Christchurch and Canterbury


Friday 25 April 2014 is ANZAC Day. Christchurch is currently celebrating Anzac Day with a Dawn Service in Cranmer Square (where a temporary cenotaph is erected) and a Citizens Service at the ChristChurch Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square. The details for each service are available on the Christchurch City Council website. For the locations and times of other commemorations around Christchurch details can be found on the RSA website.

Each year many wreaths and bouquets from the Dawn Service end up at the statue of Sgt Henry James Nicholas V.C. M.M., northwest of the Bridge of Remembrance on Cambridge Terrace.

Wreaths by statue of Sergeant Henry Nicholas

Sergeant Henry NicholasHenry Nicholas was the first soldier from the Canterbury Regiment to be awarded the Victoria Cross. He died in action on 23October 1918 aged 26. He was awarded the Military Medal posthumously for his bravery during the fight for the bridgeheads at the River Ecaillon near the village of Beaudignies on 23 October 1918, 12 days before the New Zealanders’ capture of the town of Le Quesnoy.

All of our libraries are closed on ANZAC Day.

Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio Marsh photographed during the 1940s : “Ngaio in the spotlight” [194-]

Many people think of Ngaio Marsh as the crime writer. But how many realise how much Ngaio Marsh enriched the cultural life of Christchurch with her devotion to theatre production and mentoring young people with dramatic aspirations.

People like Ngaio make a huge contribution to their communities as their influence lingers on in the people they have encouraged. It seems appropriate that her name lived on in a theatre – the Ngaio Marsh Theatre at the University of Canterbury (sadly closed due to earthquake damage), as well as in the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel.

For more:

Image of The Supply Stores

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We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.

21 April 1971
Court Theatre’s first production, “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie”.

22 April 1869
Visit of the Duke of Edinburgh (New Zealand’s first royal visitor).

23-24 April 1966
Visit by Queen Mother.

23 April 1895
Regular Lyttelton – Wellington Cook Strait ferry service inaugurated by “Penguin”.

25 April 1864
Canterbury Horticultural and Acclimatisation Society formed. This group introduced many animals, birds and fish to Canterbury, and helped to establish the Government Gardens, which eventually became the Botanic Gardens.

Photo: The Territorials Cross The Bridge Of Remembrance On The Way To King Edward Barracks (25 Apr. 1926).

The Territorials Cross The Bridge Of Remembrance On The Way To King Edward Barracks (25 Apr. 1926). Christchurch City Libraries, File Reference CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0052 .

25 April 1977
Bridge of Remembrance becomes a pedestrian precinct.

25 April 1981
New $16 million postal centre in Hereford Street in operation. A determined fight by civic groups had failed to prevent its siting next to the old Public Library.

26 April 1852
Christ’s College moves from Lyttelton to Christchurch.

More April events in our Christchurch chronology.

newspaper vendor

A newspaper vendor in Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1927] Christchurch City Libraries, File Reference CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0039

Image of Chas. Ray, Proprietor, ACME Cycle & Plating Works

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We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.

16 April 1851
First sale of Christchurch town sections.

16 April 1974
Flooding throughout city after record rainfall – 124mm (4.89 inches) in 24 hours.

Photo of Miss Cowlishaw playing golf [Apr. 1908]

Miss Cowlishaw competing in the Christchurch Golf Club’s Easter Tournament held on the Shirley Links [Apr. 1908]

17 April 1880
First championship cycle meeting, Hagley Park.

18 April 1864
First Ferrymead (swing) bridge opens.

19 April 1873
Christchurch Golf Club formed. The first course was in Hagley Park.

19 April 1988
Proposal for 152 metre tower in Victoria Square abandoned after much public debate.

20 April 1938
First Inter-Dominion trotting in New Zealand held at Addington Raceway. Originally scheduled for Easter, the contest was postponed by flooding throughout the city. Further flooding after the first races delayed the finals until May 4.

More April events in our Christchurch chronology.

A shoe-shine man reads a newspaper while waiting in Cathedral Square for customers, Christchurch

A shoe-shine man reads a newspaper while waiting in Cathedral Square for customers, Christchurch Christchurch City Libraries, File Reference CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0061

Photo of duck shooters in 1902

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We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.

Mr George Bernard Shaw. Crown Studios Ltd :Negatives and prints. Ref: 1/2-195145-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23159238

Mr George Bernard Shaw. Crown Studios Ltd :Negatives and prints. Ref: 1/2-195145-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23159238

80 years ago, one of the greats was visiting New Zealand, with crowds hanging on his every Shavian word.

