I do not do paragliding but visiting friends of mine have enjoyed it very much in the Port Hills. Along the Summit Road there are several fine spots for the start, one at Castle Rock which is a very prominent rock not too far from Bridle Path, and the other one over Taylor's Mistake further out towards Godley Head.
There are several companies that offer their services and also do tandem flights and solo courses which are said to be a lot cheaper and certificates seem to be easier to achieve than in Europe - which of course also is due to the higher affordability of the courses. They coach you from ground zero to cloud base, all levels, from one day introductory courses to internationally recognized NZHGPA full paragliding licence. All equipment is provided.
The winds can be very tricky in this area, so be cautious. While tramping along the Summit Road I have even seen a tandem crash, and there are accidents from time to time. On nice days escpecially the Nimbus guys are all over the place.
Here are some names and contacts:
Nimbus Paragliding, Freephone (0800) 111 611, Mobile (025) 324 874, www.nimbusparagliding.co.nz, Email: email@example.com
Paragliding New Zealand, Sumner, Freephone (0508) 727 245, www.paragliding.co.nz, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paramotoring & Paragliding Professionals, 45 Hawkhurst Road, Lyttelton, Phone (03) 328 8255, Mobile (027) 602 2558, www.parapro.co.nz, Email: email@example.com
Equipment: All equipment is provided. You just have to bring sturdy shoes and warm clothes.
Paragliding and pilot instruction is available in Christchurch since 1991.
Tandem flights available for $120
Equipment: Flying at the Scarborough Cliffs or Castle Rock you get awesome views of Christchurch city and the Canterbury plains.