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Library Subject Guides

Ōtautahi - Christchurch: Natural Environment


Controlling and altering nature was an early and ongoing concern for colonial Christchurch, from drainage and flood control and the introduction of European plants and animals to the development of the “garden city.” 
This section focusses on the interaction of people and the environment in Ōtautahi - Christchurch.

People in the Landscape


For an overview of the connection Ngāi Tahu has with the landscape, see:


​The European approach to the Christchurch landscape is discussed in:


Browse the catalogue using subject keywords such as: 


See also Tī Kōuka Whenua from Christchurch City Libraries, it provides brief insights into significant sites throughout the region. 

The Garden City 


Matt Morris's online thesis A history of Christchurch home gardening from colonisation to the Queen's visit: Gardening culture in a particular society and environment (2006) shows "how gardening discourses related to ideas about the maintenance of the social and cultural order", and undertook case studies which showed the limited but significant effect that gardening discourses had on Christchurch gardens. 

NZ On Screen has a 1952 film produced by the City Council: Christchurch-Garden City of New Zealand and there is a range of books which refer to the garden city in their title.

The Christchurch Beautifying Association is over 100 years old. See our publications by and about the Association here

Documents related to Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens can be found on the Christchurch City Council website, including a detailed history of the facilities.

For more books on the history of gardening in Christchurch, search the catalogue using the subject gardening New Zealand Christchurch history.

The Canterbury Horticultural Society's journal The City Beautiful contains advice and comment on gardens, gardening, plants and more.Our holdings begin in 1928 and continue to 2001 (with a few name changes and gaps on the way).

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Caroline Syddall
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Macmillan Brown Library.

My hours of work are Monday-Thursday 8.30-5.00
03 3693883 or x93883