25 August 1920
First flight over Cook Strait (Christchurch to Trentham) by Captain Euan Dickson in a Canterbury Aviation Company plane.

26 August 1939
Official opening of City Council’s pensioner housing project in Barnett Avenue, Sydenham; the first local body pensioner housing in New Zealand.

28 August 1890
“Great maritime strike” (the first of New Zealand’s 3 major waterfront strikes) spreads to Lyttelton.

31 August 1959
Princess Margaret Hospital opens.

Cashmere (later Princess Margaret) Hospital, shown under construction
[1956] CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0099, Christchurch City Libraries
The land for the hospital had been bought from the Cracroft Wilson estate by the North Canterbury Hospital Board in the 1930s. Construction began in May 1952 and the hospital was opened 31 Aug. 1959 by the Governor-General, the Viscount Cobham (1909-1977) and officially named The Princess Margaret Hospital. At one stage it was assumed that it would become Christchurch’s main hospital but it was too far from the town centre.

31 August 1974
Death of Prime Minister Norman Kirk, M.P. for Sydenham. He had earlier been M.P. for Lyttelton, and Mayor of Kaiapoi.
Search our catalogue for Norman Kirk.
View the DigitalNZ set The life and death of Norman Kirk.

View image of Norman Kirk's coffin

Alongside the coffin of the late Prime Minister Norman Kirk at Parliament House, Wellington. Negatives of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/4-021782-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22870322

More August events in the Chronology.

Cover of French Akaroa.19 August 1840
French settlers land at Akaroa.

19 August 1859
Chamber of Commerce established in Lyttelton.

22 August 1910
Ilam homestead (on the site of the present university staff club) destroyed by fire.

22 August 1925
Radio Broadcasting Company of N.Z. incorporated in Christchurch – the country’s first public radio company. The company became the major force in early radio, eventually owning and operating a chain of YA stations throughout the country.

Photo of 3YA Christchurch Station

3YA Christchurch Station of the Radio Broadcasting Company of New Zealand [1927]
CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0057, Christchurch City Libraries
It had steel towers 154 feet high, aerial 170 feet long, a 500-watt ouput, and operated on a wave length of 405 metres.

24 August 1857
Evans Pass road over the Port Hills opens.

More August events in the Chronology.

11 August 1923
Christchurch Radio Society begins regular radio transmission with station 3AC.

13 August 1974
Kurashiki (Japan), becomes a sister city.

15 August 1872
Novelist Anthony Trollope visits. Search DigitalNZ for information on his trip.

15 August 1945
V.J. (Victory over Japan) day celebrations.

Photo of VJ Day celebrations

CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02312

Some of the crowd who celebrated VJ Day (14 August 1945) shown at the corner of Strowan and Normans Roads, Bryndwr
[Aug. 1945]
Some people dressed in fancy dress to help create a carnival atmosphere.Second from the left is Jean Parr (nee Lee), third from the left is Nancy O’Dowd (nee Baird)

Anti-tour poster

The first test between the Springboks and the All Blacks took place in Christchurch at Lancaster Park on Saturday, 15 August 1981.

More photos of VJ Day in Christchurch.

15 August 1981
Massive demonstrations in Christchurch against rugby test between All Blacks and Springboks. See our collection of posters.

16 August 1868
Tsunami (“tidal wave”) in Lyttelton Harbour. Part of the harbour bottom was laid bare, then a wave swept in, damaging the “Novelty”.
Read Bank Peninsula Impact 1868 Willem de Lange and Eileen McSaveney. ‘Tsunamis – New Zealand’s tsunami history’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 9-Jul-13

16 August 1890
First inter-provincial soccer match held in Christchurch. Canterbury beat Wellington 2-0.

17 August 1903
City abattoir opens at Sockburn.

More August events in the Chronology.

4 August 1878
Severe snowstorm over the South Island.

4 August 1914

First World War declared. Check out The Star front page for August 5 1914 on Papers Past. During the evening, The Press reported “a large number of youths, many of them members of the Territorial forces, combined in a patriotic demonstration.”

4 August 1923
Railway to the West Coast opens. The much delayed opening of the Otira tunnel on June 18, 1918, had prevented earlier completion of the line.

The Godley Statue, Cathedral Square, Christchurch [192-?]

The Godley statue, Cathedral Square, Christchurch [192-?] CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0014

6 August 1867
Unveiling of the Godley statue in Cathedral Square New Zealand’s first public statue. However, the statue’s inscription acclaiming him ”founder of Canterbury“ is possibly over generous. Wakefield should at least share the title.

7 August 1982
Opening of City Mall, a major new pedestrian amenity created by the closure of parts of Cashel and High Streets. The project had first been mooted in 1967.

8 August 1945
More flooding in City, worst at Shirley, Radley and Sumner.

8 August 1989
Christchurch Central MP and Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Palmer appointed as Prime Minister after resignation of David Lange. See some photos from his career on DigitalNZ.

9 August 1840
Captain Langlois in the “Compte de Paris” arrives in Pigeon Bay with 63 French settlers.

10 August 1840
Captain Owen Stanley in HMS Britomart dashes to Akaroa and raises the British flag to proclaim sovereignty over the South Island. Read our digitised copy of Mission of the Britomart at Akaroa.

10 August 1932
Statue of Captain James Cook unveiled in Victoria Square.

More August events in the Chronology.

29 July 1953
Aviation pioneer Richard W. Pearse dies in Christchurch. Pearse made one of the world’s first powered flights on or about 31 March 1902 in South Canterbury. He moved to Christchurch in 1921 and worked on his astonishing “convertiplane” over many years.
30 July 1976
7 Canterbury men in gold medal winning hockey team at the Montreal Olympics. See our page on Canterbury Olympians.

31 July 1856
By Royal Charter, Christchurch becomes New Zealand’s first city. Christchurch became New Zealand’s first city in 1856 under the terms of a royal charter. This was because it was the ‘seat’, or base, for a bishop. The Reverend Henry John Chitty Harper was consecrated, or made a bishop, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and arrived with his family in Lyttelton on 23 December 1856.

More July and August events in our Christchurch chronology.

23 July 1851
Pioneer William Deans among 28 lost in the wreck of the Maria in Cook Strait. Godley had tried to deprive the Deans and Hay families of their farms because he wanted only Anglicans to own land in the new settlement. The Deans brothers had sold sheep to pay the legal costs of fighting Godley’s high handed action, and William Deans was travelling to Sydney to buy replacement stock.

23 July 1857
First dramatic presentation in Canterbury, which featured Mrs Foley in “The Loan of a Lover” and “Betsy Baker” at the Lyttelton Town Hall. (see an advertisement in the 25 July 1857 Lyttelton Times).

Papers Past clipping from Page 5 Advertisements Column 2 Lyttelton Times, 25 July 1857

Papers Past clipping from Page 5 Advertisements Column 2 Lyttelton Times, 25 July 1857

26 July 1879
Canterbury Rugby Football Association (New Zealand’s first) formed. See our page on early rugby in Christchurch.

More July events in our Christchurch chronology.

17 July 1964
Opening of the Government Life Building in Cathedral Square. It was the city’s first “high rise glass box”. The building’s rooftop clock and temperature readings became a familiar part of the Square.


19 July 1988
Jock Orr, nicknamed “The Birdman” after befriending birds in Cathedral Square, dies in Christchurch.

20 July 1851
First church in Christchurch opened – later dedicated as St Michael and All Angels in 1859.

More July events in our Christchurch chronology.


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