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The area was inhabited by various native tribes beginning around 1250. A party of European and Australia colonists established the settlement that would become Christchurch in 1840, but the village was abandoned soon after. Scottish settler John Deans took over the empty village in 1843, and began inviting others to come join him. He was responsible for naming the river there, as the Scottish Avon had flown through his grandfather's farmland. Deans envisioned the city as being modelled after Christ Church University in Oxford, England. The town was officially recognized as a city and given its name in 1848.
Today, Christchurch is known for its beautiful natural scenery of sweeping mountainsides, forests, beaches, and riverfronts, as well as for its cathedral, cherry blossoms, antiquated trolley cars, English influence, agriculture, and as the location of the University of Canterbury.
People Born in Christchurch
Christchurch in People's Lives
Oscar Pistorius: I traveled here in 2011 to compete in the IPC World Championships as a sprinter. I won a silver medal.
Paula Hamilton: After my close friend Paula Yates died of a drug overdose in 2000, I was so shocked and distraught that I decided to completely change my life. I moved here from London, with visions of leaving my modeling and celebrity lifestyle behind forever. I checked myself into a rehab center here, and also enrolled in Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology studying business. However, this plan did not quite work out. The rehab clinic ended up releasing personal details about me and my treatment, and so I began a campaign urging the city to shut the clinic down. This led to an enormous amount of coverage in the press, and a media frenzy. I continued attending college for almost a year before dropping out. I was arrested for drunk driving in this city twice, and returned to England in 2005.
Rudyard Kipling: I traveled here in 1891, when I was 24 years old and sorting out a tumultuous love triangle waiting for me back at home. I only stayed for about 2 days, but took in much of the city during that time. My train ride here was taken over by a newspaper reporter, who had been given the task of following me and getting an interview out of me at all costs. After quite a few unpleasant tangles with the press a month or so ago in Melbourne, I had concluded that I disliked all journalists and reporters and would, forevermore, refuse to give interviews. I told the young man this, but he got onto the train heading to this city with me. He was nice enough, and assured me that he intended no interrogation, only wishing to show me some sights in Christchurch. I agreed - after all, he was obviously going to come with me on the train either way. On our trip, I praised the countryside but criticized the slow pace of New Zealand trains. Once we arrived in the city, I shamelessly told the reporter that I needed a cigar and a shave, which he found and paid for. In the end, the reporter put together a nice article, I suppose. Also in Christchurch, I wrote a few letters back home, stayed at the Coker's Hotel, admired the cathedral, came to the conclusion that this town is more American than English - an opinion that some of the locals disapproved of and tried to overturn, in vain. I also spent some time relaxing by the river, and I loved the black swans and fluffy cygnets. I visited an old friend from military school in Westward Ho, England, and we discussed going fishing. I explored the University of Canterbury, where my friend was a professor, with great interest. I also witnessed a small fire while here.