The capital of Canterbury and its largest city, Christchurch is home to 385,000 people (2019) and is the commercial centre for the region. Located on the east coast and serviced by Christchurch International Airport and Lyttleton Port, the city is often regarded as the ‘gateway’ to the South Island.
Christchurch is the economic core for the regional primary sector, with agricultural, forestry, and other industries contributing to over 10% of local GDP. The arable plains surrounding Christchurch have long supported agribusiness, especially dairying, but recent diversification has observed developments in horticulture and viticulture. In addition, the processing of primary products constitutes 7% of GDP and Christchurch’s overall manufacturing sector, the second largest in New Zealand, contributes $2.2 billion to the national economy. These two sectors therefore have a significant influence on commercial real estate in Christchurch including the current development of various business parks on the city’s urban fringe.
There is a strong relationship between industry and tertiary institutions in Christchurch. Lincoln University is renowned for its Agriculture and Forestry programme, ranked in the top 100 of similar courses by QS World University Rankings. Similarly, the University of Canterbury’s engineering and computer science departments contribute both research and graduates to the growing technology and innovation industries of the city.
Now a decade on from the destructive February 2011 earthquake, Christchurch has experienced substantial revitalisation and redevelopment of its urban core, as well as a Smart Cities programme seeking to establish the city as New Zealand’s innovation hub.