Canterbury New Zealand

Taken on route between Christchurch and Arthur's Pass.

The region's boundaries are the Conway River to the north and the Waitaki River to the south. Its Western Boundary is the Southern Alps from where it flows vast plains to the ocean on the East Coast and Banks Peninsular. Canterbury is New Zealand's largest region of approximately 42,200 km².

The area is divided into North Canterbury, Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury.

Maori history is that people first inhabited the Canterbury area about a thousand years ago as moa-hunting tribes. They were followed by the Waitaha, thought to have migrated from the east coast of the North Island in the 16th century. This migration seems to have been followed by the Ngati Mamoe and Ngai Tahu until about 1830.

European landed in Canterbury in 1815, 45 years after Captain James Cook named Banks Island now Banks Peninsular as connected by Gebbie's Pass to the mainland. In 1840 the first Europeans settled on the plains and whaling ships were operating out of Lyttelton Harbour by 1850. During 1850-1851 the first organised groups of English settlers, the founders of Christchurch, arrived on the 'first four ships' into Lyttelton Harbour over the hill and now through the tunnel from Christchurch.

Christchurch is the Canterbury's city home to approximately 350,000 of the region's approximately 426,000 people. It became a city by Royal Charter on July 31 1856 which makes it the oldest city in New Zealand.

Images © nhc


Highway 73 - Christchurch to the West Coast


Big sky, typical of the Canterbury Plains

Paddock churned up by cattle
Such water races are being replaced with piped irrigation in areas. Habitat to aquatic species.

Lake Grasmere

Near Castle Hill

Lake Pearson