Riccarton, New Zealand

Riccarton, New Zealand

Suburb of Christchurch, New Zealand

Riccarton is a suburb of Christchurch. It is due west of the city centre, separated from it by Hagley Park. Upper Riccarton is to the west of Riccarton.

Quick Facts Country, City ...
Ilam Fendalton
Upper Riccarton
(Hagley Park)
Wigram Addington


On 12 April 1840, the ship Sarah and Elizabeth landed Herriot, McGillivray, Ellis, Shaw (and wife) and McKinnon (with his wife and child) who established a farm at Riccarton. They were the first European settlers on the plains."[3] In January 1841, they abandoned their attempt to farm in the area.[4]

Riccarton House was the homestead commissioned by Jane Deans in circa 1855. The Deans brothers, who along with the Gebbies and the Mansons were the second group of Europeans to settle in Christchurch on the same site as the first group in 1843.[5] Their original cottage is on the grounds, moved twice from its original position. Riccarton House is now a restaurant and function centre, and conducts regular tours.[6] The Deans brothers, John and William, named the suburb after the parish in Ayrshire, Scotland, in which they were born. They were also responsible for naming the River Avon after the river of the same name in Lanarkshire, Scotland.

Antonio Hall is located on Riccarton Road. A large property with 279 rooms and once described as "one of the finest in Christchurch and vicinity", it has been left to decay despite a Category II listing with Heritage New Zealand.[7][8] In July 2019, 30% of the building was lost to a fire started by a 14 year old youth.[9][10]

The Al Noor Mosque on Deans Avenue was the site of a mass shooting during the Christchurch mosque shootings on 15 March 2019.[11]

Riccarton Bush

Adjacent to Riccarton House is Riccarton Bush, a prominent feature also known as Deans Bush (Māori: Pūtaringamotu). The Māori word Pūtaringamotu means either ‘the place of an echo’ or ‘the severed ear’. The latter is a metaphoric expression referring to ‘bush isolated from the rest’. It is one of only four remnants of the original forest that covered the Canterbury plains, escaping the huge fires that swept across the province during the moa hunter period.[12] Another remnant, at Papanui, was cut down in the 1850s. The other two remnants were at Kaiapoi and Rangiora.[13] It is dominated by kahikatea trees.[14] A predator-proof perimeter fence has now been erected, with the hope of reintroducing kiwi to the reserve. In 1848, Scots brothers John and William Deans signed an agreement with the New Zealand Company to protect what was originally about 22 hectares of the kahikatea forest at Pūtaringamotu. In 1914, the 6.4 hectares that remained of Deans Bush was formally protected, with the passing of the Riccarton Bush Act 1914, spearheaded by prominent citizens of Christchurch, including Harry Ell and botanist Dr. Leonard Cockayne.

Riccarton Bush has played an important role in the history of New Zealand entomology, a number of native insects were first collected and named from Riccarton Bush.[15] One of the first collections was of a plume moth Pterophorus monospilalis in 1859 which is now in the Fereday collection held in the Canterbury Museum. Thirty nine families of Lepidoptera are found in New Zealand; 27 of these occur in Riccarton Bush.[16] The moths of Riccarton Bush represent the majority of these families. The bag moth Mallobathra metrosema is only known to occur in Riccarton Bush.[17]

Riccarton Racecourse Hotel

The Riccarton Racecourse Hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted places in New Zealand. It is said that the ghost of former licensee Donald Fraser walks the corridors of the hotel looking for his killer. In 1933, Fraser was murdered in the dead of night in his bedroom, where his wife was sleeping, by two blasts from a double-barrelled shotgun. Despite investigations, nobody was found guilty of the crime.[18]


Until local government amalgamation in 1989, Riccarton was an independent borough. Since then, Riccarton is represented by the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton community board.[19] In the 2019 local government elections, Catherine Chu was elected as Councillor for the Riccarton ward.[20]


Riccarton is home to Westfield Riccarton, which at approximately 54,000 square metres (580,000 sq ft) is one of New Zealand's largest shopping malls.[21] The mall was first opened as Riccarton Mall in 1965, and has since undergone multiple redevelopments and expansions. The most recent of these took place in 2009, with the addition of a second floor and new carpark building, while plans for further expansions into neighbouring property are within the design process.[22] This development underpins much of the economic activity in Riccarton, with the nearby stretch of Riccarton Road also a busy retail area with numerous motels.


Riccarton is divided into five statistical areas by Statistics New Zealand. Four of these are primarily residential, and Riccarton Central is the commercial area.

More information Name, Area (km2) ...

Residential areas

The residential areas of Riccarton cover 1.92 km2 (0.74 sq mi).[1] It had an estimated population of 10,740 as of June 2023, with a population density of 5,594 people per km2.

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The residential areas, comprising the statistical areas of Mona Vale, Riccarton West, Riccarton South and Riccarton East, had a population of 9,198 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 879 people (10.6%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 1,338 people (17.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 3,123 households, comprising 4,821 males and 4,377 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.1 males per female, with 1,095 people (11.9%) aged under 15 years, 3,969 (43.2%) aged 15 to 29, 3,429 (37.3%) aged 30 to 64, and 702 (7.6%) aged 65 or older.[28] Due to its proximity to the University of Canterbury, Riccarton is also home to many Christchurch students. The population of Riccarton is disproportionately younger as a result.[29]

Riccarton is one of the most culturally diverse suburbs of Christchurch. Ethnicities were 53.4% European/Pākehā, 7.5% Māori, 3.5% Pasifika, 39.1% Asian, and 4.5% other ethnicities. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.[28]

The proportion of people born overseas was 47.7%, compared with 27.1% nationally.[28] After English, the next most common languages spoken are Tagalog, Sinitic, Northern Chinese and te reo Māori.[30]