George Bernard Shaw visited New Zealand in 1934 for a month, from 15 March to 14 April. He spoke at a civic reception in Christchurch on 10 April 1934.  His speeches and activities were closely tracked by the media, and a book of press reports published called What I said in New Zealand: The Newspaper Utterances of Mr. George Bernard Shaw in New Zealand, March 15th to April 15th, 1934.

Here are some quotes from “What I said in New Zealand” with a Christchurch perspective:

G.B. Shaw and Dr Thacker

Dr. H. T. J. Thacker, of Christchurch, sent him a reply-paid telegram asking for 12 words about his diet. Mr. Shaw’s reply was: “Dr. Thacker, Christchurch. Vegetarian 50 years. Tee­total always. Milk, butter, eggs. Shaw.” (p. 12 )

A Moa Bone Problem

There was a pause here and an impressive voice from the audience asked what its owner, D. H. T. J. Thacker, evidently con­sidered a question of great importance. “Do you know, sir, that we have in the museum here the largest moa skeleton in the world?” Mr. Shaw (looking momentarily a little surprised): Well, no, I didn’t. I’m afraid. I don’t even know what a moa is. Dr. Thacker: It is the largest wingless bird in New Zealand, sir. (p.18)

Intellectual Christchurch

Amazing in his vitality and health Mr. George Bernard Shaw entertained half a dozen reporters and twice as many listeners and spectators at an impromptu levee in the lounge of the United Service Hotel for more an hour after his arrival on Saturday afternoon. “Well, what do you want me to talk about?” he asked as he approached the group of reporters. “What’s it to be today?”  He began with a remark typically Shavian. “Someone has sent in some questions to me —was it ‘The Press?’—yes, ‘The Press’— which are about the most intelligent I’ve had since I came to New Zealand.” He turned to the reporter of “The Press.” “But, my dear fellow, it would take me 150 years to answer them all. I don’t expect to have another 150 years, you know.” The important question of why Mr. Shaw came to Christchurch was simply settled, lie threw back his head and laughed. Christchurch claims to be the most intel­lectual city in New Zealand, and I was most disappointed when the itinerary planned for me did not include it,” he said.

New Zealand Brunelleschi and the Catholic Cathedral

When Mr. Shaw saw that Catholic Cathedral he suddenly thought of Brunelle­schi, and he went in and looked at it. He saw that they had already produced a New Zealand Brunelleschi. They had the classical style with all its merits and nevertheless, the arrangement was very original. It was not a mere copy as he regretted to say the Church of England Cathedral was. There was nothing in that. It was absolutely academic. The other cathedral was originally and beautifully treated.

“But why have I dragged in this?” Mr.Shaw asked. “Not because I was bribed by the architect, because I do not know his name, but because I suddenly saw it without anybody telling me to go in and look at it—it is not in the guide books—and it pro­duced that impression on me. Then I began to think: They have here in New Zealand a man who is capable of doing that work, but what an awful time he must be having! Just imagine! Suppose yourself born here in New Zealand, a Brunelleschi, and that your business is to produce cathedrals of that kind. New Zealand might make a great effort and give you one commission and one cathedral to build. That is pretty hard lines. That man wants to be building cathedrals all his life. There should be cathedrals like that in every town in New Zealand. It should be an attraction just as the church or cathedral is a great attrac­tion in almost all the towns of Europe, the first things you go to see … (p.23)

Communistic New Zealand

Thanks to your communistic institutions you are to some extent leading world civilisation to-day. You are second only to Russia. (p.27)

Holiday reading: Mein Kampf and 22 other books

In the library of the Rangitane, which is now at Wellington, and in which Mr. George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Shaw travelled to New Zealand, there are 23 books given to the ship by Mr. Shaw after he had read them during the voyage. (p. 27)

The titles included My Struggle by Adolf Hitler.

More about George Bernard Shaw

Bye the bye, some of you may have noticed Shaw’s Major Barbara features in season 3 of tv show Girls (Adam is playing a role in a Broadway production of it).

George Bernard Shaw and Sir Joseph James Kinsey at Kinsey's home `Warrimoo' on Papanui Road, Christchurch. Ref: 1/2-020830. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22899021

George Bernard Shaw and Sir Joseph James Kinsey at Kinsey’s home `Warrimoo’ on Papanui Road, Christchurch. Ref: 1/2-020830. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22899021

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