Go up the Gondola near the...
Go up the Gondola near the tunnel to Lyttleton(the port). The view across the Canterbury Plain is spectacular. You can see the east coast in both the north and south and the Southern Alps to the West. Christchurch below and the province are there to see in perspective.
Especially if there has just been a southerly front through and the day is clear and sunny - in the winter the snow makes the Southern Alps appear a lot closer.
Also go to the Arts Centre. LOcal craftsmen and artisans sell New Zealand products. Cheaper than in Auckland too. Rugby at Jade Stadium.
The early History of Christchurch (1)
As I cannot invent or rewrite Christchurch's history I here give you an overview taken from the website of the City Library, and edited to make it an easy read. I also added further information.
The first people to live in the place now known as Christchurch were Moa hunters (called Waitaha), who probably arrived as early as AD 1000. On the coast grew forests of matai and totara, and parts of the Canterbury Plains may also have had forests. By about 1450 the moa had been killed off, and large parts of the forests had been burnt.
North Island Mâori tribes (Ngati Mamoe and later Ngai Tahu who now are the South Island's biggest and richest tribe) travelled south and arrived in Canterbury between 1500 and 1700. The remaining moa hunters were killed or taken into the tribes.
By 1800 the Ngâi Turahuriri sub-tribe of Ngâi Tahu were in control of the coast from the Hurunui River in the north to Lake Ellesmere in the south. Their largest settlement was a fortified pa at Kaiapoi. This was also a major trading centre for pounamu or greenstone.
The main track between Kaiapoi and another settlement at Rapaki (near Lyttelton) followed a path between the swamps and the two rivers, now known as Avon and Heathcote. One of the two remaining patches of forest or bush was at Puturingamotu (now Riccarton), and was an important place for food gathering (birds, eels, fish and freshwater crayfish).
On 16 February 1770 Captain James Cook, sailing on the Endeavour, first sighted the Canterbury peninsula. He thought it was an island, and named it Banks Island after the ship's botanist, Joseph Banks.
It was probably not until 1815 when sailors from the sealing ship Governor Bligh landed that Europeans first set foot on Banks Peninsula. And it was not until 1827 that Captain William Wiseman, a flax trader, named the harbour Port Cooper (now Lyttelton Harbour), after one of the owners of the Sydney trading firm, Cooper & Levy. -
In the meantime the number of local Mâori had fallen by thousands, due to an internal war in 1820, raids from 1830 to 1832, and the impact of European diseases, especially measles and influenza.
More and more whaling and sealing ships visited the peninsula and harbour, and in 1837 Captain George Hempelman set up a whaling station on Banks Peninsula. In May 1840 Major Thomas Bunbury arrived on the HMS Herald to collect the signatures of the Ngâi Tahu chiefs for the Treaty of Waitangi. The treaty had been signed in the Bay of Islands earlier in the year on 6 February, but in the end only two of the Ngâi Tahu chiefs signed it.
The First European Settlements
The first house on the Canterbury Plains was built in 1843 by the Deans brothers (ref. Deans Bush, cottage and Riccarton House). Captain William Rhodes, who had in 1836 first climbed the Port Hills and looked across the Canterbury Plains, came back in 1839 and landed a herd of 50 cattle near Akaroa. In August 1840 Captain Owen Stanley of the Britomart raised the British flag at Akaroa, just before the arrival of 63 French colonists on the Comte de Paris.
But the first attempt at settling on the plains was made by James Herriot of Sydney. He arrived with two small groups of farmers in April 1840. Their first crop was successful, but a plague of rats made them decide to leave.
In 1843 William and John Deans arrived and established a farm at Puturingamotu. The Manson and Gebbie families also came with them, to work on the farm. Together they built the first European house on the Canterbury Plains, and named the area Riccarton after the parish they came from in Scotland, and the nearby river the Avon, after a stream on their grandfather's farm.
1 June 2008: Viva the Crusaders!
The most important news is that the Crusaders are still the best rugby (Union) team in the world. Last night they beat the Waratahs (from Canberra) in the final of the Super 14 league 20:12. The most important thing you should know about sport in NZ is: We support two teams; first our national team, second, any team that plays against Australia. Only if Australia plays against England we support Australia.
The Super 14 triumph was followed by the most terrible loss: Crusaders coach Robbie Deans left for Australia to become new Wallabies coach (national rugby team). Instead of giving him the All Blacks job we have to keep on living with this loser Graham Henry, and Robbie Deans will transform the Wallabies into the best team of the world. To be fair, it will not only be his effort. It is also the fact that an incredible lot of All Blacks players leave NZ for the sake of earning a lot of money in European clubs. Obviously nobody wants the best Aussies!?
Update August 2008
In the Bledisloe Cup the Aussies and Robbie Deans beat the All Blacks in Sydney, and the Aussies jubilated: Thank you, New Zealand, for gifting us the best coach in the world. Although I really like Robbie Deans and really dislike Graham Henry I did NOT support the Aussies, as quite some Kiwis did. And the All Blacks beat them convincingly in the return game in Wellington, and are on a good way again - for now. The All Blacks' and the Crusaders' best, Daniel Carter, will play a year in France and take time-out. A sad time for Crusaders and rugby fans - not only here in Christchurch.
High on a hill....Gethsemane Gardens
If you would like to visit a wildly romantic garden with a Christian theme, then this is it!
St. Cecilia Chapel is an enchanting little trellis structure in the heart of Gethsemane Gardens. High on a hill and close to heaven, the chapel overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Romantic pathways lead you through the gardens, which have a Christian theme.
The Bridal Path takes you under arches to the little chapel. On the uphill side, the garden spells Gethsemane in a series of trellis fences and rock walls. The gardens are intertwined around the letters.
The Rosary Maze on the lower side spells Jesus and below that we have a little Jerusalem and a Prayer Garden in which the Lords Prayer is written out in box-hedging.
Flying to and from Christchurch
Air New Zealand has the most domestic service to Christchurch from almost anywhere in the country. You can even get to the Chatham Islands from here.
As far as international flights, Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island, and Air New Zealand has the most flights. Qantas has plenty of flights from Australia and the USA. You will rack up some good frequent flyer miles getting here.