Avon River (Canterbury)

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Avon River/Ōtākaro
AntiguaBoatShedsChristchurch gobeirne.jpg
Boat sheds on the Avon, Christchurch
Origin Avonhead
Mouth Pegasus Bay via the Avon Heathcote Estuary
Basin countries New Zealand
Length 14 km (8.7 mi)
Mouth elevation 0 m (0 ft)

The Avon River /ˈvən/ flows through the centre of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, and out to an estuary, which it shares with the Heathcote River, the Avon Heathcote Estuary.

Geology[edit]

Geologically, as with most of the South Island's rivers, it is very young. The Avon (in its current course) may date from New Zealand's last ice age.[citation needed]

Course[edit]

The Avon follows a meandering course through Christchurch from its source in the outer western suburb of Avonhead through Ilam, Riccarton and Fendalton, then through Hagley Park and the Central Business District (CBD).

East of the CBD, it passes through Avonside, Dallington, Avondale and Aranui, and finally flowing into the Pacific Ocean via the Avon Heathcote Estuary (Māori: Te Wahapū[1]) near Sumner.

Naming[edit]

The Avon River was known by the Māori as Ōtākaro[2] or Putare Kamutu.[3] The Canterbury Association had planned to call it the Shakespere [sic].[4] The river was given its current name by John Deans in 1848 to commemorate the Scottish Avon, which rises in the Ayrshire hills near what was his grandfathers' farm, Over Auchentiber.[5] The Deans built their homestead adjacent to the Avon River where the suburb of Riccarton now lies.

The name was officially altered to Avon River / Ōtākaro by the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998, one of many such changes under the Ngāi Tahu treaty settlement.[6]

Punting on the Avon River

Punting[edit]

Commercial punting as a tourist attraction is available in the central city, Hagley Park and Mona Vale, a park in Fendalton.[7]

Fishing[edit]

The Avon, flowing through the centre of the south island's most populous urban area, has become popular among local anglers as large numbers of introduced Brown trout are in the river. In the lower reaches below the Central Business District it is not uncommon for trout over 10 lbs (4 kg) to be caught, after the fish have made good use of consuming high numbers of a native Galaxiidae, Whitebait. Above the CBD the fish are smaller but higher numbers of these smaller fish are available, the most common method above the city is Fly Fishing as the Trout have become somewhat wary of anglers. Angling is not permitted between the Armagh street bridge at Hagley Park and the Barbadoes street bridge downstream from the city centre.

Earthquakes[edit]

Much of the land along the Avon River downstream from the central city was damaged in the 2010 Canterbury earthquake, the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake and the June 2011 Christchurch earthquake and has been zoned red by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. Community interests are lobbying for the red zoned land to be turned into a park that links the central city with the estuary.[8] The campaign is headed by a group called Avon-Otakaro Network (AvON) and has received the backing of the mayor.[9]

In January 2013 health officials warned against swimming in the river due to contamination, linked to damage caused in the earthquakes.[10]

Avon River in Victoria Square, Christchurch

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Estuary, Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand.
  2. ^ Ōtākaro, Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand.
  3. ^ Rev. John Dickson, History of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, Archive.org. ("Its native designation when they came and established themselves on its banks was Putare Kamutu. This they altered to Avon...")
  4. ^ Early name for Avon, Te Ara, New Zealand.
  5. ^ Hight, James; Straubel, C. R. (1957). A History of Canterbury : to 1854 I. Christchurch: Whitcombe and Tombs Ltd. p. 121. 
  6. ^ "Schedule 96 Alteration of place names". New Zealand Legislation. Retrieved 22 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Avon River Punting, New Zealand.
  8. ^ "Support for Avon River reserve plan". The Press. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Mathewson, Nicole (1 December 2011). "Mayor backs Avon River Park Campaign". The Press. p. A7. 
  10. ^ "Raw sewage leaking into Avon River". 3 News NZ. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°31′41″S 172°43′34″E / 43.528°S 172.726°E / -43.528; 172.726