Environment

Access to natural environment

Access to natural environments can buffer stress [4], and visits to public conservation areas can improve mental health and wellbeing [5].This indicator is based on the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey’s ‘access to the natural environment’ question, that broadly defines the natural environment as “rivers, lakes, beaches, wildlife, areas, parks, and walking tracks” [25].

This indicator presents the proportion of those 18 years and over satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment.

The figure shows that more than eighty percent of greater Christchurch residents expressed satisfaction with their ease of access to the natural environment in 2017, 2018 and 2019 (80.8%, 80.1%, and 84.1%, respectively).

The figure shows a slight shift in the proportion of respondents, satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment, by Territorial Authority, between 2017 and 2019. In 2018, a statistically significantly higher proportion of respondents from Waimakariri District were satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment compared with Christchurch City residents. However, in 2019, the proportions of respondents, satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment, by Territorial Authority have converged and there are no statistically significant differences between the Territorial Authorities (Christchurch City, 84.1%; Selwyn District, 81.9%; and Waimakariri District 86.4%).

The figure shows a shift in the proportions of European, Māori, and Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents, who reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment, across greater Christchurch from 2017 to 2019. In 2017, a statistically significantly lower proportion of Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents were satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment, compared with both European and Māori respondents.

The 2019 result highlights substantial and statistically significant improvement in Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents’ satisfaction levels (64% satisfied or very satisfied 2017; 79.3% 2019). The proportions for the Pacific/Asian/Indian, European, and Māori groups are all statistically similar in 2019.

The figure shows that a majority of respondents, across all age groups reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment, in greater Christchurch, from 2017 to 2019. The current result indicates that the youngest age group and the oldest age group are both less satisfied with their access to the natural environment than the middle age groups (80.8% for the 18–24 years group and 74.0% for the 75+ years group, compared with 87.0% for both the 35–49 and 50–64 years groups). The difference between the oldest age group (least satisfied) and the middle age groups (most satisfied) is statistically significant.

 

The figure shows that 78 percent or more of female and male respondents indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment in greater Christchurch in 2017, 2018, and 2019 (females 83.2% and males 85.2% in 2019). There are no statistically significant differences by gender at any time-point. The increase in the proportion of male respondents indicating they were satisfied or very satisfied between 2018 and 2019 is statistically significant.

The figure shows some statistically significant differences between income groups in the proportion of respondents who indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment, from 2017 to 2019. There is a clear pattern of increasing satisfaction with increasing income. In 2019, 91.5 percent of respondents in the $100,000+ annual household income group were satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment compared with 72.5 percent of respondents in the <$30,000 income group. The difference between these two groups was statistically significant at all three time-points.

The figure shows a substantial and statistically significant difference in the proportion of respondents with and without a long- term health condition or disability, who indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment (in 2019, 69.8% of those with a long-term health condition or disability were satisfied or very satisfied; compared to 87.6% of those without). The difference between the two groups remains close to 20 percentage points (19 percentage points, 2017; 18.4 percentage points, 2018; and 17.8 percentage points, 2019).

Data Sources

Source: Canterbury District Health Board.
Survey/data set: Canterbury Wellbeing Survey to 2019. Access publicly available data from the Community and Public Health (Canterbury DHB) website www.cph.co.nz/your-health/wellbeing-survey/
Source data frequency: Annually.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 18/11/2019