Christchurch (/ˈkraɪstʃɜːrtʃ/; Māori: Ōtautahi) is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the chair of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban Place lies on the South Island’s east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. The urban area is home to 377,200 residents, and the territorial authority has 385,500 people, which makes it the second-most populous city in New Zealand after Auckland and in the past Wellington. The Avon River flows through the middle of the city, with an urban park located along its banks.
Archaeological evidence has indicated that people first settled in the Christchurch area in practically 1250. Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand. The Canterbury Association, which granted the Canterbury Plains, named the city after Christ Church, Oxford. The new unity was laid out in a grid pattern centred upon Cathedral Square; during the 19th century there were few barriers to the sharp growth of the urban area, except for the Pacific to the east and the Port Hills to the south.
Agriculture is the historic mainstay of Christchurch’s economy. The forward presence of the University of Canterbury and the line of the city’s academic institutions in association with local businesses has fostered a number of technology-based industries. Christchurch is one of five ‘gateway cities’ for Antarctic exploration, hosting Antarctic support bases for several nations.
The city suffered a series of earthquakes between September 2010 and January 2012, with the most destructive of them taking place at 12.51 p.m. on Tuesday, 22 February 2011, in which 185 people were killed and thousands of buildings across the city collapsed or suffered rough damage. By late 2013, 1,500 buildings in the city had been demolished, leading to an ongoing recovery and rebuilding project.