Christchurch, New Zealand is the oldest city in the country, having been granted a Royal Charter on July 31, 1856. The Canterbury Association, which was established on the Canterbury Plains, named the city after Christ Church in Oxford. Christchurch has a long and captivating history that dates back to the moa-hunting tribes of the 13th century. These tribes hunted one of New Zealand's most majestic birds to the point of extinction. Maori tribes often followed one another, engaging in civil wars and drastically reducing their numbers. It wasn't until the first Europeans arrived after James Cook discovered New Zealand in 1770 that civilization as we know it was established.
Its picturesque neo-Gothic architecture and early demographic composition earned Christchurch a reputation as the most English city in New Zealand. On December 1, 1863, New Zealand's first passenger train service began operating along a line from Ferrymead Pier to Christchurch. This was while the construction of the railway tunnel was being discussed. Christchurch continued to thrive, but was struck by tragedy when a devastating fire occurred at the city's Ballantyne department store on November 18, 1947. This was the worst fire in New Zealand's history. More banks opened branches in Christchurch during this time, including the Bank of New South Wales in 1861, the Bank of New Zealand in 1862, and the Bank of Australasia in 186. With all this activity and a growing population, Christchurch became a city. The Christchurch art gallery, Te Puna O Waiwhetu, houses one of the most significant public art collections in New Zealand. Christchurch had to wait until the 1880s for an underground sewer system, but it was the first city in New Zealand to have one. The fascinating history of Christchurch is full of stories that have shaped its culture and identity.
From its humble beginnings as a moa-hunting settlement to its modern-day status as one of New Zealand's most vibrant cities, Christchurch has come a long way. Its rich history is something that should be celebrated and explored.