Living in Christchurch

The city of Christchurch is located in the beautiful region of Canterbury. Often referred to as the ‘Garden City’, it’s noted for its friendly locals, diverse landscape, and sport - with its most famous team being the Canterbury Crusaders.

Although the outdoors present an attractive lifestyle choice for many, most Kiwis would say it’s the people and communities that make the city something special.

In this section you’ll find useful info and links to help you understand what living in Christchurch can offer you, when you make the big move. You can also visit the Christchurch City Council website for more:

What to do in Christchurch

As the Lonely Planet recently blogged, ‘Christchurch is re-emerging as one of NZ’s most exciting cities’. Get a slice of what’s on offer using these sites as a starting point:

Arts and culture, some community fun, or perhaps food and wine? For the latest regional events and festivals visit: or try

A lot of the historic architecture of the central city has been damaged, but the ‘English feel’ of Christchurch has not diminished. Visitors and students can still be seen punting along the serene Avon River, and the celebrated Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park are great for some R&R.

Don’t forget that from April this year rugby fans can watch Christchurch’s beloved Crusaders at their new home ground in the suburb called Addington:

Or…shopping in a shipping container perhaps? Why not! As the city rebuilds around it, the humble container has emerged as the latest option to bring back the city’s iconic retailers and hospitality stops in one of the central shopping malls, Cashell Mall. The innovative project is called ‘ReStart’ and features 27 premium stores:

Many of Christchurch’s pre-earthquake restaurants have relocated to funky suburban hubs around the fringe of the central city, with a refreshing buzz about them. If you're looking for a new restaurant to try or a new neat place to go or

Local fresh produce is plentiful in Christchurch, and these three markets are the creme of the crop! Visiting the markets is not only a delicious meal option but a great outing for families or singles alike:

Coming into Christmas be sure to check out the Craft markets:


If you’ve got children, or are looking to study, this information could be a great place to start.


Christchurch offers a wealth of education opportunities, including world-class schools and tertiary institutions. If you're new to NZ you can find out about NZ’s education system at

To find out more about a particular school or another educational institution, visit the Education Review Office at or try the Ministry of Education website school directory at

University of Canterbury has one of the most diverse and vibrant student cultures of any New Zealand university. Well-known graduates include NZ Prime Minister John Key, comedian Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords) and Nobel prize-winner Ernest Rutherford. Visit


This page from the Settlement Support website outlines our world-class health system and what new residents are entitled to:

Christchurch Public Hospital can found at:


Settlement Support have put together a great PDF that tells you about options to get around in Christchurch – whether it’s using or buying a car, bussing, walking or cycling (Christchurch is perfect for bikes); they’re all available options:

Starting a business

Small business start-up resources:

Here is the New Zealand government website that brings together free resources, tools and information to help people start, manage and grow a new Kiwi business:

The Christchurch Small Business Enterprise Centre offers a range of services to start-up business owners, including business facilitation and consultancy, development plans, marketing advice and reporting, management planning and budgeting, finance advice, tourism consultancy and training courses in Christchurch. They also provide training and advice specific to migrants. Visit:

Westpac lends Business Managers out to tradies for free

To help you focus on your projects, our local Business Managers can visit when and where it's suitable for you, spend time looking at your business' banking needs, assist with budgeting services, and talk through flexible funding solutions. And their service is free! Find out more here

Need a free business website?

Westpac has recently teamed up with MYOB (an accounting software company) to offer NZ registered businesses free websites (for the first 12 months). Plus you can build a site yourself online using the MYOB Atlas system and pre-designed templates. So easy! Check it out for more.

NZ businesses and taxation:

Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is the official department assigned with collecting most of the government’s tax revenue. Each country has its own set of regulations around tax, so visit for info on the NZ tax system.

Potentially exporting?

NZ Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is the government’s national economic development agency. They support New Zealand businesses at every stage of their development — from start-up to solid success. Their main focus is on exporting:

Christchurch and the state of the economy:

Westpac's Chief Economist, Dominick Stephens, discusses the Christchurch rebuild and how it affects the NZ Economy, and therefore the business sector. Find out more.


There's always heaps happening in and around Christchurch, from food, beer and wine festivals to horse racing - there's something for everyone.

Make sure you explore the beautiful neighbouring towns including Hamner Springs, Lyttleton and Akaroa - who all host a variety of events over the summer months and are only a few hours away from the heart of Christchurch.

November in particular is a big month for Christchurch, we not only host the annual A and P show but we also have the NZ Cup as the crown jewel of the harness racing calendar.

As the weather continues to warm up, events will continue to pop up - check out these links as a starter.

Annual Summer events

Seafest - is Kaikoura's premier festival featuring wine and food from the region.

The great west coast whitebait festival - is a celebration of the best of kiwi hospitality.

French fest- a celebration of all things Gallic, this festival embraces the unique beauty, culture and heritage of NZ's sole French settlement.

Christchurch's Spring festival - is about celebrating the thrill of a win, a night out with friends, getting a taste of rural life at the show, a chance to dress to the nines, to experience the regions excellent food and wine and to come together and have some fun.

Wine Festival - a celebration of the wineries of the South Island region.

The great kiwi beer festival - is a day-long celebration of brewing in NZ.

Other websites to check out

Hanmer Springs - a beautiful alpine resort, is the ideal place to unwind, but also provides a host of activities:

Be there - offers a host of events in the Canterbury region:

The running events calendar - provides a list of events in the Canterbury region if keeping fit is your thing:

The Vbase website - is a great site to keep an eye on up coming events:

Mt Hutt- is Canterbury's premier Ski Field in the winter months:

The mudhouse winery - located in Amberley hosts a wide variety of summer activites:

Rebuild & support services

We recommend the following three websites for up to date resources on the Christchurch rebuild and support services information: 

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) 

CERA is the agency established by the Government to lead and coordinate the ongoing recovery effort. There’s a wealth of information on their website:

Settlement Support 

Settlement Support is a free web service set up through Immigration New Zealand, that's available to all newcomers, migrants and refugees:

Canterbury Employment and Skills Board (CESB)

CESB was established in 2011 to provide a clear understanding of workforce demands and priorities following the earthquakes:

Science made simple 

The reality of living in Christchurch at the moment means living with seismic activity. These sites provide up to date measurements, and digestible information on the ongoing aftershocks:

GNS Science website has helpful insights into understanding and monitoring seismic activity, with a section dedicated to Canterbury:

GeoNet also monitors earthquakes, with a great real-time map that shows the latest activity and intensity: They also have insights and news specific to Canterbury:

Westpac and the earthquake 

After both the September 2010 and February 2011 quakes, no other bank did more than Westpac.

A UMR research survey of Canterbury residents ranked Westpac as the most supportive bank and third most supportive corporate following the Christchurch earthquakes.

Find out more about our involvement in the aftermath of the quakes here.

WATCH: All Blacks captain and Westpac Ambassador Richie McCaw chats about his home town of Christchurch, and the hopes he has for the rebuild....