Christchurch is the unofficial capital of the South Island. It’s where things happen. With 380,000 people it’s New Zealand’s third most populous region and easily the largest city in the South Island.
The first thing you notice when you get there is that it’s flat, making it something of a cyclist’s dream. The second thing you notice is that it’s in the middle of a major building boom. The boom itself is a good thing, and one of the major drivers behind New Zealand’s economic growth in recent years. But the reason for it is not so good: there was a series of earthquakes that hit the city hard between 2010 and 2012, and which occasionally are still being felt today.
The building boom that has resulted from the quakes is transforming the city in more ways than one. Obviously, the place is starting to look a little different. But it’s also attracting new people: much of the rebuild is being achieved with migrant workers at all levels, from tradies to project managers, architects to engineers.
And with new buildings come new ideas. While Christchurch has and will continue to service the flourishing agriculture in wider Canterbury, it’s also got a thriving manufacturing capability. And as Christchurch continues to transform, it is also becoming a hotbed of exciting new ideas and innovation.
Christchurch sits against the Port Hills on the south edge of the Canterbury plains, one of New Zealand’s premiere dairy districts. The Port Hills provide a gateway to Lyttleton Harbour, and with the majestic Southern Alps rising in the west beyond the plains, the whole area is a recreational paradise. There is yearround salt and freshwater fishing; mountain biking; hiking and loads more.