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Christchurch Information

Christchurch is located on New Zealand's South Island. With a population of slightly over 360,000 residents, Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand's South Island, and it is the third largest city in New Zealand behind Auckland and Wellington.

Prior to the arrival of European settlers, the area of present day Christchurch was inhabited by various tribal people. A tribe called the Ngai Tahu possessed the land just before the beginning of European colonization.

The city of Christchurch itself was founded in 1840 with major settlement beginning in 1850. The city was named after Christ Church in the city of Oxford, England.

Christchurch is built with a cathedral central design. Cathedral Square is at the heart of the city. The city's central business district and the arts and cultural district are located around Cathedral Square.

On September 4, 2010, February 22, 2011, and June 13, 2011, Christchurch was hit by a series of massive earthquakes. These earthquakes were so powerful that the ground actually became liquid in portions of Christchurch. The Christchurch Cathedral in the center of the city suffered massive damage and was rendered completely unusable. The church must be totally demolished and a new structure erected. Multiple buildings and homes in the city and surrounding area were destroyed. Many Christchurch residents and tourists died during the quakes.

The city is currently engaged in extensive reconstruction in the city center and the eastern part of the city. The New Zealand government wants to redesign Christchurch so that the new buildings are limited in height thus helping to prevent damage if future earthquakes occur. The government also plans to make Christchurch into even more of a garden city than it already is. Christchurch is filled with parks, botanical gardens, flowers, and trees.

The climate of Christchurch is heavily influenced by New Zealand's island location in the Pacific Ocean. In the summer, the ocean winds aid in limiting the temperature from rising to excessive levels. The winter months are chilly. Christchurch experiences many frosty days at or below the freezing mark. On average, Christchurch receives about two major snow events during the winter. Throughout the year, Christchurch has many sunny days.

Visitors to Christchurch will find many wonderful artistic and cultural attractions, but the area's greatest attraction is the natural beauty of mountains, ocean, and sunshine.

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