Scottish Place Names
- Christchurch, New Zealand

For comparability with other cities around the world, Greater Christchurch has been defined as the entire urban area extending from Kaiapoi and The Pines Beach in the north to Governor's Bay in the south, and from the coastal suburbs in the east to Yaldhurst, Prebbleton and Templeton in the west. Of the names of the 110 suburbs in the Christchurch area that have been identified to date, 29 (26.4%) can be found in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names. Of course, some of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but at least 14 of them (12.7%) appear to have a definite Scottish connection.

Picture of Christchurch, New Zealand, via Wikipedia.

Official suburbs and other localities with names that occur only in Scotland and not elsewhere in the British Isles, and/or are definitely or most probably of Scottish origin are:

Some of the following localities may also prove on further investigation to have a link with Scotland. However, these names are also associated with other parts of the British Isles:

A final category of suburban names comprises places that can be found in Scotland but which, in Christchurch's case, definitely or most probably have no connection with Scotland.

In line with its image as an essentially "English" city, the toponymy of Christchurch is dominated by names of English origin (of the major cities outside the British Isles only Boston, Massachusetts and Adelaide in South Australia appear to be even more strongly "English" in this regard). Scottish influences on place names in Christchurch are nevertheless fairly marked, as this article demonstrates. Of the five cities in New Zealand with a population of 100,000 or more, Christchurch appears to rank third (after Dunedin and Hamilton) in terms of the proportion of its suburbs that have Scottish-related names. Admittedly, a high proportion of the Scottish names of suburbs are attributed to a single source - the Deans brothers - but this in no way diminishes the contribution made by the Scots to the development of New Zealand's third largest city. This contribution is evident, for instance, in the large number of parks and reserves that have Scottish names:


© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, March 2008

If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is

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