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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Christchurch, largest city in the South Island, is situated on the coastal margins of the vast alluvial-built Canterbury Plains at the base of the Port Hills, which divide the city and the plains from Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula. The peninsula was once a group of volcanoes, which have since become extinct and have been intruded by the sea, forming many inlets, including Lyttelton Harbour and Akaroa Harbour. The great outpourings of gravel from the Southern Alps gradually linked up with this bastion to create a peninsula, on the neck of which Christchurch is built. Stretching away in a wide sweep to the north are the sandy Pacific beaches along Pegasus Bay, while to the south shingly beaches extend for more than 100 miles. A backdrop to the city's environs is provided by the majestic Southern Alps, rising some 30 miles inland, which exert a strong influence on the climate of the Canterbury region.


Richard Gregory Heerdegen, M.A., L.R.S.M., Junior Lecturer in Geography, Massey University of Manawatu.

Auaina ake: Climate