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Moving to Christchurch

What to know if you're moving to Christchurch

Christchurch, the so-called Garden City, has more than one reason to attract expats. With its livable atmosphere, creative vibe and amazing position between the ocean and the countryside, the city can offer many advantages to expats who are planning a move to Christchurch.

Need to move abroad? Organizing an international relocation is not something you should do on your own. As expats, we understand what you need, and offer the the essential services to help you move and live abroad easily. Contact us today to jump start your move, and begin the preparations with our free relocation checklist.

Relocating to Christchurch

About the City

The largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, Christchurch is the third most populous urban area in the entire country. It is located on the south-east coast of the island, just north of the Banks Peninsula, which is within the city limits. Although christened Christchurch by English settlers in 1848, the Maori name for the city is Ōtautahi, which translates to ‘the place of Tautahi’.

Christchurch has a population of nearly 400,000 people, the vast majority of which are ‘European New Zealanders’. However, the city is also home to a large Maori population, as well as large Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The official language is English, but some of the Maori community will speak Maori as well.

The Climate in Christchurch

Expatriates moving to Christchurch will need to adjust to a temperate climate, which is characterized by mild temperatures throughout the year and moderate rainfall. The warmest month of the year is January, during which the daily high is around 22.5°C (73°F), but average temperatures tend to be closer to 17.5°C (63.5°F).

Christchurch also experiences the urban heat island phenomenon, where temperatures in the city center are far warmer than those on the coast. The coldest month of the year is July, which has an average temperature of 6.6 C (43.9 F), but it can drop as low as 1.9°C (35.4°F) on exceptionally cold days. Although rainfall is expected throughout the year, even in the summer months, July tends to experience the most, with around 68.4 mm (2.693 inches) falling on average.

Visas for New Zealand

In New Zealand, temporary residence visas are packaged with work permits, so expatriates wanting to move to Christchurch to work for an allotted period of time will only need to make one application. However, should you wish to obtain permanent residency, you will need to do one of the following: you can apply for a Work to Residence visa, or apply for permanent residency after moving to Christchurch.

The Work to Residence visa allows expatriates to move to Christchurch for up to 30 months, during which time they can make an application for permanent residency. In order to be accepted onto the program, you must fulfill certain criteria, including having found a job or promising to make a contribution to New Zealand art, culture, or music. After you’ve been living and working in Christchurch for more than four years, you can apply for permanent residency, provided you fulfill the criteria laid out by the government.

Whether you are moving abroad for the first time or relocated multiple times before, the process raises many questions. Our complete guide to relocation will ease your doubts along the way, from the initial preparations to how to negotiate a relocation package, we help you GO! prepared with the key answers.

Updated on: September 09, 2021

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Join Our Exciting Events in Christchurch

Once we've helped you move to Christchurch, we can make you feel at home by introducing you to other expats who have already settled and are part of our Christchurch Community. Attend our monthly events and activities in Christchurch and get to know like-minded expats in real life.

InterNations Christchurch April Japanese Evening

Start date Apr 22, 2021, 6:30 PM

Attendees 16

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InterNations Christchurch Bloody Mary’s @ Rydges Hotel

Start date May 27, 2021, 6:30 PM

Attendees 10

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InterNations Christchurch June/July Official Event

Start date Jul 1, 2021, 6:30 PM

Attendees 7

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InterNations Christchurch July Event @Mexico Restaurant

Start date Jul 29, 2021, 6:30 PM

Attendees 11

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