Settlement and development

History of settlement and development

What we know

European settlement of the regeneration strategy project area

In 1852, after the arrival of European settlers, Southshore became part of the Sandhills Run, a dairy farm which supplied most of the milk for the new settlement of Christchurch. During this time squatters built a number of baches but no formal residential development occurred until much later.

In comparison, South New Brighton saw its earliest settlers in 1852. Various transport links were established throughout the late 19th century, with development progressing after 1880 following subdivision, with mostly baches constructed. The South New Brighton School was established early in 1922 with 47 pupils, although it took until 1940 for permanent classrooms to be built on the current school site .

It was not until 1916 that any attempt was made to develop Southshore for permanent residential use. A large portion of the Regeneration Strategy project area was subdivided for housing but did not progress at this time. Instead, during World War One, the area was used for gunnery practice, as a rifle range, and later as a holiday camp which didn’t succeed .

In the mid to late 1940s Rocking Horse Road was formed to the end of the Spit, residential development began in the Southshore area (starting with just seven houses), and the Southshore Ratepayers’ Association was established. Further residential development was slow in Southshore, with services to the area not fully connected until the late 1960s. In 1953 the area received electricity 35 years after New Brighton, and in 1967, a sewage system. In 1969, after 22 years of requests, gutters were finally added to Rocking Horse Road, which had often flooded during rainy periods.

In the 1970s residential development accelerated, making the Regeneration Strategy project area one of the most developed coastal spits in New Zealand. The South New Brighton Bridge was officially opened in 1981, and the bus service to Southshore finally reached the end of Rocking Horse Road. The area continued to grow, with a population increase in Southshore from 650 people in 1972 to 1425 people in 1991. To support this community, a small local newspaper ‘the Southshore Beacon’ was established in 1989, and the Southshore Community Club in 1996 .


Changes in settlement patterns because of the earthquakes

The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes caused significant damage to land and buildings in the Regeneration Strategy project area. The Crown adopted a social policy response to help people in the worst affected areas where land was not recommended for continued residential development in the short-term. This land was categorised as ‘residential red zone’ and voluntary offers to purchase were made to 195 property owners.

As a result of this process, 192 private properties were purchased by the Crown and subsequently demolished. This has created an open grassed area of land between the estuary edge and other residential dwellings in this area. Approximately 480 members of the community relocated as a result. In addition to the 195 red zoned properties, an unknown number of properties were damaged because of the earthquakes.


Why this is important

The history of Maori settlement in the Regeneration Strategy project area suggests the area will be culturally significant and associated values will need to be factored into any future discussions.

Southshore and South New Brighton are established suburbs with significant social and capital investment. As they are bordered by the coast and the estuary, this can create challenges at times, which will increase over time with the impacts of climate change. The extent of those changes is currently not known and this uncertainty adds to the challenges.


What we don’t know

It is acknowledged that much of the research used to inform the information in this section is based on Southshore and that there will be localised differences within the Regeneration Strategy project area.


Current land use

What we know

Residential land use

Current land use in the communities of Southshore and South New Brighton is predominantly privately owned residential development with some community facilities. There is open space managed by Christchurch City Council where the dunes and reserves are located. See land use map.

In the residential red zone nearly all houses bordering the Estuary/Ihutai have been removed, creating a strip of open space between the remaining houses and the estuary edge. The residential red zoned land is mostly Crown-owned, with two privately owned properties on Rocking Horse Road. See land ownership map.

In South New Brighton around 60% of the houses were built between the 1940s and the 1970s. In Southshore, 70% of the houses were built between 1950s and the 1970s. Approximately 166 new houses have been constructed since 2010, most of which were rebuilt because of earthquake damage. See age of buildings map.


Housing market

Property values in the Regeneration Strategy project area dropped slightly following the earthquakes, consistent with city-wide trends, but have since stabilised and property is still being sold and bought. The average property value (land and improvement value) at (insert date) was $377,876 for South New Brighton and $449,354 for Southshore. The total value of residential properties and assets in the Regeneration Strategy project area is $790 million. 

Dwelling sales volumes for South New Brighton census area, in relation to wider district and surrounding areas. (ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), 2018).


Dwelling sales prices for South New Brighton census area, in relation to wider district and surrounding areas. (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), 2018).

Land value for South Brighton census area, in relation to wider district and surrounding areas. (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), 2018).


