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 eight-in-ten greater Christchurch residents (80.8%) expressed satisfaction with their ease of access to the natural environment in 2017, and this result was unchanged in 2018 (80.1%).

The figure shows a slight shift in the proportions of respondents, satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment, by Territorial Authority, between 2017 and 2018. In 2018, a higher proportion of respondents from Waimakariri District were satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment compared with Christchurch City residents (Waimakariri District 86.2% satisfied or very satisfied, compared with Christchurch City 79.6%). The difference between Waimakariri District and Christchurch City is statistically significant for 2018 but the difference between Waimakariri and Selwyn districts is not significant (86.2% and 77.3% respectively).

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 2018. 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. Despite some improvement in Pacific/Asian/Indian respondents’ satisfaction levels (64% satisfied or very satisfied 2017; 72.4% 2018) this group remains statistically significantly less satisfied than European respondents in 2018. The proportion of Māori respondents satisfied or very satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment is statistically similar to that for European respondents, at both time-points.

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 in 2017 and 2018.

In 2018, there were more pronounced differences between age groups, which indicated that the youngest age group was less satisfied with their access to the natural environment compared to the older age groups (e.g., 71.5% for the 18–24 years group and 84.2% for the 35–49 years group). The difference between the youngest age group (18–24 years) and the next three older age groups (25–34 years, 35–49 years, and 50–64 years) was statistically significant.

The figure shows that eight-out-of-ten 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 and 2018 (females, 81.4% and males 78.6% in 2018; no statistically significant differences between groups or years).

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, in 2017 and 2018. There is a general pattern of increasing satisfaction with increasing income. In 2018, 89 percent of respondents in the $100,000+ annual household income group were satisfied with their ease of access to the natural environment compared with 67.3 percent of respondents in the <$30,000 income group. The difference between these two groups was statistically significant at both 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. The result is unchanged between 2017 and 2018 (in 2018, 65.7% with a long-term health condition or disability were satisfied or very satisfied; compared to 84.1% of those without). The difference between the two groups remains in the region of 20 percentage points (19 percentage points 2017; 18.4 percentage points, 2018).

Data Sources

Source: Canterbury District Health Board.
Survey/data set: Canterbury Wellbeing Survey, 2018. 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: 21/11/2018