Take a look on Trip Advisor, and you will read that Diamond Harbour is described as “a gem awaiting a shake-up”. And I get what the critics are talking about. On arrival in this approximately 2000-inhabitant village on the other side of the Port Hills to Christchurch, your first impressions might lead you to believe that you have arrived at a rather understated seaside hangout.

One that is just far enough away to be separate from its big parent of Christchurch and yet close enough to warrant the drive over the hills. But closer inspection reveals a peaceful getaway location, oozing with characters who all seem to love nature, love making a difference, and love community spirit.

Nestled on Banks Peninsula’s northern coast, on the southern shores of Te Whakaraupō (Lyttelton Harbour), the area was named by Mark Stoddart, who is reported to have bought 500 acres of land in the area in 1856. Comprising peripheral settlements of Church Bay, Charteris Bay and Purau, the centre of the village is almost quintessentially English in feel, with a village cricket pitch and rugby field being surrounded by amenities such as a medical centre, library, community centre, hairdressing salon and eatery.

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