Relocating To Christchurch

Monday, May 1st, 2017

Read about 'Relocating To Christchurch' on USAVE, the place for all things car rental.

Migrating to New Zealand or relocating to Christchurch and want to find out more about living in The Garden City? See below for some useful information, moving tips and helpful advice on moving to the South Island’s largest city.

Why Move To Christchurch?

The South Island of New Zealand is home to such diverse countryside, with everything from the lush green bush lined hills of the West Coast, sunny golden beaches of Nelson through to the sweeping tussock clad valleys and snowy peaks of the Otago region.

The contrasting landscapes provide a multitude of outdoor adventure activities literally right on the doorstep. In fact that is one of the things that make Christchurch such a great place to be, everything is within easy driving distance, add to that great annual sunshine hours, low crime rates, great schools and easy commuting distances – What better place to live, work and raise a family?

Christchurch Port Hills

Living In Christchurch

Christchurch is located near the centre of the east coast of the South Island and is flanked by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Canterbury Plains to the west. Christchurch’s borders stretch from the Waimakariri River in the north to the Banks Peninsula in the south. Christchurch is widely considered the gateway to the South Island, providing easy access to the rest of the Canterbury region and beyond, making it a popular base for visitors and residents alike.

Travelers can make their way northwards towards Kaikoura, Hanmer Springs, Blenheim and the sunny Nelson Tasman region. Or head into the “Deep South” to the popular tourist destination of Queenstown, the student hub of Dunedin or Invercargill. Heading west will see travelers experience the wilds of the famous West Coast.

Within a 3 hour drive you can go skiing at a top alpine resort, try surfing on the east coast, head out to sea to watch dolphins, whales and penguins, float high above the Canterbury Plains in a hot air balloon, hike through rain forests, see spectacular glaciers and crystal clear lakes, or head to a national park for the best trekking and biking.

As well as making a great base for travel further afield, Christchurch offers many sports and leisure facilities, a thriving arts scene, fantastic nightlife and entertainment, award-winning cuisine and boutique cafes and shopping. 

Christchurch Gondola

Top 3 Christchurch Population Demographics

  1. Numbers. Although after understandably taking a bit of a hit after the 2011 earthquakes, Christchurch’s population has regained strength with net migration gains and increases in population numbers once again becoming a regular occurrence. The Christchurch City Council places current population numbers at 375,000 residents within the city limits. With expected growth to add another 80 odd thousand to the list by 2043. The Canterbury region still holds its place as one of the fastest growing regions in the country with the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts leading the charge.
  2. Age. The median age for people residing in Christchurch according to Statistics NZ is 38.6 years, almost exactly the median age for New Zealand as a whole (38 years).
  3. Ethnicity. Around 83.9 percent of the Christchurch population identify themselves as being European compared to 74 percent nationwide. 9.4 percent of the population identify themselves as Asian, 3.1 percent as Pacific peoples and 8.4 percent as Maori compared with 14.9 percent nationwide. Migrants make a large proportion of Christchurch’s population with one in five having been born overseas. England, Australia and China top the list of countries most migrants have originated from.

Christchurch Climate Conditions

New Zealand as a whole is lucky to have a relatively temperate climate, with warm dry summers and mild wet winters. Christchurch temperatures vary somewhat with a tendency towards a couple of very hot, very dry summer months and the possibility of a little snow during the winter.

January and February are the warmest months with temperatures sitting around 20 degrees Celsius on average, but they can reach over 30 degrees on a hot day. The coldest months of July and August average temperatures of around 6 degrees Celsius, temperatures dropping below zero are fairly rare.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

House Prices In Christchurch

Whether you choose an urban central city apartment, spacious suburban home or semi-rural lifestyle block, generally speaking median house prices are significantly lower in Christchurch than Auckland and cheaper than countries such as Australia and the UK. Central city house prices are likely to be more expensive, the outer suburbs to the south, north and west are generally considered less expensive in the sense you can get more bang for your buck.

The great thing about Christchurch is, unlike Auckland and Wellington its expansion is not restricted by surrounding waterways. Driven by the Christchurch earthquakes, the lesser effected outer suburbs have increased in popularity with many residents seeking more solid ground. Aidanfield, Yaldhurst, Lehmans, Rolleston and Pegasus have topped the list, experiencing an influx of residents.

The cost of renting a 3 or 4 bedroom house in Christchurch is around $350-$450 per week depending on the suburb compared to the New Zealand average which is $340 per week. The majority of housing in the central business district is apartment and townhouse style living.

Find out more about the cost of living in New Zealand, including a cost of living calculator.

Working In Christchurch

Christchurch boasts a thriving commercial business hub with a range of large companies and small businesses offering a full and part time employment across many industry sectors.

The agriculture (dairy farming and cropping in particular), along with manufacturing and more recently construction (due to the Christchurch earthquakes) take out the top three industry sectors with strong employment opportunites. In addition, the proximity of Christchurch to beaches, ski fields and tourist attractions provides plenty of seasonal tourism based employment.

Christchurch Schools

Schools in Christchurch are among the best in the country, there are two excellent Universities and a large number of tertiary colleges providing higher education along with a good selection of Primary and Secondary Schools available with plenty of schools dotted throughout the city and the surrounding suburbs. 

New Zealand schools include both government-funded (state) and private schools, many of which have a traditional English “public school” feel. State Primary Schools are co-educational while some Secondary Schools are single sex. There are also a range of private and funded day care centres and kindergartens for pre-school children (age 2 – 5). Private schooling options are available in both Primary and Secondary sectors along with a Rudolf Steiner School and many special needs options. 


Enrolment is usually based on geographic location with most Primary and Secondary Schools having “enrolment zones” encompassing their surrounding suburbs. Admission to state schools is heavily determined by the residential “zoning” and house prices in areas close to popular schools can be high, so it pays to check out your preferences for schools before buying a house in Christchurch. 