Residential catchment for nearby commercial centre

The Regeneration Strategy project area is part of the residential catchment for the commercial area of New Brighton. Once a thriving district centre, the commercial core of New Brighton has been in decline since the 1980s and suffered significant damage during the Canterbury Earthquakes. The New Brighton Regeneration Project led by Development Christchurch Ltd (DCL) builds on the New Brighton Suburban Master Plan and seeks to deliver key projects to support the revitalisation of New Brighton.

The Council has allocated capital investment for the revitalisation of New Brighton in its 2018-28 Long Term Plan (LTP). Following a recently completed $8M beachside playground upgrade, the Council has allocated over $16M to street and open space improvements over the next 10 years, and has allocated another $9.7M for a 'Phase One Hot Salt Water Pool' development over the next year .


Local shopping areas and community spaces

Prior to the 2010/11 earthquakes the Regenerate Strategy project area had two distinct local shopping areas. The first at the Bridge Street, Estuary Road corner and the second on Caspian Street. Both were significantly impacted in the earthquakes. The shops at Caspian Street, which had included a cafe/bar, dairy, takeaway shop and hairdresser all closed, and the buildings remain unrepaired. At the Bridge Street, Estuary Road corner only one dairy and the local garage remain from a once thriving retail area that included a café, takeaway shops, bottle store, dairies, chemist and doctors’ surgery. There is a dairy on Union Street and a café and hairdresser on Rodney Street.

The local community hall on Beatty Street, which was also the school hall and used as the toy library, was demolished and replaced with a smaller community centre relocated from the old QE11 site. Since then the school has been without a hall and has to assemble outside, winter and summer. This means the school cannot hold whole school gatherings in bad weather. Though the new community centre is widely used, it is recognised by the community as inadequate for their needs.

The South Brighton Bowling Club was demolished after the earthquakes, as was the local yacht club - Pleasant Point Yacht Club. The Yacht Club currently operates out of containers near the recently repaired jetty and has plans to rebuild a club in the area. The South Brighton Bowling Club was not rebuilt.

The South Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club and South Brighton Tennis Club were also both significantly damaged. The South Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club is currently sourcing funding to rebuild their club. Both clubs remain highly supported in the community. The South Brighton Tennis Club has the largest junior numbers in all tennis clubs registered with Canterbury Tennis. The South Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club has a large junior programme and won the 2018 Canterbury Junior Surf Champs and the Southern Regional Junior competition. Both the South Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club and the South Brighton Tennis Club have grown substantially, particularly in the last 2-3 years.

Despite the lack of gathering places in the project area a keen sense of community remains. The Bridge South Brighton Trust (TBSBT) was established by a group of residents who saw an opportunity to repair the badly damaged church on the corner of Bridge Street and Estuary Road and create a replacement for some of the lost spaces. In 2016 Christchurch City Council approved TBST $325,000 to buy the building for the community “as is” (unrepaired). TBST are currently repairing the building to create a multi-use community hub, which will include a cafe, gallery, office space, wellness centre, information centre and a community hall to house the toy library, and provide a performance venue and event space.


Open space

Most of the land on the open coast and the estuary edge is public open space used as scenic and recreation reserves, and in some instances for flood protection (for example, near the mouth of the Ōtākaro/Avon River north of Bridge Street). In addition the residential red- zone land is currently operating as open space having been cleared of buildings, providing access to the estuary edge along the southern end of the Spit.

Open space and Residential Red Zone land in the Regeneration Strategy project area.


These open spaces provide local residents, and the wider Christchurch population, with a wide range of recreational opportunities. Established and informal walkways provide access to the beach, the Estuary/Ihutai and Southshore Spit Reserve.

The beach and estuary also provide residents with a wide range of recreational activities, including swimming, paddleboarding, yachting, fishing, surfing, surf lifesaving, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking.


Why this is important

This area is highly valued as a place to live, and for its amenity, recreational opportunities and access to open spaces.

The residential red zone and reserves along the estuary edge and open coast provide an almost continuous area of open space between existing development and the coastal environments.

The two key stages of residential activity, the first from the 1940s to 1980s and the latter since the Canterbury earthquakes, have created two very different characteristics of residential development based on building materials, practices and codes at each time. This will have implications for the resilience of the building stock in the Regeneration Strategy project area.


What we don’t know

It is not clear whether or when the property market or provision of insurance may be impacted by increasing hazard risk. Ongoing research by Motu as part of the Deep South National Science Challenge on insurance, housing and climate adaptation has suggested that in areas recognised as especially vulnerable to climate change risks, there will be properties that become difficult to sell or insure. Evidence from international markets suggests that when insuring a risk becomes uneconomic, insurers can decide to change their insurance offering which can mean increasing premiums, bringing in risk-based pricing on policies, or withdrawing insurance altogether.

