The city of Christchurch is much more my type of place - Smaller, more Bohemian, and friendlier (not that Auckland was in any way unfriendly mind you.) There is an idyllic river winding through downtown with banks lined by some impressive trees. Obviously I am not the first person to think about such places as Stratford upon Avon, or Cambridge, as a lot of the local place names evoke such British towns and cities.
There are plenty of good coffee shops (including the obvious international brands - Ugh!) but much to my surprise, both Christchurch and Auckland seem to have quite a few surprisingly libertine businesses. It's not like walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but I do get the feeling that Kiwis are generally pretty relaxed and don't take themselves too seriously.
[Note: Internet access in the hotels has been among the most expensive I have found anywhere but the public library in the city centre has free wi-fi. However, I can't access Kiwibiker.co.nz as it's blocked due to "offensive material" - Yet Advrider is apparently ok