Primary School – Ages 5 to 13

It is compulsory for children aged six to sixteen to attend school, however it is normal practice for children to begin upon turning the age of five. Primary School’s usually run from Year 1 through to Year 8 where children are usually 12-13 years of age upon completion. However some Primary Schools will only span Year 1 to 6 meaning the children must attend an Intermediate School for the remaining two years before attending a Secondary School.

Secondary School – Ages 13 – 18

Secondary School (or High School as it is known in New Zealand) covers Years 9 through 13 with the majority of students choosing to complete the full five years. Core subject include the arts, health and physical education, mathematics, technology, science, social sciences, English, other languages including Maori. New Zealand’s main secondary school qualification is the National Certificate of Educational Achievement or NCEA. View a list of Christchurch schools for more details.

Christchurch Suburbs

Christchurch suburbs range from quiet tree lined streets through to busy suburban hubs. The majority of Christchurch land is flat meaning most suburban homes have easy access, good onsite or roadside parking and are relatively easy to maintain. Suburbs like Riccarton, Beckenham, Sydenham, Addington, Ilam, Fendalton, Merivale and Papanui form part of the inner suburban circle.

The outer suburbs include Marshland, Burwood, Parklands, Avondale, New Brighton, Bromley, Avonhead, Harewood, Bishopdale, Casebrook, Redwood and Brooklands serve as the outer suburban ring along with Hoon Hay, Halswell, Oaklands, Wigram, Middleton and Sockburn.

Mt Pleasant, Redcliffs, Sumner, Ferrymead, Heathcote Valley, Hillsborough, Huntsbury, Cashmere, Westmorland and Hillmorton form the basis of the hillside suburbs while Hornby, Islington, Templeton, Yaldhurst and Russley make up the majority of the western outlying areas. Further afield are the satellite towns of Rolleston, West Melton, Tai Tapu, Lincoln, Prebbleton, Rangiora, Akaroa and Kaiapoi.

The Christchurch Earthquakes And Rebuild

Although Christchurch will never be the same as it was before the devastating 2011 earthquakes, a new, more resilient Christchurch is rising from the rubble. Council plans have set in motion the allowance for large green spaces, entertainment and accommodation, retail, health and sporting precincts, with much of the development well underway.

Although many businesses have moved into suburban areas it is expected that many will choose to return to the central city. Currently the areas of Riccarton, Addington and Papanui, in particular, are popular commercial hubs. The need for skilled construction workers has temporarily taken precedence over the usual agriculture, manufacturing and technology based professions that have traditionally formed the backbone of the Christchurch employment industry.

Christchurch Earthquake

Top 4 Tips For Relocating In New Zealand

Moving to a new country, relocating to a new city or just shifting house is often a stressful time. Even if you are experienced at moving, it can be difficult to adjust, especially if you are relocating long-distances. Here are a few tips to help you settle in here in New Zealand.

1. Develop Contacts

If you are relocating for work purposes, your employer may be able to suggest a colleague in the area you are moving to that can help you with matters both professionally, such as which way to drive to work, and personally such as good neighbourhoods to reside in. Local community centres and libraries often have details of local interest groups, which could be an important source of information and a way to meet new people.

2. Do Some Research

With the amount of information online these days, it’s amazing how much you can learn about a new area simply by researching it on the Internet. You can find information on schools and employment, property prices, local council policies, local sport teams, groups and events, plus other handy information that will help you settle when you arrive.

3. Visit Before Moving

If possible, take at least one trip to the area beforehand, especially if you are not familiar with the area. You can also identify the best travel routes around the area. By visualising certain landmarks and points of interest it will make it less stressful to navigate when the time comes.

4. Make Friends

See if any of your new colleagues have similar interests and start a conversation about activities or sports in the local area. This may lead to an invite to participate. With the power of social networking, you can identify if you have any friends of friends living in the new area that you might like to meet up with. You could ask the connecting friend to make initial contact. Also consider joining a local group or volunteer at a community event to meet new people, and introduce yourself to your immediate neighbours – you may have something in common.

5 Moving Day Tips

Moving within New Zealand and planning on cutting costs by moving yourself? You’d be joining an increasing number of budget conscious New Zealanders. Rather than hire an expensive removals company, why not hire a rental truck or van as an economical way to move all of your items hassle free. Here are a few things to remember when planning the move yourself.

  1. Book The Rental Truck Well In Advance. To ensure the best availability for your van or truck rental, make your booking with the Rental Car Company as far in advance of your move date as possible. Look for convenient rental truck locations near to both your pick up and drop off locations to make moving easier.
  2. Select The Right Rental Truck For Your Needs. Pick a vehicle that is large enough to complete the entire job in one or two trips, but don’t try to squeeze too much in as your possessions may get damaged. And don’t forget, driving a van or truck is a lot different to driving a car. Read our New Zealand rental trucks driving safety tips for more information.
  3. Vehicle Insurance. Always ensure rental vans and trucks are covered by full comprehensive insurance, with an excess payable. And always check the terms and conditions for further details or hidden costs.
  4. Packing Materials. Buy good quality boxes and packaging supplies to protect your belongings, no body wants to end up with a pile of damaged or broken belongings. Some New Zealand Rental Car Companies will supply hand trucks, furniture blankets and trailers to help you with your move. Read our moving truck hire packing tips for more helpful advice on packing.
  5. Organising Help. Ask your friends and family to help if it’s a large move, and give them plenty of notice. Have everything packed and ready to load before helpers arrive, and keep everyone happy with snacks and refreshments. 


Pick up an affordable USAVE rental truck in Palmerston North, Auckland, Christchurch or Dunedin to help you move.


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