There is not a record of floor levels for all properties in the Regeneration Strategy project area, although those that have been rebuilt since 2010 are likely to be at the higher levels currently required to protect buildings from a 1-in-200-year flood. Knowing the scale of resilience of existing buildings will help improve understanding of the potential consequences of natural hazard risks, and at what point flooding, coastal inundation and groundwater hazards may become unacceptable risks.

There is also no definitive record of how many properties remain unrepaired and have been on-sold, 'as is, where is'.


Implications of past land use – potentially contaminated land

What we know

As Southshore South New Brighton have developed some of the current land uses will have replaced past land use that may have involved storage, use or disposal of hazardous substances or chemicals. Such land uses could include landfill, bulk storage/use of pesticides, manufacture or disposal of asbestos. These sites are now considered likely to cause land contamination.

Where these sites are known they are identified on the Listed Land Use Register (LLUR), a publicly available database maintained by Environment Canterbury. The LLUR identifies 26 sites within the Southshore South New Brighton Regeneration Strategy area. The property owners will have received a letter when they were added to the LLUR.

The LLUR uses Ministry for the Environment’s Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL), which is a compilation of activities and industries that are considered likely to cause land contamination resulting from hazardous substance use, storage or disposal. The requirement to assess and manage contaminated land is part of the Resource Management Act.


Why this is important

Potentially contaminated land can have adverse effects on the natural environment and human health. Disturbance of the soil occurs as land is developed or changes use. It is important to know where contaminated land is located so people are not exposed to contaminants that may affect their health.

Development on properties identified on the LLUR will need to follow guidance from Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council. This may include engaging an expert to undertake a detailed site investigation to find out if the land is actually contaminated, managing or remediating contaminated land or limiting the type of land use.


What we don’t know

There are 26 sites that we are currently aware of. There may be additional HAIL activities or sources of contamination in the Southshore South New Brighton Regeneration Strategy area that will need to be considered. We don’t know how the impacts of climate change, such as rising groundwater or inundation, will affect these properties and potential leaching of contaminants.


History of settlement and development

What we know

European settlement of the regeneration strategy project area

In 1852, after the arrival of European settlers, Southshore became part of the Sandhills Run, a dairy farm which supplied most of the milk for the new settlement of Christchurch. During this time squatters built a number of baches but no formal residential development occurred until much later.

In comparison, South New Brighton saw its earliest settlers in 1852. Various transport links were established throughout the late 19th century, with development progressing after 1880 following subdivision, with mostly baches constructed. The South New Brighton School was established early in 1922 with 47 pupils, although it took until 1940 for permanent classrooms to be built on the current school site .

It was not until 1916 that any attempt was made to develop Southshore for permanent residential use. A large portion of the Regeneration Strategy project area was subdivided for housing but did not progress at this time. Instead, during World War One, the area was used for gunnery practice, as a rifle range, and later as a holiday camp which didn’t succeed .

In the mid to late 1940s Rocking Horse Road was formed to the end of the Spit, residential development began in the Southshore area (starting with just seven houses), and the Southshore Ratepayers’ Association was established. Further residential development was slow in Southshore, with services to the area not fully connected until the late 1960s. In 1953 the area received electricity 35 years after New Brighton, and in 1967, a sewage system. In 1969, after 22 years of requests, gutters were finally added to Rocking Horse Road, which had often flooded during rainy periods.

In the 1970s residential development accelerated, making the Regeneration Strategy project area one of the most developed coastal spits in New Zealand. The South New Brighton Bridge was officially opened in 1981, and the bus service to Southshore finally reached the end of Rocking Horse Road. The area continued to grow, with a population increase in Southshore from 650 people in 1972 to 1425 people in 1991. To support this community, a small local newspaper ‘the Southshore Beacon’ was established in 1989, and the Southshore Community Club in 1996 .


Changes in settlement patterns because of the earthquakes

The 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes caused significant damage to land and buildings in the Regeneration Strategy project area. The Crown adopted a social policy response to help people in the worst affected areas where land was not recommended for continued residential development in the short-term. This land was categorised as ‘residential red zone’ and voluntary offers to purchase were made to 195 property owners.

As a result of this process, 192 private properties were purchased by the Crown and subsequently demolished. This has created an open grassed area of land between the estuary edge and other residential dwellings in this area. Approximately 480 members of the community relocated as a result. In addition to the 195 red zoned properties, an unknown number of properties were damaged because of the earthquakes.


