- Official club name: The Friendship Force of Christchurch
- Closest major airport: Christchurch International Airport
- Cost of transportation between the airport and our city (based on 20 people): None, because hosts meet ambassadors in cars. The airport is only 10 km from the city centre.
- Maximum number of Ambassadors our club can host: 25
About the club
Friendship force Christchurch was formed in 1984 but was not chartered until 1986; there are now approximately 75 club members. Annually, the club is happy to host up to three inward Friendship Force Journeys and usually has one outward Journey of three phases. The club has also hosted specialist Journeys (e.g. teachers, trampers/hikers) and a festival group of 150. Our monthly newsletter keeps members (and all other New Zealand clubs) informed of club activities. Each month we generally have some activity either involving Friendship Force Journeys or else a social event for members.
About the region
Historically, New Zealand is a young country with human settlement for less than 1000 years. With a population of 350,000, coastally placed Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and the largest in the South Island. With rainfall averaging only 360 mm and 2000+ hours of sunshine annually, it has a very agreeable, temperate climate and, when allied with the naturally fertile soils, it is particularly apt that Christchurch is called “The Garden City”.
Though winters can be frosty, they are generally fairly dry and snow seldom falls in the city. The farming hinterland is highly productive with a growing dairying industry, some deer farming, as well as the traditional sheep farms. Among these are many pockets of vineyards, olive groves and other crops. The volcanic Banks Peninsula to the southeast is a sheep farming and a popular recreational area with Akaroa, its largest settlement, an attractive tourist town with a historical French connection. Mt Hutt, the premier commercial ski area close to the city, lies to the west 1½ hours away.
Today this attractive city of parks, gardens, and trees supports professional theatre, music and the arts as well as being the home of many keen sports people. Outdoor activities include winter skiing, climbing, walking and mountain biking on Banks Peninsula and in the nearby mountains. There is also jet boating and fishing on the many rivers as well as the usual team games like football, cricket, tennis, etc. Other aquatic activities include sailing and surfing. Christchurch has it all.
About a typical Friendship Force Journey to Christchurch
We prefer ambassadors to come in September-November or February-April. Hosts meet and greet their ambassadors at the airport, railway station or bus depot.
Our primary emphasis is for the host family to get to know their ambassadors, but we usually have two group days out of the city in addition to a civic welcome by the mayor or deputy followed by a tree planting ceremony at a newly developed park on the outskirts of the city. Evening neighbourhood ‘pot luck’ group dinners give the ambassadors an opportunity to meet other club members and friends in their homes and the farewell party is a popular occasion for all club members.
If the ambassadors request or are offered a special activity not covered by the FF Journey committee, it is sometimes arranged in advance between the host and ambassador coordinators and at an extra cost to the ambassadors. Some of these have been very popular, e.g. harbour cruise, jet boating, alpine rail trip.
Updated 16 February 2017
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