Christchurch City Sustainable Living Info

Access the Learning Guides

Christchurch City Council has been a member of Sustainable Living Education Trust since its origin. After several years of taught evening classes hosted by high schools, the programme's delivery has moved on to self-help 'learning groups' hosted by interested individuals, meeting for free at private homes, or groups assisted by a paid tutor or facilitator at a community venue - where a fee is charged.

Following new facilitators training sessions (Feb 2020) which have enlarged our Christchurch team, you could offer to host a Future Living Skills learning group after the Covid-19 lockdown in your suburb or workplace and get help from one of these new facilitators -  phone National Coordinator Rhys Taylor on 03 693 8726 or email in order to contact a facilitator and also as a potential host register yourself free at this website, ready to download the free learning materials. If you'd like to become a facilitator, register in more detail from the outset, to request password access to additional materials that will assist you.

A series of courses will be offered in Christchurch at different locations backed until 2020 by the City Council Sustainability and Innovation Fund and others, to keep them affordable. The first of these was 2019 at Papanui High School from February, followed by one at the CWEA in Oct/Nov 2019.  Another series of six started at Canterbury WEA in Gloucester street: on Thursday daytime 1 to 2.30pm from 27 February 2020. (but postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic)  To book ($42 is subsidised fee) contact .

A similar evening Sustainable Living Skills series was offered by Hilmorton High School, Tankerville Road, Hoon Hay on Wednesdays 7pm to 9pm. Six sessions for $85. (postponed)

This 6 session course, explores practical sustainable living skills that you can use at home.  Topics covered include food, growing vegetables, power & water savings, minimising waste, lower carbon travel and dry/warm homes. You build competence and confidence as you learn - and make new friends.  To contact the lead tutor, email:  or text 0273420957   (Vanessa has cycled, recycled and upcycled for years. She loves the empowering feeling that comes from knowing your simple everyday lifestyle choices can improve your own life and that of the planet, and now combines her background in teaching with sharing her practical knowledge of sustainable living. She is a permaculture gardener and lives in a 'tiny house'!)

The city's Climate Change Policy had a public consultation in 2019 - and is resulting in a policy reported as bolder than that shown by central Government! Our City Council main staff contact is Tony Moore, Sustainability Advisor.


Sustainability in Christchurch, NZ

Webpage to get you started in Christchurch City.  See also Climate Change page.

The contacts and information below are arranged under the same topic headings as our eight Learning Guides.  Suggestions for (non commercial) additions or reporting broken links are welcomed by email to

Gardens and backyards


Know your onions! There are over 20 community gardens spread across the city - sources of fresh food and gardening know-how in exchange for your time. (Photo shows part of New Brighton Community Garden).     Community Gardens Association Facebook page and website.

Veg box for homes food grwing and distribution scheme in Christchurch: OOOBY Project.

Central city temporary food garden, started 2013: Agropolis.  Another garden and mini-orchard is taking shape close to the River Avon - Otakaro orchard.

Edible Garden City - learning to grow, prepare and eat healthy local food.

Vege gardening information links recommended by Christchurch City Libraries.   Book search on organic gardening.

Bringing nature into your Canterbury backyard. (backyard biodiversity)

LEARN MORE using our Sustainable Living learning guide on gardens (register first) from the downloads page.

Food choices


Christchurch farmers produce markets can be found at Saturday mornings at: Riccarton House, Fifield Terrace in Opawa and London Street Lyttelton , McCormacks Bay in Mt Pleasant at the new Community Centre and 40 New Brighton Mall seaside market 

Riccarton Market on Sunday mornings, 165 Racecourse Road, includes food stalls.

Lyttelton also has a food swap 'Plenty to  Share' on Wenesday afternoons at the Petanque court, London Street.

Edible Christchurch - learning to grow, prepare and eat healthy local food. See their site's market section.   Edible Garden City is a resourceon leraning to grow and eat healthy local food, includes community gardens and school groups, urban forage maps, etc. 

The Roimata Food Commons which operates in Radley Park is creating central food hub offering garden helpers and general supporters in the community to harvest a variety of not only vegetable and herb beds but also fruit & berry orchards now being cultivated in the space. This can be an excellent way for people with time to spare and wanting to connect more deeply in community to nourish their skills and relations while also filling their pantry. 

LEARN MORE using our Sustainable Living learning guide on Food (free in Christchurch, once registered)

 (This section updated Feb 2019)


Minimising Waste

The City Council uses a kerbside three bin system: yellow lid for reyclables, green for compostables and red for landfill. 

Data is available on waste collected, recycled and landfilled in & for Christchurch. (landfill is mostly at Kate Valley, north of the city)

The Council's aim is to minimise waste reaching landfills. Read more on this One Planet website

Home composting basics in pictures.

There are healthy, less polluting & often cheaper alternatives to common household chemicals: see this free PDF.

