- Official club name: The Friendship Force of Christchurch
- Closest major airport: Christchurch International Airport
- Maximum number of Ambassadors our club can host: 15-20
About the club
Friendship force Christchurch was formed in 1984 but was not chartered until 1986; there are now approximately 42 club members. Annually, the club is happy to host two inward Friendship Force Journeys and usually has one outward Journey of two phases. The club has also hosted specialist Journeys (e.g. teachers, trampers/hikers) and a festival group of 150. Our bimonthly newsletter keeps members (and all other New Zealand clubs) informed of club activities. Each month we generally have some activity either involving Friendship Force Journeys or else a social event for members.
Both inbound and outbound journeys have been limited for the last two years, but we did manage a domestic journey to Taupo and New Plymouth clubs.
We are looking forward to starting hosting again late in 2022.
About the region
Historically, New Zealand is a young country with human settlement for less than 1000 years. With a population of 350,000, coastally placed Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and the largest in the South Island. With rainfall averaging only 360 mm and 2000+ hours of sunshine annually, it has a very agreeable, temperate climate and, when allied with the naturally fertile soils, it is particularly apt that Christchurch is called “The Garden City”.
Though winters can be frosty, they are generally fairly dry and snow seldom falls in the city. The farming hinterland is highly productive with a large dairying industry, some deer farming, as well as the traditional sheep farms. Grain farming is also a major land use, particularly south of Christchurch. Among these farms are many pockets of vineyards, olive groves and other crops. The volcanic Banks Peninsula to the southeast is a sheep farming and a popular recreational area with Akaroa, its largest settlement, an attractive tourist town with a historical French connection. Mt Hutt, the premier commercial ski area close to the city, lies to the west 1½ hours away.
Today this attractive city of parks, gardens, and trees supports professional theatre, music and the arts as well as being the home of many keen sports people. Outdoor activities include winter skiing, climbing, walking and mountain biking on Banks Peninsula and in the nearby mountains. There is also jet boating and fishing on the many rivers as well as the usual team games like football, cricket, tennis, etc. Other aquatic activities include sailing and surfing. Christchurch has it all.
The city is well underway with the significant rebuilds following the major earthquakes of 2020 and 2011. The central city in particular has a great selection of new buildings, and there has been an emphasis on enhancing the central city with walking and cycling opportunities. The new entertainment precinct adjacent to the Avon River is a major drawcard.
About a typical Friendship Force Journey to Christchurch
We prefer ambassadors to come in September-November or February-April. Hosts meet and greet their ambassadors at the airport, railway station or bus depot.
Our primary emphasis is for the host family to get to know their ambassadors, but we usually have two group days out of the city in addition to a civic welcome by a representative of the Mayor. We are focussed on "faces not places" and the international Friendship Force motto of "A World of Friends is a World of Peace", so the importance of sharing cultural differences and experiences is key to our hosting experience.
Club members are keen to seek from ambassadors places of interest that they would like to visit, and will do what they can to make those happen in addition to spending time with their hosts.
Updated March 2022
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