Ōtautahi Christchurch has had a bad run of luck these last 10 years – earthquakes, fires in the Port Hills and terror attacks. Christchurch has seen it all, and yet it has always risen to the challenge of rebuilding itself, physically and emotionally, from the inside out. As our Prime Minister so eloquently summarised, it’s all about working together, uniting and sharing community engagement.

Having lived in the Christchurch City region for over 13 years, I’ve seen a city of love, time and again. It has a spirit that refuses to die. And with this re-birthing comes a changing landscape. We are starting to see a changing social narrative that really brings the city alive. So how has this economic evolution and regeneration come about? And what is there to attract domestic and international visitors to our garden city?

Tūranga public library provides an impressive central feature of the city

Getting the infrastructure sorted after the sizeable earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 is only part of the answer. Rebuilding roads and bridges is the easy part, some might say. The trickier piece of the jigsaw is about finding a soul or a narrative that will glue it all together. And where on earth does that come from? Can it be manufactured or does it just evolve?

I spoke with Anton Wilke, Destination Development Manager with ChristchurchNZ, an amalgamation of Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism, Canterbury Development Corporation, International Education and the Christchurch City Council’s Major Events team. This is a new agency (just two years old), looking at Christchurch with fresh eyes, with a focus on economic development for the city and, of course, building a city that is attractive for businesses, visitors and talent. ChristchurchNZ is all about developing our city into a strong and thriving place for domestic and international visitors to come and explore.

Street art is a significant part of Christchurch’s emerging landscape

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