Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath: Welcome to Christchurch, NZ's new party town

Christchurchians don’t blab on about property prices — a huge plus.
Christchurch definitely has problems but the locals are friendly and the food and bars are amazing. Photo / Christchurch City Libraries
Christchurch definitely has problems but the locals are friendly and the food and bars are amazing. Photo / Christchurch City Libraries

Christchurch is fun. Obviously the city has had its well documented problems.

Just last week Charlotte Carter wrote: "The roads are like an unpredictable old fairground ride; footpaths non-existent in many places and the CBD remains a desolate, frustrating reminder of the ordeal we have been through as a city."

That maybe true. There are definitely a lot of rooted, half-finished and abandoned bits about. But no city is perfect and despite (or because) of everything Christchurch is a great place to party.

Been down here for a week and the Christianians have been friendly, the food and bars amazing and no one has mentioned the quake in days. So impressed with my visit I've made a list of Christchurch positives.

Christchurch has a very flash airport. A pleasure to arrive and depart from. The place is beautifully designed inside and out. Plus there's a massive 1 billion dollar NASA research plane sitting on the tarmac. Admittedly that's left now but still great airport.

Christchurch has delicious water. You can't keep your face off the faucets. I'm been slamming the stuff. Best most refreshing H2O in the country.

Christchurch people are fun. Perhaps it's the perspective that comes from living through difficult times. Or maybe I have randomly run into the only happy people in town.

Either way I've heard very little whinging and seen a hell of a lot of laughing since I got here.

No one has punched me in the head all week. Back in the `90s skinhead attacks were common.

I remember a particularly painful unprovoked smack to the face I received at a fish and chip shop round the corner from the old Warners Hotel in Cathedral Square. This trip has been all smiles. In fact, I've been here for a week now and I haven't even been called a "f****** Aucklander' yet.

Christchurch is just 90 minutes from Mt Hutt. No other New Zealand city has a ski field so close. You can check the weather in the morning then fang on over if it's good.

The other day I saw Kieran Reid, Brendon McCullum and Kev from Tradestaff. Huge names.

Plus it's a great field. The Summit Six chairlift will take you to some of the longest widest runs in the country. In a one an a million freak accident it broke down last week leaving people hanging for an hour or so.

The good news is you missed that and it will never happen again. Great tracks, excellent facilities. The most convenient skiing in the country.

Christchurch is missing a central party hub but that is kind of cool. You can blast around town from place to place. On Friday we started at the Carlton Papanui Rd, then nipped over to the Chinwag on Victoria St, then JDV, then off to The Cuban, St Asaph St, then back to the Carlton then over to Smash Palace on High Street, then back to The Cuban.

Great bars, great food, great people, great times. Plus Christchurch taxis are cheapish and the local drivers are way less racist than they used to be. Win, win.

Christchurch is home to the best buffet breakfast in the country - Bloody Mary's at the Rydges Latimer. Tasty, varied and well thought out. There's even a bottle of vodka on hand so you can make your own loaded morning drinks. Admittedly a member of the 2015 Pakistan cricket team claimed the place was haunted. I'm not so sure. In fact I haven't seen a ghost in here all week. Not one.

However I did see some big names. Christchurch is full of super stars. The other day I saw Kieran Reid, Brendon McCullum and Kev from Tradestaff. Huge names.

Everyone knows Christchurch has been through a difficult time. John Campbell went on about it for years. But despite everything and despite what some people say the place can be really fun.

It's got all the bars, big names, restaurants, skiing, refreshing drinks and vodka breakfasts you could ask for and there's way less ghosts and racists than you might expect.

Best of all, unlike Aucklanders, Christchurchians don't spend 99% of their time blabbing on about property prices.

- NZ Herald

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Matt Heath is a radio host on Radio Hauraki and Herald columnist

Matt Heath is a breakfast radio host on Radio Hauraki, and a television producer, writer and director. He made a name for himself with Back of The Y Masterpiece Television, Balls of Steel UK and the feature film The Devil Dared Me To. Matt was guitarist and singer for the band Deja Voodoo which released two top twenty albums. He is currently a producer on Best Bits, a cricket commentator for The Alternative Commentary Collective, and the director of Vinewood Motion Graphics. Matt is a father of two living in Auckland City.

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