Christchurch also referred to as Otautahi in Maori, is the largest city in New Zealand’s South Island and second most populated in the country. Some suggest that it was named after Christchurch, in Dorset; while others believe it was named after Canterbury Cathedral in Kent; and yet others believe it was in honour of Christ Church in Oxford.
Archaeological evidence indicates that people inhabited the area around 1250 AD. It is also the oldest established city in New Zealand. Christchurch is home to over 400,000 residents. 76% of the population had European heritage while 14% Asian. Maori’s only contributed to 9% of the population. More than half the residents did not follow any religion with Christians being the largest denomination at 37%.
Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest manufacturing centre and the country’s second economic contributor as well.
Families with school going children relocating to this city will be spoilt for choice with the 145 schools that Christchurch has to offer. The schools cater to 60,000 secondary school students. Schooling lasts for 13 years with student usually beginning formal education at the age of five. State Schools are funded by the government and students are not charged a fee provided they are permanent residents, New Zealanders or Australian citizens. Private schools however, charge students a fee.
Burnside High School located here is the fourth largest school in New Zealand with nearly 2,500 pupils. Other large schools include: Cashmere High School, Papanui High School and Riccarton High School. In addition, there are a few single-sex schools: Shirley Boys’ High School, Christchurch Boys’ High School, Avonside Girls’ High School and Christchurch Girls’ High School.
Tertiary institutions in Christchurch or near it include:
Ara Institute of Canterbury
University of Canterbury
University of Otago
Christchurch has an extensive bus network servicing the city making moving to this city or to the surrounding areas convenient. The vast bus network covers major shopping centres, the central station as well as to the region’s suburbs.
You can use a Metrocard or cash to pay for public transport. Fares are defined by zones which is determined by the distance travelled. The Metrocard will entitle you to unlimited transfers to other bus routes within two hours. Cash payments limit you to just one bus route transfer within the two-hour period. A daily passenger bus service also operates between Dunedin and Christchurch on the State Highway 1.
The Diamond Harbour Ferry transports passengers from Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour. The service departs every hour on weekdays and Saturdays and a trip to either destination takes about eight minutes.
There is also a tram meant mostly a tourist attraction. It loops around the city operating every 15 minutes and includes 17 transit stops. Passengers could also have a meal on the tram at night.
TranzAlpine train travels along the Main South Line to Rolleston and onto the Midland Line, then passes through the Southern Alps via the Otira Tunnel and terminates in Greymouth. This trip is considered one of the top ten great train journeys in the world. The scenery through which it passes is spectacular. The TranzAlpine service is a tourist service and rarely carries commuter traffic.
Parks and Gardens
Christchurch has earned the name of Garden City because of the number of public parks and gardens. Hagley Park and Christchurch Botanic Gardens were founded in 1863. Hagley Park is the site for sporting activities like Golf, Cricket, Netball, Rugby as well as open air concerts. There is the wildlife park: Willowbank and the Travis Wetland.
Theatre and Music
Amongst other entertainment venues, Christchurch also has several theatres. These include the Court Theater, a professional theatre founded in 1971 and the Free Theatre Christchurch established in 1979 as well as the Ngaio Marsh Theatre and the Isaac Theatre Royal. Some community-based theatres include Christchurch Repertory Society, Elmwood Players, Riccarton Players and Canterbury Children’s Theatre.
A professional symphony orchestra, the New Zealand Opera and bands like The Bats, The Narcs, Shocking Pinks and Bailter Space can be found in Christchurch.
Ski fields are a major attraction for both residents and tourists to this city.
- Mount Hutt is Canterbury’s largest commercial ski-field only 115 kms or an hour and 30 minutes from Christchurch.
- Porters has beginner, intermediate facilities as well as advanced runs, with aptly named trails Big Mama and Bluff Face. It is 99 kms or an hour and 50 minutes from the city.
- Mount Cheeseman 1 hour 45 minutes or 104 kms away is a laidback ski field in the Craigieburn range
- Broken River consists of a large open basin with rolling terrain and steeper chutes at the top of the ski field. This field is located 112 kms and is an hour and 50-minute drive away from Christchurch.
- Mount Olympus has rope tows, suitable for “beginner to extreme” skiers and snow boarders.
- Cragieburn features long runs and access to backcountry skiing.
Christchurch has so much to offer – education, entertainment and everything else in between. If you are relocating or moving to or from Christchurch from any international destination, call Grace Removals on 1300 723 844 to avail yourself of the best removalists in Australasia. Grace has over 100 years’ experience relocating and moving people across the world. We will provide you with the service that is second to none and at prices that are competitive.