One of the best ways to understand why people are drawn to Canterbury is to fly into Christchurch International Airport. On the western horizon there are the Southern Alps, covered with snow in winter and home to many ski fields. Below are the Canterbury Plains and the twisting channels of the Rangitata, Rakaia and Waimakariri rivers. To the east, miles of beaches stretch north and south, broken only by the hills and harbors of the Banks Peninsula.
As the local tourist promotion puts it (and it's true) “you can ski, snowboard, bungy, hike, jet boat, fish, mountain bike, raft, surf, swim, golf, see whales, dolphins and seals, visit wineries and gardens, shops and more, all within two hours of Christchurch.”
Cantabrians have shown great resilience since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes and have continued the task of rebuilding the city and region. The $40 billion rebuild is halfway through with projects including the spectacular Margaret Mahy Children's Amusement Park, the Hagley Oval, the Christchurch Art Gallery and a Central Bus Interboard, all delivered.
Many other projects are underway, including the Christchurch Innovation Precinct – a center for innovative and high-tech companies, the Avon River Precinct – an urban waterfront for people to gather, entertain, relax, shop and eat, a great shopping, dining , leisure and cultural experience.
Canterbury is part of the Te Hapharoa ki ngā Hapori pilot program, which welcomes newcomers: recent migrants, ex-refugees and international students.
economy and industry
Canterbury has a thriving economy, with high levels of activity, low unemployment and strong performance from key sectors including construction, high-tech manufacturing, technology, agribusiness and tourism. Christchurch is also New Zealand's second largest region for technology companies and boasts some of Australasia's most innovative and successful software, hardware and electronics companies. This includes a combination of local companies such as Jade Software, Tait Communications and SLI Systems, as well as global multinational companies such as Hewlett Packard, Allied Telesis and Sungard. Canterbury is a world-renowned food growing region producing, among other things, meat, seafood, dairy and wine products for domestic consumption and export. Non-food products are also important, such as seeds and forage crops. The region is also a center for agribusiness research and agricultural innovations carried out by the private sector and world-renowned research institutes such as Lincoln University, Landcare Research, Plant and Food Research and AgResearch. Tourism is also an important source of income for Christchurch's exports. The city has traditionally been seen as the gateway to tourism on the South Island. The city's international airport is second only to Auckland in terms of international arrivals and departures. Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism promotes the city and the region.
The region offers hot, dry summers and access to snow-capped mountains during the winter. Summer in Christchurch is mild, with daily maximum temperatures of around 22.5°C. Temperatures are generally moderated by sea breezes, but a record of 41.6°C was reached in February 1973. In winter, it is common for temperatures to drop below 0°C at night, rising to about 11°C daytime. There are an average of 99 days of ground frost per year. Snow falls on average three times a year.
The Canterbury region is a commercial and agricultural powerhouse. North, Middle and South Canterbury, halfway off the east coast of the South Island, comprises New Zealand's largest geographic region. A population of around 375,000 makes Christchurch our second largest city. From the air, the Canterbury Plains form a vast patchwork of well-organized farmland. These plains are crossed by several large rivers that descend from the snow-capped Southern Alps to the west of the region. As they cross the plains, the rivers split into braids. The coastline has open sandy beaches, although the Banks Peninsula has many smaller, sheltered bays. Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island. The city attracts thousands of people each year who come to enjoy the variety of natural, historical and cultural attractions that Canterbury and the South Island have to offer, including stunning vineyards, rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, lakes, heated pools, marine life and glaciers. Christchurch is a 1 hour and 20 minutes flight from Auckland and an hour flight from Wellington.