Christchurch, city (1996 pop. 309,027), E South Island, New Zealand, on the Avon River. It is the third largest city in New Zealand and the commercial center of the productive Canterbury Plains. Industries include food processing, meatpacking, woolens manufacturing, aquaculture, software development, and electronics; tourism is also important. Lyttelton, nearby, is the port for Christchurch. Perhaps the most English of New Zealand's cities, Christchurch was founded in 1850 and has such landmarks as Hagley Park and the Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals (both damaged severely in 2011). Nicknamed "Garden City of the Plains," it is also distinguished by its many public parks and botanical gardens. The Univ. of Canterbury (est. 1873) is in suburban Ilam. The city suffered severe and widespread damage from earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.