The community needs to sustain a positive sense of the continuity of culture and heritage in order to maintain both personal and community well-being. Culture and heritage are the main ways we, as a city, express our individuality and sense of self.

The City's identity is enhanced by buildings and open space

The identity of a city is derived from its built form, amenity and heritage values, and their relationship to natural and physical resources. It is the unique relationship between these things which set a city apart from other cities and reinforce individual and community perceptions of place.

Measures for this outcome are currently under development. More detail will be available at a later date. 

The City's heritage and taonga are conserved

Conservation takes into account all the processes of understanding and caring for a place so as to safeguard the value of its historic and cultural heritage. The heritage of our city benefits not only residents of Christchurch, but also visitors to the city. It is therefore essential that links with the past are identified and conserved, so that as the city continues to grow and develop the richness and variety of the city is maintained. 

Key points

  • The total number of heritage listed items decreased significantly post-quake, falling nearly 40% between 2009 and 2014.
  • The number of heritage listed items lost was significant in 2015, with 204 heritage items demolished.
  • Group 4 heritage items (lowest level of protection) have suffered the biggest loss post-quake, losing 170 since 2011.
  • In 2015, 18 heritage items were partially demolished. Half of these were Group 1 heritage items (highest level of protection).
  • From 2002/03 to 2015/16, the Heritage Incentive Fund has increased by 31% from $565,000 to $740,800.

Number of Listed Heritage Items

Number of Listed Heritage Items

Source: Council Heritage Records


Number of Heritage Items Lost

Number of Heritage Items Lost graph

Source: Council Heritage Records


Number of Heritage Items Partially Demolished

Number of Heritage Items Partially Demolished graph

Source: Council Heritage Records


Heritage Incentive Fund

Heritage Incentive Fund graph

Source: Council Heritage Records


More detail and information

Heritage in the City: Buildings and public art, such as clocks, memorials, statues and fountains, are part of the heritage of our city. They give us a real sense of how the city has grown as well as commemorating our past, present and future.

Heritage Recovery Programme:(external link) The buildings that survive the earthquakes will become a vital link to greater Christchurch’s past.

The Garden City image and garden heritage are enhanced

Christchurch was planned according to the garden city movement; land was designated for the churches and squares, civic buildings and cemetery reserves. Provisions were made for a major public open space; Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens. Further open space was provided for by wide town belts of trees and lawns, and the Avon River with its central city river banks. 

Key points

  • Since 2010, over 90% of residents are satisfied with the appearance and condition of the Botanic Gardens.
  • 65% of residents felt a sense of pride in the city having plenty of parks, green and open spaces, and gardens in 2016. Half of residents felt that the natural environment is beautiful.
  • Over 70% of residents felt the "Garden City" image was either extremely or somewhat important to the city's identity.  
  • The other measures for this outcome are reliant on an Outcomes Based Survey which will ask residents' and visitors' perceptions on Christchurch's garden city image. 

Satisfaction of the Condition of the Botanic Gardens

Satisfaction of the Condition of the Botanic Gardens graph

Source: Council Annual Residents Survey


Satisfaction of the Appearance of the Botanic Gardens

Satisfaction of the Appearance of the Botanic Gardens graph

Source: Council, Annual Residents Survey


Sense of Pride in Green Space

Sense of Pride in Green Space graph

Source: Quality of Life Survey(external link)


Importance of the Garden City Image

Importance of the Garden City Image graph

Source: Life in Christchurch Survey(external link)

Sites and places important to tangata whenua are protected

Ngai Tahu are the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) of Christchurch City, and hold manawhenua (customary authority and rights) within this territorial authority. There are six tribes in the district whom claim stewardship and guardianship of the land and other resources. 

Measures for this outcome are currently under development. More information will be available at a later date.

More detail and information

Whakaoratia Ōtautahi:(external link) Ngāi Tahu Aspirations for Christchurch Recovery & Rebuild

Cultural and ethnic diversity is valued and celebrated

Currently Christchurch's population is less culturally and ethnically diverse than the New Zealand population as a whole. As the city becomes more diverse, it is important that all cultural and ethnic groups feel a part of the city and want to participate in social, cultural, economic and political life. 

Key points

  • In 2013, the European ethnic group was Christchurch's largest (83% identified with this group), followed by Asian (9%), Maori (8%), Pacific People (3%), 'other' (2%) and MELAA (1.9%). People may identify with more than one ethnic group.
  • In 2006, a spike in the number of people indicating they were of 'Other' Ethnicity is a result of media attention encouraging people to record their ethnicity as 'New Zealander'. Consequently this influenced a drop in the number of people identifying with the European Ethnicity.
  • The number of people able to speak Te Reo in 2013 was nearly 6000. This is a decrease of 500 since 2006, possibly due to the earthquakes.
  • 59% of residents surveyed in 2016 think cultural diversity makes Christchurch a better place to live. However the proportion of people who feel it makes it a worse place to live has been increasing since 2008 from 5% to 13% in 2016.
  • The main reason people felt cultural diversity makes for a better place to live was that it makes the city a more vibrant and interesting place.
  • The main reason people felt it made Christchurch a worse place to live was because other cultures lack integration into New Zealand society. 

Ethnicity of Christchurch Residents

Ethnicity of Christchurch Residents graph

Source: Statistics NZ, Census of Population & Dwellings(external link)


Perceptions of Different Lifestyles & Cultures

Perceptions of Different Lifestyles & Cultures graph

Source: Quality of Life Survey(external link)


Positive Feelings Towards  Diversity

Positive Feelings Towards  Diversity graph

Source: Quality of Life Survey(external link)


Negative Feelings Towards Diversity

Negative Feelings Towards Diversity

Source: Quality of Life Survey(external link)


More detail and information

Culture and Identity in Canterbury:(external link)  information on ethnic identities, birthplace and people born overseas, languages spoken, religious affiliation and Ngāi Tahu affiliation.

2013 Census Iwi Profile - (external link)Ngāi Tahu Whānui:(external link) This profile based on data from the 2013 Census; the profile presents a wide range of information on the social and economic well-being of the iwi grouping.

Arts and culture thrive in Christchurch

New Zealanders have long recognised the important role that arts and culture play in the life of the nation. Confidence in that culture, an appreciation of its unique aspects, and a strong sense of cultural identity contribute positively to employment, economic growth, social cohesion, the acceptance and encouragement of diversity and creative thinking in a range of fields. 

Key Points

  • The earthquakes have had a significant impact on the arts sector in Christchurch. Employment in the sector reduced by a quarter, but has since recovered slightly.  
  • Between 2010 and 2012, the proportion of people who felt Christchurch has a rich and diverse arts scene fell from 78% to 47%, but has since increased to 60% in 2016. Those who felt it has not has decreased from 20% in 2012, to 9% in 2016.  

Employment in Arts & Recreation Industries

Employment in Arts & Recreation Industries  graph

Source: Statistics NZ, Longitudinal Business Frame(external link)


A Rich & Diverse Arts Scene

A Rich & Diverse Arts Scene

Source: Quality of Life Survey(external link)


More detail and information

Arts & Culture Recovery Programme:(external link) Cultural recovery is core to the Christchurch rebuild. It will help to reinstall the region’s unique sense of character and identity and serve as a source of pride for its multi-cultural community.

Artworks in Public Places Policy: To enhance the public spaces of the City of Christchurch by the introduction of artworks in to the city environment as a means to enhance city and community identity and to promote the city as a centre of artistic and cultural excellence.