Why this is important

The history of Maori settlement in the Regeneration Strategy project area suggests the area will be culturally significant and associated values will need to be factored into any future discussions.

Southshore and South New Brighton are established suburbs with significant social and capital investment. As they are bordered by the coast and the estuary, this can create challenges at times, which will increase over time with the impacts of climate change. The extent of those changes is currently not known and this uncertainty adds to the challenges.


What we don’t know

It is acknowledged that much of the research used to inform the information in this section is based on Southshore and that there will be localised differences within the Regeneration Strategy project area.


Current land use

What we know

Residential land use

Current land use in the communities of Southshore and South New Brighton is predominantly privately owned residential development with some community facilities. There is open space managed by Christchurch City Council where the dunes and reserves are located. See land use map.

In the residential red zone nearly all houses bordering the Estuary/Ihutai have been removed, creating a strip of open space between the remaining houses and the estuary edge. The residential red zoned land is mostly Crown-owned, with two privately owned properties on Rocking Horse Road. See land ownership map.

In South New Brighton around 60% of the houses were built between the 1940s and the 1970s. In Southshore, 70% of the houses were built between 1950s and the 1970s. Approximately 166 new houses have been constructed since 2010, most of which were rebuilt because of earthquake damage. See age of buildings map.


Housing market

Property values in the Regeneration Strategy project area dropped slightly following the earthquakes, consistent with city-wide trends, but have since stabilised and property is still being sold and bought. The average property value (land and improvement value) at (insert date) was $377,876 for South New Brighton and $449,354 for Southshore. The total value of residential properties and assets in the Regeneration Strategy project area is $790 million. 

Dwelling sales volumes for South New Brighton census area, in relation to wider district and surrounding areas. (ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), 2018).


Dwelling sales prices for South New Brighton census area, in relation to wider district and surrounding areas. (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), 2018).

Land value for South Brighton census area, in relation to wider district and surrounding areas. (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), 2018).


Residential catchment for nearby commercial centre

The Regeneration Strategy project area is part of the residential catchment for the commercial area of New Brighton. Once a thriving district centre, the commercial core of New Brighton has been in decline since the 1980s and suffered significant damage during the Canterbury Earthquakes. The New Brighton Regeneration Project led by Development Christchurch Ltd (DCL) builds on the New Brighton Suburban Master Plan and seeks to deliver key projects to support the revitalisation of New Brighton.

The Council has allocated capital investment for the revitalisation of New Brighton in its 2018-28 Long Term Plan (LTP). Following a recently completed $8M beachside playground upgrade, the Council has allocated over $16M to street and open space improvements over the next 10 years, and has allocated another $9.7M for a 'Phase One Hot Salt Water Pool' development over the next year .


Local shopping areas and community spaces

Prior to the 2010/11 earthquakes the Regenerate Strategy project area had two distinct local shopping areas. The first at the Bridge Street, Estuary Road corner and the second on Caspian Street. Both were significantly impacted in the earthquakes. The shops at Caspian Street, which had included a cafe/bar, dairy, takeaway shop and hairdresser all closed, and the buildings remain unrepaired. At the Bridge Street, Estuary Road corner only one dairy and the local garage remain from a once thriving retail area that included a café, takeaway shops, bottle store, dairies, chemist and doctors’ surgery. There is a dairy on Union Street and a café and hairdresser on Rodney Street.

The local community hall on Beatty Street, which was also the school hall and used as the toy library, was demolished and replaced with a smaller community centre relocated from the old QE11 site. Since then the school has been without a hall and has to assemble outside, winter and summer. This means the school cannot hold whole school gatherings in bad weather. Though the new community centre is widely used, it is recognised by the community as inadequate for their needs.

The South Brighton Bowling Club was demolished after the earthquakes, as was the local yacht club - Pleasant Point Yacht Club. The Yacht Club currently operates out of containers near the recently repaired jetty and has plans to rebuild a club in the area. The South Brighton Bowling Club was not rebuilt.

The South Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club and South Brighton Tennis Club were also both significantly damaged. The South Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club is currently sourcing funding to rebuild their club. Both clubs remain highly supported in the community. The South Brighton Tennis Club has the largest junior numbers in all tennis clubs registered with Canterbury Tennis. The South Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club has a large junior programme and won the 2018 Canterbury Junior Surf Champs and the Southern Regional Junior competition. Both the South Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club and the South Brighton Tennis Club have grown substantially, particularly in the last 2-3 years.

