a result of the earthquake left within a week after the quake, estimated at around 70,000 people, the city.

Economy and Transport

The regional economy was formerly based on agriculture, the Canterbury Plains. In the countryside mainly sheep and dairy farming was operated. The early establishment of the University of Canterbury and the close collaboration of academic institutions with regional firms promoted industry. The region is now home to a variety of New Economy companies.

An important industry is tourism. The proximity to the ski resorts and other attractions in the Southern Alps and the city itself make Christchurch attractive for passage of most tourist stay. However, numerous cultural monuments were In the 2011 earthquake destroyed or damaged, while others are in the cordoned-off city center.

Christchurch is a major transport hub on New Zealand's South Island. The long State Highway 1 passes by the city, where it has a branch to State Highway 73

In addition, Christchurch is connected to the railway line South Iceland Main Trunk Railway, which runs through the whole South Island. The section to the north, the Main North Line will sail to the head station Picton regularly from TranzCoastal. The Main South Line runs south across Dunedin to Invercargill. Until February 2002 wrong on this part of the Railways of the Southerner. The passenger was set for reasons of efficiency, since this section is intended only to freight.

In Christchurch the TranzAlpine, which crosses at the Midland Line, the Southern Alps and the town starts with the destination station Greymouth on the West Coast connects. The track is due to its impressive progress, especially for tourism is important.

Another short rail line connecting the city by the Lyttelton rail tunnel to the south Lyttelton Lyttelton Harbour and on its seaport.

The city can be reached from the air over the Christchurch International Airport, both from the Asian region as well as Australia and America.


The local government in Christchurch is made up as follows:

  • City Council, with the mayor and twelve councilors, who are elected in six electoral districts.
  • Six community committees for each district of a, with three members each plus the respective city council.
  • Canterbury Regional Council, with four MPs for Christchurch.
  • Canterbury District Health Board, with five members for Christchurch.
  • District Councils in the surrounding communities Banks Peninsula, Selwyn and Waimakariri.


In addition to the partnership to the same town in England Christchurch maintains partnerships with five other cities and one region:

  • Australia Adelaide ( Australia)
  • United Kingdom Christchurch ( United Kingdom)
  • China People's Republic of Gansu Province ( People's Republic of China)
  • Japan Kurashiki (Japan)
  • United States Seattle, Washington ( USA)
  • Flag of South Korea Songpa -gu, Seoul (South Korea)

And a Friendship cities:

  • People's Republic of China, Wuhan (China )

( Source below )


The neo-Gothic Anglican Christ Church Cathedral was the center of the city. The spire of the cathedral metal owed ​​the many earthquakes that repeatedly brought the earlier stone structure to collapse. The last major earthquake on 23 December 2011, the cathedral was destroyed but so strong that their demolition was decided.

On Cathedral Square located one finds the former Main Post Office, where a large tourist office had its seat until the last earthquake. Around the Cathedral ( Christ Church Cathedral ) is the city center of Christchurch. Here were the main shops and a large gastronomic offer. The Cathedral Square and much of the city center are currently locked and therefore not accessible to visitors, most shops are housed in makeshift containers on Cashel Street.

The Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament was built 1901-1905 in neo-Renaissance style. The church was badly damaged in the earthquake and the future of the building is not yet decided.

In the old university district now known as the Arts Centre, with varied cultural offerings from the cinema to the crafts market. Diagonally opposite the Arts Centre, the Art Gallery, whose collection includes old European painting to interesting exhibitions and installations of New Zealand artists.

's Botanical garden is also within walking distance. From there you can make on the Avon with a boat a boat tour through the park. Right on the edge of the botanical garden can be free to visit the Canterbury Museum.

A tourist attraction is undoubtedly the restored streetcar, whose history dates back to the year 1880 and with which you can explore the city in a sitting position. The operation currently goes on only a portion of the original route.

The largest city on the South Island of New Zealand welcomes the spring, when the first bar-tailed godwits ( Godwits ) according to their record flights from the Arctic coming to land in the shallow estuary of the rivers Avon and Heathcote. As soon as the first of the 40 -centimeter migratory birds are spotted on the beach, the bells of the cathedral ringing the next day at 12 noon clock tower. Every autumn they are adopted lovingly. Before leaving on pilgrimage multitudes of bird friends at the beach, where a Maori priest blesses the godwits before the long journey.

The Christchurch Cathedral before it was destroyed in December 2011 ( here after a recording of 2006)

The Arts Centre

The tram

The city bus 1973-1974

The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Also in the center of the Bridge of Remembrance, a memorial to the New Zealand war dead of the First World War is.

See also List of monuments in Christchurch.


  • International Buskers Festival: takes place annually since 1993 in late January in Christchurch instead
  • World Athletics Championships in disabled sports in January 2011


Sons and daughters:

People with relationship to the city:

  • Elizabeth McCombs (1873-1935), politician and first woman to be elected to the Parliament of New Zealand