Earthquakes aside, the face of Christchurch is changing, fueled by both New Zealand residents drawn from other centers as well as immigrants, attracted by rebuild opportunities. The Māori community, although still below the national average in size, is growing. Ngai Tahu, the main South Island Māori tribe, settled Treaty of Waitangi claims in 1997 and has invested in tourism ventures. There is a growing Asian population, reflected in the number of restaurants and stores catering to their preferences. Overall, after a two-year decline, Christchurch’s population is rising again, the arts scene is flourishing, and the city continues to attract cutting-edge technology companies.
Christchurch is also the forward supply depot for the main U.S. Antarctic base at McMurdo Sound, and if you come in by plane in summer, you are likely to see the giant U.S. Air Force transport planes of Operation Deep Freeze parked on the tarmac at Christchurch International Airport.