Māori oral history and archaeological evidence suggests that people first inhabited the Canterbury area about a thousand years ago. These first inhabitants were moa-hunting tribes and this migration continued until about 1830. The first European landed in Canterbury in 1815 and Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it the oldest city in New Zealand. Many of the city's original Gothic buildings dated from this period. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and one of the world’s most unique destinations. Bordered by the Port Hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps as a majestic backdrop, allowing for a huge array of experiences all within just a few hours’ drive. Known traditionally as “The Garden City”, the serene Avon River flows through the centre of the city (its banks now largely forming an urban park), and through the award winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens which are 150 years old this year. The gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand, and are home to one of Christchurch’s most iconic activities, Punting on the Avon. More recently however, Christchurch has been rebuilding and revitalizing itself following the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and making way for some of the most innovative and creative projects in the world. With a huge emphasis on sustainable and envionmental issues, Christchurch is embracing it’s new future, and is excited about the possibilities of having a chance to reinvent itself with modern buildings and bright urban events. This is a chance to visit a city on the brink of reimagining itself with world class technology and innovation alongside history and heritage. It is important not to forget about Christchurch’s backyard of Canterbury. You can ski at a world-class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, raft, mountain bike, hot-air balloon, wind surf, whale watch and visit internationally-acclaimed wineries and gardens – all within a short drive of the city. And that is just the beginning!