Christchurch City Sustainable Living Info

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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, held most recently in 2019, you could offer to host a Future Living Skills learning group 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 register yourself free at this website, ready to download the free learning materials.

A series of courses will be offered in Christchurch at different locations during 2019, backed by the City Council Sustainability and Innovation Fund and others. The first of these was 2019 at Papanui High School from February.  A course is being explored at Avebury House and another starts soon at Canterbury WEA in Gloucester street: from  Monday 7th October at 6.30pm.  To book contact .

The 8-session course, of two hours each evening, explores practical sustainable living skills that you can use at home.  Topics covered include food, growing vegetables, power savings, water, zero waste, lower carbon travel and eco building. You build competence and confidence as you learn - and make new friends.  To contact the lead tutor, email:    (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 a policy reported as bolder than that shown by central Government!

Sustainability in Christchurch, NZ

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

City Council policy - background information on sustainability in Christchurch (PDF)

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

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.

Promotion of community gardens and Hand over a Hundy (veg at home) scheme in Christchurch: Garden City 2.0 Project.

Central city temporary food garden, started 2013: Agropolis.  Other temporary gardens in the city including 191 Fitzgerald Ave food garden: Greening the Rubble. Another garden and mini-orchard is taking shape close to the River Avon.

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.

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

New Brighton Community Garden at Shaw Street runs 'workshop sessions' on sustainable gardening topics, Monday evenings monthly: 
for information Please email or call 3886506

Food choices


Farmers Markets directly link growers and producers with their customers

Christchurch farmers 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)

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 in order to Get Through.    

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 is 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 for house repair and for new build:  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 summer swimming: info  and maps.

Pollution 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.

Blog site with Christchurch bus users in mind.

Current (planned) roadworks locations.

Car pooling website: shared journeys. June includes Kiwicarpool week! Here's some good reasons. If at UC, here's your car pooling link. Lots of other firms in Christchurch are involved.

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"

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 (Lime Scooters) - no need for helmets and can ride with care on footpaths (off road, but still risk accidents).  Read more:

Advocacy organisation for cyclists 'Spokes'.   City bike guide and map (PDF).  Find a bike ride route map .

Info on future Christchurch cycleways.

Safety video - motorists sharing road with cyclists.  Film of cycling in city, with Councillor.

Cycle repairs at UC campus, for students.

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: books, magazines, audiovisual and electronic info.   Sustainable Living series soon at Tauranga.

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

Sustainability advocacy & projects at University of Canterbury.

New course at UC (SUST201)

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, Rhys Taylor at Sustainable Living Education Trust 03 693 8726

Tip: After you ‘Get Thru’?
What would you do in the weeks after a flood or earthquake’s disruption? Practical skills offered in our Community Resilience guide.