Adelaide’s island sister, Christchurch, New Zealand, rebuilding its economy… from the ground up

Adelaide is connected to amazing cities, from Austin (USA) to Himeji (Japan).  Closer to home, there’s Christchurch in our neighbour island, New Zealand.

Christchurch is a city, not without its challenges.  The 2011 earthquake changed the entire landscape of the city.  But it’s being rebuilt with greater resilience, along with a new way of working revolutionising the city.Cathedral,_Christchurch,_New_Zealand

Universities are providing flexible, learning environments focused around collaborative spaces and developing innovation across problem solving so students can choose when, where and how they study.

Shared workspaces provide flexibility for entrepreneurs, with the convenience of a larger office and the opportunity to work with like minds.  Often the designers of shared workspaces are also users themselves and their designs and inspiration are drawn from their own experiences.

Christchurch schools receive $6 million, post-earthquake

On top of a billion-dollar programme to rebuild Christchurch schools, the Government is injecting millions into eight schools – St Thomas of Canterbury College, St James School in Aranui, St Joseph’s School, St Francis of Assisi School, Rangiora New Life School, St Mary’s School, Middleton Grange School, and Christchurch’s Rudolf Steiner School.  The funding will go into replacing classrooms that had to be demolished after the earthquakes, strengthening existing spaces, and rebuilding.

On a more personal level, officials have reported a heightened ‘mental health crisis’ in Canterbury.  There’s a 60% increase in young people contacting mental health services, after recent earthquakes.  The International Positive Education Network are working with five Christchurch schools on a mental wellbeing program.  Character awareness will be integrated into the national school curriculum.

Christchurch schools promote wellbeing through character strength.  Global Character Day is an initiative involving 40,000 schools across the world and Christchurch schools were the first to celebrate the day, due to being first across the dateline.

Government grants to support local entrepreneurs

The Government has a range of support for local start-ups, from grants and mentoring to tailored schemes.  There’s one targeting high-tech businesses, for example.  Run by Callaghan Innovation, the program offers a range of services to help businesses develop and commercialise technology.

These include:

  • Technical and scientific expertise
  • Impartial advice
  • Training to improve innovation skills
  • Access to industry networks.

These services help businesses speed up and strengthen their product development, reduce risk and create market advantage.

A Spinoff article believes Christchurch could be New Zealand’s ‘next Silicon Valley’, with its new innovation precinct in the downtown.  It’s part of the city’s 2012 blueprint, supported by the Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE). Covering three city blocks, the hub focuses on tech-based companies, from startups to established global organisations.

Collaborative hubs, like GreenHouse, are popping up.  The tech scene is really connected, with Christchurch being hailed the most exciting innovation hotspot.  The sector currently contributes $2.4 billion to the city’s gross domestic product annually and employs almost 15,000 people.

“Christchurch has got it all for us,” says Gwyn Edwards, CTO of game development studio CerebralFix.  Something that’s also said about Adelaide.

If you’d like to learn more about sister cities and collaboration opportunities, please contact Wendy via

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