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.

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.

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.

31 March 1863
21 Canterbury military volunteers sail north on “Phoebe” for duty in the Waikato land wars.

1 April 1932
New Regent Street opens, built on the site of the old Colosseum.

Sign of the Takahe photoPlans for New Regent Street

1 April 1949
Sign of the Takahe opens. This was the completion of the Summit Road developments begun by Harry Ell in 1908.

5 April 1844
Frederick Tuckett and a party including surveyors, land at Lyttelton from the “Deborah” looking for a suitable site for a Scottish settlement in the South Island. They subsequently got lost in the swamps, so it is not surprising that their eventual choice was Otago, not Canterbury.

6 April 1876
Birth in Auckland of Harold Williams. He was to become one of the world’s greatest ever linguists, speaking 28 languages fluently.

6 April 1982
Premiere of “Roadshow” road safety stage show. The show was later taken on a national tour for 6 months from February 1983. It played to a total audience of over 250,000, probably the biggest of any New Zealand musical show.

Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More March events in our Christchurch chronology.

24 March 1887
First City Council offices open. This building at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street was designed by S. Hurst Seager. It was the first public building in Christchurch to break with the prevailing tradition of Gothic, Classic or Venetian style.


Our City propped up
25 March 1879
New Zealand’s first telephones in operation in City.

25 March 1930
New Zealand’s first country library service begins as Canterbury adult rural education scheme under the auspices of the W.E.A.

27 March 1848
Canterbury Association decides to buy land from the New Zealand Company.

27 March 1856
First wool cargo shipped to London from Lyttelton (via Auckland).
Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in
chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More March events in our Christchurch Chronology.

View this photo of Dr Barker

Dr Barker gave up practising medicine after the death of his wife, Emma, in 1858 and photography became his career. With the wet-plate process, developing had to be carried out almost immediately and so he designed this four-wheeled buggy which incorporated a mobile dark-room.18 March 1850

18 March 1850
Jollie completes survey and plan of Christchurch.

20 March 1873
Death of pioneer doctor and photographer Dr A.C. Barker.

21 March 1848
Canterbury Association formed in London.

22 March 1975
3000 joggers take part in the first City-to-Surf fun run.

22 March 1894
First “local option” poll fails to achieve liquor prohibition in Christchurch.

23 March 1827
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, later to be the architect of the Canterbury settlement, tried and imprisoned in England for abduction.

More March events in our Christchurch Chronology.

Roald Amundsen4 March 1977
Museum Antarctic wing opens. View our page on Antarctica and its Christchurch connections.

5 March 1863
Samuel Bealey elected third Superintendent of Canterbury.

6 March 1914
First point to point flight in Canterbury by J. W. H. Scotland from Timaru to Christchurch. In the same year, Scotland had the dubious privilege of becoming the first pilot to crash in New Zealand.

7-8 March 1964
Air exposition at airport marks opening of runway extensions (to 2400 metres) and 50th anniversary of Scotland’s Timaru to Christchurch flight.

9 March 1963
Concerts by jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong.

More March events in the Chronology.

February 24, 1881
First century in first class cricket scored by G. Watson for Canterbury.

February 25, 1908
Theatre Royal opens. This is the building which exists today, the third to bear the name.

February 25, 1978
New Brighton Mall opens.

February 26, 1931
Bowker Fountain in Victoria Square in operation.

February 26, 1938
Summit Road opens.

February 26, 1947
First ticketed airline flight from New Zealand – Lancastrian “City of London” flies from Harewood to Sydney.

February 26, 1977
New Durham Street bridge over the Avon opens.

February 27, 1964
Lyttelton road tunnel opens, New Zealand’s longest.

February 28, 1853
Provincial boundary defined by proclamation. Westland (then called West Canterbury) included as part of Canterbury.

March 1, 1851
“Isabella Hercus” arrives with settlers.

March 1, 1865
Godley Head lighthouse in operation.

March 1, 1880
School for the Deaf (now Van Asch College) opens in Sumner. Director Gerrit van Asch introduced oral teaching methods to New Zealand.

March 1, 1930
Majestic Theatre opens – the city’s first steel frame building.

March 2, 1970
Amid mounting controversy, City Council begins construction of road deviation through Hagley Park. The work was stopped by March 7 for legal reasons, and the project was eventually scrapped.

March 2, 1974
Re-built Centennial Pool opens.

A general view of Victoria Square, Christchurch

A general view of Victoria Square, Christchurch [1934]

Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More January and February events in our Christchurch chronology.

February 17, 1908
30-metre whale stranded at Okarito. The skeleton is now on display at the Canterbury Museum.

February 17, 1939
New Millers Department Store building ( the former Civic Offices) opens. Designed by G. A. J. Hart, the building contained the South Island’s first escalator.

February 18, 1982
Internationally famous writer Dame Ngaio Marsh dies at her home in Cashmere.

February 19, 1873
Anglican synod decides (by a narrow margin) not to sell the present site of ChristChurch Cathedral.

February 22, 1909
New “Press” building in operation in Cathedral Square. Designed by J.J. Collins and R.D. Harman, it was the city’s first ferro-concrete building.

February 22, 1960
New airport terminal (designed by Paul Pascoe) opens.

Photo of first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton

The first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton [ca. 1890]

Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More January and February events in our Christchurch chronology.

I am proud to unveil this stunning set of winners from our Christchurch Photo Hunt. Congratulations to winners and entrants – you’ve added to our collection of Christchurch images and have helped Reconnect Christchurch.

Overall winner: Father Christmas at 4 Square

Photo of Father Christmas at 4 Square

Diane Rolton is the overall winner and the winner of the Places category for this photo of a family with Father Christmas. Faith Sumner and children. Four Square shop on the corner of Milton and Selwyn Streets. circa 1952.


Millers Department Store, Tuam Street. 1953 Diane Rolton

Photo of Millers Department Store, Tuam Street

Taken at the time of the Queen’s visit in 1953. They show the buildings decorated to celebrate this event.


Andrea McHarg is the winner of the People category.

The violin man who regularly busked outside the ANZ bank on Colombo Street

Photo of The "violin man" who regularly busked outside the ANZ Bank on Colombo Street.

Highly commended

Dave Reynolds is the winner of the Highly Commended Prize for a series of family photos which captured the judges’ attention. Here are some of his photos.

 Photo of Watching TV after a family tea Photo of Summer day at Pines Beach

Highly commended

Julia Thomas is the winner of the Highly Commended Prize for her special study of waiting for the milkman.

This boarding house stood on the corner of Worcester and Barbadoes Streets.

Photo of 208 Worcester Street Photo of Waiting for the milkman Photo of Milk bottles and payment Photo of Plinth at 208 Worcester Street

See all images and judges’ comments on our Christchurch Photo Hunt 2013 page.


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