Christchurch the South Island’s largest city with a population of approximately 341,000 - according to the latest census. It was proclaimed the first city in New Zealand by Royal Charter in 1856. The greater Christchurch urban area has a population of approximately 375,800.
The agricultural industry continues to be the economic cornerstone of Christchurch, with industry in the city predominantly based on the surrounding farming lands of the Canterbury plains. Light manufacturing has important exports markets in Australia. Software and Technology-based industries have also become an important part of the economy with global market reach.
Christchurch has number of large co-educational secondary school s (year 9 -13) including Burnside High School, Cashmere High School, Papanui High School and Riccarton High School. Burnside High is New Zealand’s fourth largest college with a school roll of over 2000 students. The two largest state run boys single-sex schools are Christchurch Boy's High School and Shirley Boys' High School. The two largest state run girls' high schools in Christchurch are Avonside Girls High School and Christchurch Girls High School .
There are four tertiary education institutions with campuses based in Christchurch - the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and the University of Otago’s Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences.