Our coat of arms is symbolic and reflective of our city’s heritage.
Fide condita, fructu beata, spe fortis
Although the motto can be translated as 'A city founded in faith, rich in the fulfilment thereof, strong in the hope for the future', the Latin means rather more than that:
- Fide condita refers to our ecclesiastical origins and the name of the City, taking fides in the sense of the Christian faith
- Fructu beata means rich in the fruits of the earth and rich in the fruits of her industry, as well as in the fulfilment of the Founders' Faith
- Spe fortis means at once strong in hope and bold in her claims upon the future.
The coat of arms’ main features are:
- The kiwi, a treasured native bird and one of our national emblems
- The pukeko, another native bird found in and around our City
- Sail boats or galleys (in heraldic terms, ‘lymphads’) representing the first four ships of the Canterbury settlement which arrived at Lyttelton in December 1850
- A mitre, reflecting that Christchurch was planned as a Church of England settlement and was made a Bishop's See, (under the Bishop’s authority) with city status, by Queen Victoria in 1856
- The fleece and garb, symbolic of our province’s agricultural and pastoral nature
- Wavy bars, representing the Ōtākaro/Avon and the Ōpāwaho/Heathcote, our City’s rivers
- Celmesia flowers, a type of mountain daisy found only in the Te Pataka o Rakaihautū/Banks Peninsula area.
The grant of armorial bearings as shown above was officially made by the UK’s College of Heralds by letters patent dated 21st February, 1949.
Its official description reads:
Or on a Chevron Gules a Mitre between a Fleece and a Garbe of the first, in base two Bars wavy Azure on a Chief of the last four Lymphads sails furled, also of the first And for the Crest on a Wreath Or and Azure a Kiwi proper.
On either side a Pukeko proper.
Although this coat of arms belongs strictly to our City, and may therefore only be used officially by the City, a similar badge may be used by those aligned or connected to Ōtautahi-Christchurch.