Canterbury's largest city, Christchurch is on an exciting journey to build the world's newest city for the 21st Century and beyond.

In 2011 the area suffered severe earthquakes that damaged hundreds of buildings in CBD and thousands of residential houses, but the rebuild is creating many new opportunities.




% born outside NZ:


Average house price March 2016:

Christchurch $485,700

Median Wage


Out of the devastation of the major earthquakes that hit Canterbury in 2010 and 2011 there has come an extraordinary opportunity to boldly redesign the city with a focus on the future.

This unique environment has created business and employment opportunities in Christchurch that cannot be matched in other parts of the world.

After extensive public consultation, a capital works programme is underway that will see the development of dedicated retail, cultural, innovation and health precincts, as well as a major convention centre, sports stadium and metro sports facility.

Canterbury’s proximity to ski fields and mountains also make the region a popular choice with outdoors enthusiasts and those seeking a lifestyle balance. As the local tourism promotion puts it (and it’s true) “you can ski, snowboard, bungy jump, hike, jet boat, fish, mountain bike, raft, surf, swim, golf, see whales, dolphins and seals, visit wineries and gardens, shop, and so much more, all within two hours of Christchurch.”

Centred on Christchurch, Canterbury region is a business and agricultural powerhouse. North, mid and south Canterbury halfway down the east coast of the South Island comprise New Zealand’s largest geographic region. A population of around 342,000 makes Christchurch our second largest city.

Christchurch is a 1 hour 20 minute flight from Auckland and a ¾ hour flight from Wellington. It takes 4¾ hours driving to get to Picton for the interisland ferry.

The other main centres of the region, Ashburton (pop. 31,000) and Timaru (43,929), are 1¼ and 2¼ hours away respectively.

From the air the Canterbury plains form a vast patchwork of neatly laid out farms. These plains are crossed by several large rivers descending from the snow clad Southern Alps to the west of the region. As they cross the plains, the rivers divide into braids.

The coastline features open sandy beaches, although Banks Peninsula has many smaller, sheltered bays.

Canterbury has a thriving economy, with one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the OECD. The region’s Gross Domestic Product continues to increase, largely driven by the booming construction sector.

But construction is not the only sector performing well, other sectors to experience strong growth in the year ending March 2014 include Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Health Care and Social Assistance, Finance and Insurance, Retail Trade, Accommodation, and Cafes and Restaurants.

Christchurch is also New Zealand’s second largest region for technology businesses and boasts some of Australasia’s most innovative and successful software, hardware and electronics companies. These include a combination of local firms such as Jade Software, Tait Communications and SLI Systems, plus globally head-quartered multi-nationals such as Hewlett Packard, Allied Telesis and Sungard.

Canterbury is a world-renowned food growing region, producing amongst other things, meat products, seafood, dairy food and wine for domestic consumption and export. Non-food products are also important such as seeds and forage crops. The region is also a hub for agribusiness research and agritech innovations, undertaken by the private sector and by globally-recognised research institutes such as Lincoln University, Landcare Research, Plant and Food Research and AgResearch. 

Tourism is also an important export income earner for Christchurch. The city has traditionally been seen as the gateway for tourism in the South Island. The city’s international airport is second only to Auckland in terms of international arrivals and departures.

Summer in Christchurch is mild with daily maximum temperatures of averaging around 22.5°C. Temperatures are often moderated by sea breezes, but a record of 41.6°C was reached in February 1973. On summer days there is sometimes a hot, dry nor’west wind, and a high arch of clouds in the sky – the nor’west arch.

In winter it is common for the temperature to fall below 0°C at night rising to around 11°C during the day. There are on average 99 days of ground frost per year. Snow falls on average three times per year.

Many migrants have already made Canterbury home. The table below shows where these migrants are moving from and demonstrates the diverse population you can expect to find in Canterbury.

It can be comforting to know there are others, similar to you, who have experienced the move.

table caption

Country of origin

No. of migrant

UK and Ireland




Europe (excl. UK and Ireland) 9,003
Australia 8,520
Middle East and Africa 7,338
Christchurch Story (04:31)

Adrian Matthews - I think the key thing is to do your research and to have a good look around. Try and form some networks.

Bob Stimson - The more homework you can do, the smoother the transition will be.

George Manjooran - If you study the market well, it’s easy to get a job in New Zealand.


Now that you know about what Canterbury has to offer, have a read about everyday life in the region, and services and support you can access.

In this section:

  • Jobs & employment

    Check out the local job market, find out who can help with your job search and where to start looking.

  • Information & advice

    Where to go for information, help and support with personal, family, migrant or legal issues.

  • Housing

    Find out what you’ll pay, where to start looking and what happens with power, water and rubbish.

  • Learning English

    Find out more about your options for English language courses.

  • Recreation

    There’s heaps to see and do. Connect with local sport, culture, entertainment and shopping.

  • Education

    Check out the local education facilities - schools, tertiary, Adult education courses and more.

  • Healthcare

    Find the doctors, dentists, after hours and emergency health services available in the region.

  • Community services

    Get transport information, access government offices, learn about safety in NZ and find family support services here.

Events for new migrants

Upcoming events in your region

Events for new migrants are regularly held throughout the country. Gain local insight into finding a job and getting setup and settled in New Zealand.

View events calendar

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Register with us and you’ll receive great info on jobs and upcoming events.


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Page last updated: 09/01/2017

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