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 44.9% had no religion, 35.5% were Christian, 0.2% had Māori religious beliefs, 4.9% were Hindu, 3.8% were Muslim, 1.9% were Buddhist and 4.3% had other religions.[28]

Places of worship cover a variety of faiths, including Christian churches, the Yolin Assemblies of God Korean Church, the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple, a Sikh temple on Kilmarnock St,[31][32] and the Al Noor Mosque.[33][34] The suburb is home to many of Christchurch's 2000 Muslim residents.[citation needed]

Of those at least 15 years old, 2,382 (29.4%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 786 (9.7%) people had no formal qualifications. 708 people (8.7%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 3,927 (48.5%) people were employed full-time, 1,416 (17.5%) were part-time, and 423 (5.2%) were unemployed.[28]

Riccarton Central

Riccarton Central includes Westfield Riccarton and the commercial area along Mandeville Street. It covers 0.40 km2 (0.15 sq mi)[1] and had an estimated population of 60 as of June 2023,[2] with a population density of 150 people per km2.

More information Year, Pop. ...

Riccarton Central had a population of 51 at the 2018 New Zealand census, an increase of 30 people (142.9%) since the 2013 census, and an increase of 21 people (70.0%) since the 2006 census. There were 21 households, comprising 27 males and 21 females, giving a sex ratio of 1.29 males per female. The median age was 32.2 years (compared with 37.4 years nationally), with 3 people (5.9%) aged under 15 years, 18 (35.3%) aged 15 to 29, 24 (47.1%) aged 30 to 64, and 3 (5.9%) aged 65 or older.

Ethnicities were 70.6% European/Pākehā, 11.8% Māori, and 29.4% Asian. People may identify with more than one ethnicity.

The percentage of people born overseas was 35.3, compared with 27.1% nationally.

Although some people chose not to answer the census's question about religious affiliation, 47.1% had no religion, 29.4% were Christian, and 11.8% were Buddhist.

Of those at least 15 years old, 18 (37.5%) people had a bachelor's or higher degree, and 3 (6.2%) people had no formal qualifications. The median income was $33,800, compared with $31,800 nationally. 6 people (12.5%) earned over $70,000 compared to 17.2% nationally. The employment status of those at least 15 was that 27 (56.2%) people were employed full-time, 6 (12.5%) were part-time, and 3 (6.2%) were unemployed.[35]


Christchurch Girls' High school in 2020

Christchurch Girls' High School is a girls' secondary school for years 9 to 13,[36] with a roll of 1,291 students. It opened in 1877.[37]

Wharenui School is a full primary school for students in years 1 to 8.[38] It has a roll of 400. The school opened in 1907.[39]:215

St Teresa's School is a Catholic full primary school for years 1 to 8.[40] It has a roll of 161. It opened in 1936.[41]

Rolls are as of February 2024.[42]

Notable residents

See also


  1. "ArcGIS Web Application". statsnz.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  2. "Christchurch: a chronology". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  3. "Christchurch: a chronology". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  4. "Christchurch: a chronology". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  5. "Riccarton House". Riccarton House & Bush. Archived from the original on 5 October 2011. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  6. "Antonio House". New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  7. Matthews, Philip (9 January 2016). "The mystery of Antonio Hall". The Press. p. B1. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  8. Clarkson, David (6 August 2019). "Teen admits starting blaze at Christchurch's derelict Antonio Hall". Stuff. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  9. "The place of an echo: Pūtaringamotu (Deans Bush)". Envirohistory NZ. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  10. Challenger, S. (1974). "Changes in the Canterbury Landscape". Canterbury Garden. 5 (1). The Gardens Trust: 57. doi:10.2307/1586320.
  11. "RICCARTON BUSH". The Plant World. 9 (11). Wiley on behalf of the Ecological Society of America: 269–270. 1906.
  12. Stuart Lindsay (1927). "A List of the Lepidoptera of Deans's Bush, Riccarton, Canterbury". Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute. 57: 693–695. ISSN 1176-6158. Wikidata Q111969574.
  13. Molloy, Brian (1995). Riccarton Bush: Putaringamotu. Christchurch: The Riccarton Bush Trust. p. 263.
  14. Monson, Keitha; Emberson, Rowan (2003). Biodiversity of terrestrial invertebrates in Christchurch City: a report for the Christchurch City Council (Report). pp. 37–38. hdl:10182/4169.
  15. "electionz.com". www.electionz.com. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  16. Gibson, Anne (10 April 2019). "Four biggest NZ malls a focus for Scentre in $790m property expansion". NZ Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  17. McDonald, Liz (8 March 2016). "Westfield Riccarton mall hatches big expansion plan". Stuff. Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  18. "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Mona Vale (323200), Riccarton West (323300), Riccarton South (324400) and Riccarton East (325200).
  19. "Community Profile 2014 – Riccarton North" (PDF). Christchurch City Council.
  20. "Christchurch Sikh community increases 10-fold since earthquakes". Stuff. 27 July 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  21. "Daily Prayer & Gurmat Samagam". Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  22. Drury, Abdullah (5 August 2008). "A time for Muslims to examine faith". Nelson Mail. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  23. "Statistical area 1 dataset for 2018 Census". Statistics New Zealand. March 2020. Riccarton Central (324200). 2018 Census place summary: Riccarton Central
  24. "Our Community". Christchurch Girls' High School. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  25. "Miscellaneous Local Historical Information" (PDF). Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  26. "St Teresa's School, Riccarton". Mercy Schools. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  27. "New Zealand Schools Directory". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 14 March 2024.
  28. "Deaths". The Times. No. 24984. London, England. 22 September 1864. p. 1.

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