Arriving at Christchurch International Airport is a stunning entrée to New Zealand’s South Island and an assured experience that would be hard to beat anywhere in the world.
Christchurch, New Zealand’s second biggest city, is the gateway to the south and a multitude of sights and sounds to keep any tourist fully occupied.
The region has a superb sporting history and has produced such outstanding sporting luminaries as Sir Richard Hadlee and recently-retired All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and his goal-kicking wonder Dan Carter.
Christchurch and Canterbury, have long been a fiercely-proud entity supporting the home colours red and black across a variety of sports codes.
The area’s rugby teams are famous – initially for the Canterbury teams which have more than one international scalp to their credit and then, when rugby went professional, the Crusaders, based in Christchurch, became the most successful side in Super Rugby.
You are never more than minutes from a sports field or sports club.
Christchurch is a regular host of both rugby and cricket test matches. In recent memory the world men’s world softball championships were played in 2004 and the world bowls championships were played in the city in 2008 and they returned in 2016. The women’s world softball championships were also held in the city in 2008.
Golf has hosted international tournaments, especially at the Clearwater and Russley courses through the years while the city has been one of the strong centres for basketball, football and hockey in New Zealand.
Perhaps the greatest event staged in Christchurch were the 1974 Commonwealth Games. So successful were they that they were known as ‘The Friendly Games’.
But the Games struck a chord during a wonderful 10 days that opened with local runner Dick Tayler winning the 10,000m in a world-class time and ended with Filbert Bayi of Tanzania winning the 1500m in world-record time.
The unique blend that makes Canterbury sport so successful is reflected in the numbers of Cantabrians who regularly feature in New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games teams.
That spirit and legacy of Sports, Culture and Education will be available for all to see during the staging of the World Schools Rugby Challenge.