Christchurch
           

General Information


Christchurch is the biggest city in the South Island and is the third biggest in New Zealand. Christchurch is known internationally as ‘The Garden City’ because of large number of public parks and many well-developed residential gardens with many trees throughout the city. The centre of the city is Cathedral Square and as the names suggests, it is directly in front of the city’s Anglican cathedral Christ Church which was built in the second half of the 19 th century and hence gave Christchurch its name. Christchurch is also known as ‘Peace City” and pave the way forward to create an atmosphere for the development of a Culture of Peace as promoted by UNESCO and will encourage other cities around the world to follow suit.
As New Zealand’s key southern gateway, Christchurch International Airport is a vital hub for the South Islands tourism.

Geography


Located on the east coast of the South Island, New Zealand, Christchurch is sited on the Canterbury Plains between the Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean. Summers are generally mild and sunny with low humidity. The city has an average of over 2,000 hours of sunshine. Winter visitors can encounter frosts which develop to clear, calm days.

Maori Translation of Christchurch

The Māori name of Christchurch is Ōtautahi was originally the name of a specific site in central Christchurch. It means ‘the place of Tautahi’ and was adopted as the general name for Christchurch in the 1930s. Prior to this, Ngāi Tahu generally referred to the Christchurch area a Karaitiana.

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Maori Mythology of Christchurch


The name Tautahi can be traced back to ancient Hawaiki and the sailing from there of two chiefs in their great ocean going waka Te Waka Orurea. The legend says that they landed somewhere on Horomaka (Bank’s Peninsula ) near the outlet of Wairewa ( Lake Forsyth ). One of the chiefs Te Potiki-Tautahi (the only child), and his party landed here, while the other chief, Huruhuru Manu (birds feathers) continued on around the coast to Westland.

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Attractions


Christchurch has a huge range of attractions and activities from skiing at a world class alpine resort, playing golf, bungy jumping, whitewater rafting, hot-air ballooning, whale watching and visiting world class wineries and Gardens. There is never a dull moment in the city. Each day you spend in Christchurch there is always something fresh for you to experience. The best way to experience the magic of the central city is from onboard the beautifully restored trams. The 2.5 kms track takes about 25 minutes to complete and takes in many of the ‘must see’ attractions which you can hop on and off the trams at leisure to explore the sights up close.

Shopping


What’s a holiday without a shopping spree! Christchurch has it all with a great range of designer wear you just can’t buy at home.

History


First inhabitants were moa-hunting tribes and these were followed by the Waitaha who are thought to have migrated from the east coast of the North Island in the 16th century. This migration was joined by the Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu and continued until about 1830. The first European landed in Canterbury in 1815, 45 years after Captain James Cook sighted what he named "Banks Island", later found to be a peninsula. During 1850-1851 the first organised groups of English settlers, the founders of Christchurch, arrived on the 'first four ships' into Lyttelton Harbour. Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on July 31, 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand .

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