cover of Easter Things to Make and DoIt’s a weird old Easter this year. It’s late,  and jammed up snugly against school holidays and ANZAC weekend. There’s long weekends aplenty and time to get those last gardeny things sorted or maybe take a break out of the city before the winter truly sets in.

Easter chocolate excesses have been in the shops since January and Hot Cross Buns seem to be available year round.  I always plonk my curmudgeon hat firmly on my head when it comes to these yummy fruity, spicy buns. How  can you sell buns filled with chocolate without a single currant in sight as a Hot Cross Bun? Humpf!!

If you want to learn about the origins of Easter, when the libraries will be open or other information about this religious and increasingly secular celebration, then look no further than the Christchurch City Library Easter pages .

What to do, what to do?

At the Transitional Cathedral, known more affectionately as The Cardboard Cathedral, there is an art exhibit  “Station’s of the Cross” by John Badcock . There will be traditional church services throughout the town, and more farmers and craft markets than you can shake a foil covered stick at.cover of Awesome Autumn

For the egg lovers, there is the Whittakers Big Egg Hunt. New Zealand Artists have created 100 giant eggs and scattered them around New Zealand, some of them are hidden in our fair city. While not a traditionally Easter activity, Zombie: Red Zone  Gaming will be an adrenalin pumper for the fitter among us. A great way to work of that chocolate perhaps?

Open in time for Easter and the school holidays, is the Washington Way Skate Park, revamped and awesome, it is now one of the biggest and most challenging parks in the country.

I’m hoping the weather will be kind and allow me to get some gardening done, so I can hibernate over the up coming winter, and look at it, tidy, from the inside.

Whatever you plan to do this Easter, I hope you can relax, enjoy some time with family and friends and maybe hunt for a few eggs or scuff through the leaves in Hagley Park.

What are your plans for your days off? Got any great events you’d like to share?




newspaper vendor

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

Photo of road works

Road works in Hercules Street, Shirley.
Photo by Valerie Livingstone.

Some people might think that I love road works with all the road cones, big trucks and stop’n’go men.

I do, sort of. It is a sign that things are being repaired. There is a great website to help you get around the city and suburbs. With a bit of planning, you should be able to get to where you want to go without too much difficulty.

What I don’t like is being detoured down streets I have never been down and sent off in a direction I don’t want to travel in.  When I find I’m speeding down the road at a top speed of 20 km/h, I try not to stress over the fact that I’m going to be late. Sometimes, no matter what road I go down, I get stuck in a slow line of traffic, going the wrong way.

My solution is talking books. I get to hear quite a few on my way to work. At the moment, it’s Three Men in a Boat, but I have listened to Agatha Christie and Torchwood.

When you are delayed by road works, what do you listen to?

P.S. Not enough road works in your life? CTV have turned our road cones into an entertaining short film.

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


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


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.

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

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.

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.

7 April 1859
Canterbury Rifles organised – the first military force in the Province. It was formed as a result of the Taranaki land wars.

Photo of Lyttelton and harbour [ca. 1888]

Lyttelton and harbour [ca. 1888] Coxhead, F. A. (Frank Arnold), b. 1851

8 April 1883
First shipment of frozen “Canterbury lamb” leaves Lyttelton for the United Kingdom on the “British King”.

10-12 April 1981
Visit by Prince of Wales.

10 April 1882
Joubert and Twopenny’s New Zealand International Exhibition opens in South Hagley Park. The exhibition, complete with an educated pig and an armless lady, drew a total attendance of over 250,000 until it closed on July 15.

10 April 1965
Airport becomes New Zealand’s first jet airport with the inauguration of the first regular jet flights from Christchurch to Australia.

11 April 1968
“Wahine” storm (the city’s worst recorded storm) causes one death and widespread wind and flood damage.

12 April 1840
“Sarah and Elizabeth” lands Herriot, McGillivray, Ellis, Shaw (and wife) and McKinnon (with his wife and child) who try to establish a farm at Riccarton. They are the first European settlers on the plains.

12 April 1850
John Robert Godley, first leader of the Canterbury Association settlers, arrives with his wife in Lyttelton on “Lady Nugent”. He quarrels with Thomas, and departs for Wellington, not returning until November 28. (It appears that he had no intention of settling permanently in the new colony.)

Photo of statue of John  Robert Godley, Cathedral Square [ca. 1930]

The statue of John Robert Godley, Cathedral Square, pictured in the Cathedral grounds [ca. 1930]

More April events in our Christchurch chronology.

A sandwich-board man advertising dancing shoes in Cathedral Square, Christchurch

A sandwich-board man advertising dancing shoes in Cathedral Square, ChristchurchChristchurch City Libraries, File Reference CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0041

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