City Discovery: The Oldest City in New Zealand – Christchurch

The 2015 City Discovery Series will showcase one of ISA’s program locations each week. Facts about each location and Discovery Compass activity examples will be given, highlighting the areas of Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental discovery. The Discovery Compass aims to help students have the best possible study abroad experience by helping them to gain a better understanding of the local environment, customs and people through a variety of experiences

Discover Christchurch!

After an unintentional spelling error in the city charter, the city known as Christ Church became the city known as Christchurch. And on July 31, 1856, Christchurch was officially established by Royal Charter and is New Zealand’s oldest city.

On February 22, 2011, Christchurch was hit by a 6.3 magnitude. The earthquake was the largest earthquake to ever hit a large city and has played a large role in the current transformation of the city.

Here are some Discovery Compass activities in Christchurch that you won’t want to miss:

Discovery Compass ChristchurchIntercultural
Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

Explore the Ko Tane Living Maori Village to experience Maori traditions and history, as well as take part in a traditional Maori hangi dinner, a meal that involves cooking in an earth oven.

Mix with locals and experience New Zealand’s national sport of rugby. Visit Christchurch Stadium to cheer on the city’s own and one of the country’s more successful rugby teams, the Christchurch Crusaders.

ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Take a walk around the city to discover some of New Zealand’s most impressive examples of Edwardian and neo-gothic architecture that stem from Christchurch’s strong English roots.

Learn about the women’s suffrage movement in New Zealand by visiting the Kate Sheppard Memorial, Christchurch’s only National Memorial. The monument depicts several figures from the New Zealand women’s suffrage movement and commemorates the fact that New Zealand was the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.

Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Meet the Wizard of Christchurch. One of the city’s delightful characters, the Wizard is a man who dresses in robes in Christchurch’s city center and expresses various political and social ideas to anyone who cares to listen. Though not an elected leader, the Wizard has become a voice for the city and an internationally recognized celebrity.

Visit the Cardboard Cathedral. After sustaining significant damage in the February 2011 earthquake, the highly controversial decision was made to demolish the iconic Christchurch Cathedral. Just a few blocks away from where the cathedral stood is the site of the Cardboard Cathedral. It was originally intended as a temporary structure, but has since become an icon of the city’s spirit of reconstruction.

Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

Get your hands dirty through 30 hours of community service based on the Christchurch earthquakes. During the Rebuilding Christchurch course at the University of Canterbury, students have the opportunity to help in the city’s post-earthquake restoration.

Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

Take a walk through the city’s expanse of gardens, parks and green spaces. Known as the Garden City, Christchurch offers numerous opportunities to enjoy green spaces within the city, among them are the famous Hagley Park, the city’s largest urban open space, and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, that have been open since 1863.

Adventure to the south island’s west coast during the KiwiRail Scenic Escape excursion. During this trip, students will have the opportunity to experience the incredible geographic and ecological diversity of the South Island.

Find out more about how you can study abroad in Christchurch!


Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.