Topic: Redcliffs - Christchurch Suburb

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An eastern suburb of Christchurch - former names have included Watsonville, Poverty Flat, Fisherman’s Flat and Clifton.

Redcliffs / Te Rae Kura, an eastern suburb of Christchurch, has been home to many people for up to 1100 years. Large groups of Māori settled here during the 14th century. A kāika was established here by the early Waitaha people and then, later, by the Ngāti Māmoe tribe. Ngāi Tahu displaced Ngāti Māmoe in the 17th century and were still living in the area when the first Europeans began to arrive.

After European settlement the area became known as Watsonville after Alfred Claydon Watson (1849-1882), an Englishman, who owned 150 acres of land on the hill side next to Sumner (Main) Road. The name appears to have been coined by friends of Watson's and is first mentioned in the Star newspaper in 1889.  It was then renamed Clifton in 1896, and Redcliffs in 1898 - it was believed by residents that they needed to change the name of the suburb in order to obtain a post office as there was already a Clifton in the colony.

Redcliffs, named for the colour of the cliffs, is an exact translation of the Maori name Raekura - rae : cliff or headland; and kura : red.

The Redcliffs area, especially the cliffs, were extensively damaged  following the Christchurch earthquakes in February and June 2011.



Summer Town Board. Papers Past: Star , Issue 6567, 8 June 1889, Page 3

Watsonville, Sumner. Papers Past: New Zealand Tablet, Volume XVII, Issue 51, 11 April 1890, Page 19

Local and General. Papers Past: Star , Issue 6142, 31 March 1898, Page 3


Text for this entry derived from Christchurch City Libraries - Tī Kōuka Whenua and  Christchurch street and place names

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Redcliffs - Christchurch Suburb

City:Redcliffs, Christchurch
Previous name :Watsonville