People feel a greater sense of belonging and pride in their city when they feel their culture and heritage is celebrated.

Changes to our Community Outcomes and Strategic Priorities

The Council approved a new 2020 strategic framework on 19 December 2019 and this is currently part of the consultation document on the annual plan.

Information on our revised Community Outcomes and Strategic Priorities is currently being developed.

Arts, culture, heritage, and sport play an important role in the life of the city. They benefit both residents and visitors. It is essential that links with the past are identified and conserved as the city continues to grow and its built environment changes.

As tangata whenua, Ngāi Tahu have rich cultural associations with many places and resources in the district, including settlements, transport routes, gardens, urupā (burial grounds), and places of importance for mahinga kai (food and resources).

What this means for our district

  • The city's heritage and taonga are conserved for future generations.
  • Arts and culture thrive in the city.
  • Sites and places of cultural significance to tangata whenua are respected and preserved.
  • Cultural and ethnic diversity is valued and celebrated.

How we are contributing

We support various cultural and sporting events throughout the district. A Multi Cultural Strategy – Our Future Together has been developed to help guide Council and the community towards achieving a diverse, inclusive and welcoming city. We are currently working with the community to develop a new comprehensive Heritage Strategy to ensure our culture and heritage are preserved and valued. 

How you can help

Take your friends and whānau along to arts and cultural events, get involved with a sports club, learn about your local neighbourhood's history and heritage, including any sites and places of cultural significance to tangata whenua.

How we are doing

Status What do we want to achieve? What has happened?
Negative result

Heritage items are preserved

Between 2009 and 2018, the City lost 41% of listed heritage items, decreasing from 582 to 344 items. Further information.


Importance of protecting heritage in the city

In 2018, almost half of respondents agree that the city's heritage and taonga is accessible to all, is shared and celebrated, and represents the diversity of our city.

Around 40% of residents agree that the Council is doing enough to promote and protect our heritage and taonga. Further information.


Council role in promoting Ngāi Tahu history

In 2018, 40% of respondents agreed that the Council was doing enough to promote the city's Ngāi Tahu history, while 27% disagreed. Further information.

Positive result

Culturally rich and diverse arts scene

The proportion of people who feel Christchurch has a rich and diverse arts scene has increased from 47% in 2012 to 53% in 2018.  Further information.

Mixed result
Indeterminate Result

Attitudes to diversity in the city

Over the past 10 years from 2018, around 60% of people felt increased diversity made Christchurch a better or much better place. 

However, the proportion of people who think it has a negative impact has grown from 5 - 12%. Further information.


Attitudes to neighbourhood diversity

In 2016, respondents were most comfortable with ethnic diversity and least comfortable with mental illness in their neighbourhood. Further information.

Heritage items are preserved

In 2018, Christchurch City had 344 heritage items registered on the New Zealand Heritage list(external link). Around one fifth of these were classed as Category 1 places, which are of special or outstanding historical or cultural significance or value. Over 70% were classed as Category 2 places, which are of historical or cultural significance or value. The remainder were classed as historical areas or places that are important or sacred to Māori.

In 1995, there were just over 605 listed heritage items listed in the City Plan. Over a 15 year period, this number gradually decreased to 582 in 2009, the year before the September 2010 earthquake.

The destructive 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence had a profound impact on the City's heritage. By 2013, the number of listed heritage items had decreased by 36% to 375 items, which has since decreased by a further 31 items (to be 344 in 2018).

Before the earthquakes, an average of 2 heritage items were demolished or removed from heritage records each year. Following the earthquakes, this increased to an average of 60 per year between 2011 and 2017.

In the seven years after the earthquake sequence, 417 heritage items were demolished or removed. Of these, 7% were Group 1 items (of international or national significance), while 19% were Group 2 items (of national or regional importance).

In 2018 only 1 heritage item was demolished or removed from records, which suggests earthquake-related demolitions have neared completion and a return to more usual activity.

Importance of protecting heritage in the city

In 2018, half of respondents to the Council's Life in Christchurch survey agreed that our heritage and taonga is accessible to all. Around 16% disagreed, with 29% feeling neutral (and the remainder answered "don't know").

42% agreed that our heritage and taonga is shared and celebrated, with 17% disagreeing and 36% neutral.

Similar proportions of respondents agreed that our heritage and taonga includes, respects and celebrates the diversity of our city (41%). Once again, 17% disagreed and 36% were neutral.

In terms of the Council's role in protecting heritage and taonga for future generations, 42% of respondents to the Council's Life in Christchurch survey agreed that the Council was doing enough. Just under one quarter (23%) disagreed, and 28% were neutral.

Perceptions that Council has done enough to promote Ngāi Tahu heritage and history

Christchurch as we know it has a unique story, spanning more than 150 years. Ngāi Tahu(external link) are the Māori people of the southern islands of New Zealand, and hold the tribal authority to over 80% of the South Island. Ngāi Tahu's history in Christchurch goes back even further than 150 years, with evidence showing that Māori people were in the South Island 1000 years ago.

The council has a responsibility to tell the story of our city's history and heritage, partnering with Ngāi Tahu to promote and protect this unique part of our city's story.

The 2018 Life in Christchurch survey found that 40% of respondents agreed that the Council had done enough to promote and protect this unique part of our city's story. One third either were neutral or did not know, while 27% disagreed.

Culturally rich and diverse arts scene

In both 2012 and 2014, 47% of Christchurch respondents to the Quality of Life survey felt that Christchurch had a rich and diverse arts scene. This was very similar to how other respondents in other cities of New Zealand viewed their local arts scene.

In 2016, there was a large increase locally and nationally in those who felt their city had a rich and diverse arts scene. Christchurch increased from 47 – 60%, while nationally this proportion increased from 45 – 66%.

2018 saw a return to similar levels of satisfaction seen in 2012 and 2014. In Christchurch, 53% of respondents felt the city had a rich and diverse arts scene, while nationally this figure was 40%.

Attitudes to diversity

The Quality of Life survey asks residents whether increased cultural diversity makes Christchurch a better or worse place to live.

In 2008, around 63% responded that increased diversity made the city a better or much better place to live. This fell to 57% in 2014 but has since increased to 64% in 2018, the highest in the survey period. The national average in 2018 was 57% (in regards to respondents' local city). 

However, since 2008 the proportion who believe it has made Christchurch a worse or much worse place has increased from 5% in 2008 to 12% in 2018.  Most of this growth has come from those who previously reported increased diversity made no difference to the City, which has been declining since 2004.

The Christchurch City Council asked residents the same question the 2018 Life in Christchurch survey. This survey found that a higher proportion of respondents viewed diversity more favourably, at around 80% (compared with around 65% in the Quality of Life survey above).

In 2018, 79% of respondents believed increased diversity had a positive impact on the city (41% responded with a better place to live, and 38% a much better place to live), while 6% responded it made the city a worse or a much worse place to live.

For those who viewed increased diversity positively, the main reason stated was that it makes the city more vibrant and interesting (50% in 2018, down from 65% in 2016). This was followed by those who believe that it's good to mix with people from other countries and cultures, and that it adds to the multi-cultural and diverse feel of the city (both 43% in 2018).

Neighbourhood diversity

The 2016 General Social Survey(external link) asked respondents about their views towards different types of diversity within their neighbourhood.

Over 80% of respondents would feel comfortable or very comfortable having a neighbour who had a different ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or language, or who had a disability/long-term health condition.

Mental illness was viewed less favourably, with 56% or respondents indicating they would feel comfortable or very comfortable having a neighbour who had a mental illness. A further 26% felt neutral about this.

Further information

Please email for further information.

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