Businesses seeking waste minimisation - start here with 'Target Sustainability'

LEARN MORE using our Sustainable Living learning guide on Waste Minimisation (once registered)

New Brighton-based team encourage recycling fabrics and share sewing skills (for donations, not fees) at Room 1, Old School, New Brighton: Stitch-o-Mat

Resilience: emergency management

Christchurch faces several potential natural hazards - most recently experiencing major earthquakes, but also flooding, tsunami, rockfalls, plus snow, industrial or transported goods hazards...  How well we cope and recover is affected by planning and preparation at home, work, school and community facilities.  Living more sustainabily is often the more resilient choice.

Review the hazards here in Canterbury.

What happens in an emergency?

Get Ready at home in order to 'Get Through'. Advantages of being prepared.

LEARN MORE using our Sustainable Living learning guide on Community Resilience.




Building work - for warm and dry homes

Christchurch people rebuilding or repairing their earthquake damaged homes can now get free advice to ensure they are warm, dry and energy efficient. Build Back Smarter is a free service providing advice about insulation, heating methods and energy saving measures such as double glazing, ventilation and lighting. The advisory service began as a joint initiative involving the Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). Homeowners can contact one of the service's assessment providers who will prepare a free healthy home improvement plan tailored to the needs and budget of the home owner.  Low income families with health issues may be eligible for free ceiling and underfloor insulation through Warm Up New Zealand. Community Energy Action, Right House and Smart Energy Solutions are Build Back Smarter advisors.

Download the Build Back Smarter Guides  (PDF) for existing house repairs and for new build, see BEACON's  guides plus a decision checklist.

EcoDesign advice service available.  Christchurch-based advisor is    Read more at this article.

Community Energy Action: Christchurch household advice service on insulation and drier, more comfortable homes, also an installer.

Keeping the air clean, controlling fireplaces and wood stoves.  How city air pollution is monitored.

ECan guide to selecting and storing firewood.  Additional info fromConsumer Institute.   Ecan's list of authorised solid fuel burners (wood stoves)

LEARN MORE using our Sustainable Living learning guides on Energy efficiency and eco-building (once you've registered)


Water use and impacts


Where Christchurch's high quality tap water comes from (pumped by CCC from aquifers).

Using water wisely - how to be water efficient at home.

Video on being water wise in summer gardens, 4 minutes.  

What is grey water & can we use it?

Links on water at City Library resources page.  Additional links on water use in Fracking for oil extraction.

Beach & river sea-water quality for safe summer swimming: info  and maps.

Pollution (environmental incident) hotline - to report observed water pollution. 24hr phone 0800 765588.

Business water efficiency for cost savings and pollution control: Target Sustainability.

LEARN MORE using our Sustainable Living learning guide on Water. (once registered)

Getting around Christchurch


Commuter transport options- greater Christchurch.

Metro bus maps and timetables.   includes Orbiter and MetroStar routes.

Current (planned) roadworks locations.

Car pooling website: shared journeys.  And one used mostly by tourists/backpackers who have timing flexibility.

Yoogo - 100 e-cars in CHCH for residents and businesses. Join now to enjoy an electric vehicle.      Overview video of Yoogo:     Additional car user info on Yoogo here. 

Ride Mate  coming to CHCH soon from Auckland (helps with all transport choices, including carpool, bike share and parking too). Soon able to book and pay with the phone app - no need for metro card etc.  Also working on rewards or incentives for "good behaviour" (cycling, walking, bus etc). The concept is "mobility as a service"  see youTube video on the concept.

Advocacy organisation for pedestrians (inc. bus users) 'Living Streets'

Walking to work info.

Leisure walking in city and beyond is encouraged by walking groups.

Specialist door to door subsidised transport info.'Total mobility'.

E-scooters (initially Lime Scooters, are now some competitors) -  Read more: Facebook pagenews item.

Advocacy organisation for cyclists 'Spokes'.   City bike guide and map (PDF).  Find a bike ride route map (there are 40km of traffic-separated cycleways in use).

Info on future Christchurch cycleways.

Safety video - motorists sharing road with cyclists. 

UC campus getting around info, for students and staff.

Bus and coach operators out of Christchurch (scheduled and hire)

LEARN MORE using our Sustainable Living learning guide on Travel & Carbon (once registered)

Further info sources, Christchurch

City library search: (includes books, magazines, audiovisual and electronic info).   Sustainable Living workshops have run at Tauranga in Cathedral Square, next on 23 feb 2020.

Sustainability advocacy by Sustainable Otautahi Christchurch (SOC) Inc.  Publish e-newsletter.

Sustainability advocacy & projects at University of Canterbury.

Time banking in use at Lyttelton and idea spreading into other areas.

Suggest additional (non commercial) information links for this page via Tony Moore at CCC  03 941 8999, or

Access the Learning Materials

Click here to access our online learning materials.

Become a Course Facilitator

Click here to apply to become a Sustainable Living course facilitator.

Existing course facilitators, log in here

Tip: Swimmable rivers!
Do your bit for cleaner NZ rivers. Reduce water demand and avoid making pollution, guided by our Water guide.