Seaside suburb at the eastern end of the Port Hills. There was a village there from the earliest years of European settlement. Until the road tunnel of 1964, the main road between Christchurch and Lyttelton passed through Sumner. Linked by tram to the city from 1888, Sumner became a popular resort for city folk. Cave Rock, an unusual volcanic lava deposit on the foreshore, has delighted many generations of Christchurch children. Car access became easier after 1937, when a road alongside the tram causeway across McCormacks Bay was opened.

Meaning of place name
Sumner Head was named by Captain Joseph Thomas, the first surveyor in Canterbury, in honour of Dr John Bird Sumner, archbishop of Canterbury and a moving spirit in the affairs of the Canterbury Association.