The concept of community is fundamental to people's overall quality of life and sense of belonging. Informal networks and how people connect with others are important for strong communities and social cohesion.

People have strong social networks

The quality of life experienced by residents of a city often depends to a large extent on the informal caring and supportive networks found at a neighbourhood level. The presence of formal and informal relationships between people living in the same local area facilitates participation in society, fosters a sense of belonging and supports social cohesion. 

Key points

  • Since 2010, the proportion of people who feel isolated most or some of the time has doubled to around one third of residents. 
  • Around 90% of people consistently report that they do have someone they could turn to if they were faced with serious illness or injury, or needed emotional support during a difficult time.
  • Between 2012 and 2014, the proportion of people who agree that people in their communities can usually be trusted declined by 15%.
  • Since 2006, the social networks people belong to are changing; the proportion belonging to an online social network has more than doubled to 50%, while membership of traditional networks such as clubs and churches declined. 

Feeling Lonely or Isolated

Feeling Lonely or Isolated graph

Source: Quality of Life Survey(external link) (external link)


Someone to Turn To

Someone to Turn To graph

Source: Quality of Life Survey(external link)


Social Network and Groups

Social Network and Groups

Source: Quality of Life Survey(external link) 


More detail and information

NZ Social Indicators(external link): Social connections are important because the relationships people have with others can benefit individuals and society.

The General Social Survey(external link): The New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) provides information on the well-being of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over.

Canterbury Wellbeing Index:(external link) The Canterbury Wellbeing Index tracks the progress of social recovery using indicators to identify emerging social trends and issues.

Services are available locally within urban areas

Local communities within the city require access to a range of facilities on a regular basis. Community facilities include places of worship, school facilities, halls and meeting places, police stations, medical services, voluntary and welfare services, along with local shopping and personal services, such as hairdressers. It is important that these services are readily accessible, without the need for extensive travel.

Key points

  • Access to key activity centres remained relatively stable between 2006 and 2013; however access has improved since 1996.
  • There was a small increase in the proportion of people living within 400 metres of key activity centres, and a small reduction in the number living within 800 metres between 2006 and 2013.
  • In 2013, 5% of the population lived within 400 metres of key activity centres, whilst 16% were within 800 metres of key activity centres.
  • Of all the key activity centres, Barrington (17%), Linwood - Eastgate (15%), and Riccarton (15%) have the highest proportion of people living within walking distance of them, whilst New Brighton (4%) is the least accessible.
  • Since 2012, the proportion of people reporting that they have not been impacted by the loss of community facilities (such as cafes, restaurants, libraries, marae, arts and cultural centres) has increased from 35% to 75%.  

Proximity to Key Activity Centres

Access to Key Activity Centres graph

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


Access to Key Activity Centres (Walking Distance)

Access to Key Activity Centres (Walking Distance) graph

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


Access to Key Activity Centres

Access to Key Activity Centres graph

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


Loss of Community Facilities

Loss of Community Facilities graph

Source: CERA Wellbeing Survey(external link)


More detail and information

Suburban Plans: The Council’s Suburban Centres Programme provides coordinated planning and assistance to help with the rebuild and recovery in suburban centres.

Land Use Recovery Plan:(external link) The Land Use Recovery Plan identifies key activity centres and supports these and neighbourhood centres to meet the needs of businesses and communities.

We have information and skills to participate in society

Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations said "Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family." Having a community with the knowledge, information and skills to participate effectively in local society is the hallmark of successful communities that experience enhanced quality of life. 

Key points

  • The number of households with no access to telecommunications continues to decline, as the number of households with access to the internet and/or cellphones continues to increase.
  • The number of households connected to the internet increased by around 20% between 2006 and 2013.
  • Similarly, between 2014 and 2015, customer connection figures increased by 62%.
  • The most common reason cited for not having internet access was a lack of interest (50%).
  • It is however important to note that a lack of interest was beginning to decline, as other reasons such as cost and a lack of confidence, knowledge and skills began to rise.
  • The proportion of people using the internet for social networking increased by around 45% between 2009 and 2012.
  • 70% of internet users in Christchurch made online purchases, and 80% used the internet for online banking in 2012.

Access to Telecommunications

Access to Telecommunications graph

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


Reasons Households Don't Have Internet Access

Reasons Households Don't Have Internet Access graph

Source: Statistics NZ, Household Use of the Internet Survey(external link)


How People Use the Internet

Internet Use graph

Source: Statistics NZ, Household Use of the Internet Survey(external link)

We are actively involved in our communities and local issues

For many people, a sense of connection to, and involvement in their local issues provides a positive sense of identity and belonging, and support in times of stress. Active involvement can be measured through levels of volunteering, membership of local groups, and attendance at local events.

Key points 

  • 58% of residents feel there is a sense of community in their local neighbourhood. The proportion who do not feel a sense of community decreased from 20% in 2014 to 15% in 2016.
  • The number of people in unpaid work outside of the home declined between 2006 and 2013 by around 5%, to just over 35%. 
  • The largest proportion of unpaid work outside of the home involved undertaking childcare in another household (15%).
  • The proportion of people in other voluntary unpaid work remained relatively consistent between 2006 and 2013.
  • When compared to the 2011 general election, voter turnout in 2014 increased by 5%.
  • Voter turnout in local election declined 10% in the 2013 local government elections, whilst the turnout in the 2014 general election increased by 5% compared with 2011. 

Sense of Community

Sense of Community graph

Source: Quality of Life(external link)


Unpaid Work Outside of the Home

Unpaid Work graph

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


General Election Voter Turnout

Voter Turnout graph

Source: Dept. Internal Affairs, General Election Statistics


Local Election Voter Turnout

Voter Turnout graph

Source: Dept. Internal Affairs, General Election Statistics


More detail and information

Election Statistics:(external link) The Electoral Commission keeps full results and records of past elections and electoral events.

The General Social Survey(external link): The New Zealand General Social Survey (NZGSS) provides information on the well-being of New Zealanders aged 15 years and over.