Story: City boosters and promoters

Boosting Canterbury

Progress groups published booklets extolling the virtues of their towns, cities and regions. Canterbury – New Zealand, published by the Canterbury Progress League in 1921 and directed at prospective immigrants, contains a series of short essays on a range of topics, including the scenery of the region, its plentiful power supply and the beauties of Christchurch city.

An extract from this publication show above begins by outlining New Zealand’s positive features, then moves on to Canterbury and the city of Christchurch:


The mission of this little book is to present, as briefly and in as practical form as may be, an outline of what Canterbury has to offer to those who would seek their fortunes in a new land. New Zealand, favoured by Nature beyond all countries, has arrived at a stage in her history where her future development and progress depend upon the addition of many thousands of useful people to her population. With an area approximating that of Great Britain, the Dominion has to-day a population of only twelve hundred thousand – less than that of many a great city – and the resources and opportunities of New Zealand are such that the country’s population could doubtless be increased ten-fold without approaching the limits of production or lowering the high standard of living which prevails today. New Zealand is a young land, full of courage and confident of a splendid destiny. Her institutions are sturdily democratic, her laws just and progressive. And Canterbury, with its broad plains and fertile valleys, with the most equable and health-giving climate in the world, advances a paramount claim for new citizens. Residentially the province is without a peer. Men of wealth and fastidious taste who have searched the whole world for an ideal home have ceased their wanderings here. The subtle and distinctive charm of Canterbury cannot be expressed in cold type, and in these pages no more can be attempted than to present very sketchily and incompletely a few of the features which the province has to offer.

The City Beautiful

Canterbury, flanked on the west by an exalting and inspiring Alpine wonderland, and on the east by the sun-kissed Pacific, consists for the most part of broad, level plains, reminiscent in their aspect of the quiet homely beauties of the Southern Counties of England. Christchurch, the provincial capital, with its broad, clean streets, substantial and pleasing architecture, its wealth of open spaces, its great public parks and gardens, and with the placid Avon winding through its very heart, it is a veritable piece of England transplanted to the Antipodes. The pioneer settlers had the foresight to set aside great endowments for educational purposes, and Christchurch enjoys to-day a magnificent equipment of educational institutions, primary, technical, secondary and university. Christchurch is proud of its cathedrals and its public squares, but prouder still of the homes of its people – modern, artistic, hygienic and set in the midst of gardens. With a population of 85,000, Christchurch claims to be no mean city. As Whitman sang:—

Where the city of the healthiest fathers
Where the city of the best-bodied mothers
There the great city stands.

Views on these pages show the port of Lyttelton, the main door to the wide Canterbury District, some typical street scenes in the city of Christchurch, and one or two of the lovely little spots that are to be found in the very heart of the city itself.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Canterbury, New Zealand: of all the countries in the world this is where you would choose to labour and to live. Christchurch: Canterbury Progress League, 1921, cover, p. 1–2, back cover

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'City boosters and promoters - Progress groups', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 October 2022)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 11 Mar 2010