Despite the lack of gathering places in the project area a keen sense of community remains. The Bridge South Brighton Trust (TBSBT) was established by a group of residents who saw an opportunity to repair the badly damaged church on the corner of Bridge Street and Estuary Road and create a replacement for some of the lost spaces. In 2016 Christchurch City Council approved TBST $325,000 to buy the building for the community “as is” (unrepaired). TBST are currently repairing the building to create a multi-use community hub, which will include a cafe, gallery, office space, wellness centre, information centre and a community hall to house the toy library, and provide a performance venue and event space.


Open space

Most of the land on the open coast and the estuary edge is public open space used as scenic and recreation reserves, and in some instances for flood protection (for example, near the mouth of the Ōtākaro/Avon River north of Bridge Street). In addition the residential red- zone land is currently operating as open space having been cleared of buildings, providing access to the estuary edge along the southern end of the Spit.

Open space and Residential Red Zone land in the Regeneration Strategy project area.


These open spaces provide local residents, and the wider Christchurch population, with a wide range of recreational opportunities. Established and informal walkways provide access to the beach, the Estuary/Ihutai and Southshore Spit Reserve.

The beach and estuary also provide residents with a wide range of recreational activities, including swimming, paddleboarding, yachting, fishing, surfing, surf lifesaving, windsurfing, canoeing and kayaking.


Why this is important

This area is highly valued as a place to live, and for its amenity, recreational opportunities and access to open spaces.

The residential red zone and reserves along the estuary edge and open coast provide an almost continuous area of open space between existing development and the coastal environments.

The two key stages of residential activity, the first from the 1940s to 1980s and the latter since the Canterbury earthquakes, have created two very different characteristics of residential development based on building materials, practices and codes at each time. This will have implications for the resilience of the building stock in the Regeneration Strategy project area.


What we don’t know

It is not clear whether or when the property market or provision of insurance may be impacted by increasing hazard risk. Ongoing research by Motu as part of the Deep South National Science Challenge on insurance, housing and climate adaptation has suggested that in areas recognised as especially vulnerable to climate change risks, there will be properties that become difficult to sell or insure. Evidence from international markets suggests that when insuring a risk becomes uneconomic, insurers can decide to change their insurance offering which can mean increasing premiums, bringing in risk-based pricing on policies, or withdrawing insurance altogether.

There is not a record of floor levels for all properties in the Regeneration Strategy project area, although those that have been rebuilt since 2010 are likely to be at the higher levels currently required to protect buildings from a 1-in-200-year flood. Knowing the scale of resilience of existing buildings will help improve understanding of the potential consequences of natural hazard risks, and at what point flooding, coastal inundation and groundwater hazards may become unacceptable risks.

There is also no definitive record of how many properties remain unrepaired and have been on-sold, 'as is, where is'.


Implications of past land use – potentially contaminated land

What we know

As Southshore South New Brighton have developed some of the current land uses will have replaced past land use that may have involved storage, use or disposal of hazardous substances or chemicals. Such land uses could include landfill, bulk storage/use of pesticides, manufacture or disposal of asbestos. These sites are now considered likely to cause land contamination.

Where these sites are known they are identified on the Listed Land Use Register (LLUR), a publicly available database maintained by Environment Canterbury. The LLUR identifies 26 sites within the Southshore South New Brighton Regeneration Strategy area. The property owners will have received a letter when they were added to the LLUR.

The LLUR uses Ministry for the Environment’s Hazardous Activities and Industries List (HAIL), which is a compilation of activities and industries that are considered likely to cause land contamination resulting from hazardous substance use, storage or disposal. The requirement to assess and manage contaminated land is part of the Resource Management Act.


Why this is important

Potentially contaminated land can have adverse effects on the natural environment and human health. Disturbance of the soil occurs as land is developed or changes use. It is important to know where contaminated land is located so people are not exposed to contaminants that may affect their health.

Development on properties identified on the LLUR will need to follow guidance from Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council. This may include engaging an expert to undertake a detailed site investigation to find out if the land is actually contaminated, managing or remediating contaminated land or limiting the type of land use.


What we don’t know

There are 26 sites that we are currently aware of. There may be additional HAIL activities or sources of contamination in the Southshore South New Brighton Regeneration Strategy area that will need to be considered. We don’t know how the impacts of climate change, such as rising groundwater or inundation, will affect these properties and potential leaching of contaminants.