Babies on parade 1909

Mothers and babies gathered outside St. Helen's Hospital, Sydenham
Mothers and babies gathered outside St. Helen's Hospital, Sydenham

And you thought we were in the midst of a baby boom! This is my new favourite historical photo from our collection – the drama of the mums’ hats, the ultra froufrou baby bonnets. Imagine what it was like being the photographer – must have been quite something to see (and hear, and smell).

And if your family has lived in Christchurch a while, the chance of one of your ancestors being in the photo must be quite high.

Explore more of our historical images

The heir of successful books

Hold on to your hats, this ball is starting to roll! Award-winning fiction writer Helen Lowe has just come out with a new book, The Heir of Night. In an amazing feat for any New Zealand writer, Helen’s first book, Thornspell was published in the U.S. and proceeded to garner multiple awards and praise. The Heir of Night – the first in a series of four – might just follow suit.

No superhero powers were needed here to acquire such accolades. Just gripping writing and engrossing tales. Helen was scheduled to attend the “Hot off the Press” session at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival last month.

When the festival was cancelled (no need to remind everyone why!) I contacted Helen for an in lieu festival interview. I asked her, among other things: If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be? Interestingly, she did not wish Coverfor flight or immortality or even laser vision. With childhood superheroes such as Robin Hood, King Arthur and Queen Elizabeth I, Helen’s longing for superhero powers came from the Old Testament’s young King Solomon. In Helen’s words, she: 

…was always struck by the Old Testament story where the young King Solomon asks for the “gift of an understanding heart.” I have always taken “understanding” in that context to be a blend of discernment and compassion, which as superpowers go, is difficult to surpass.

The “gift of an understanding heart?” What a thoughtful response and useful gift. Difficult to surpass, indeed. For more from Helen Lowe, including how Christchurch has influenced her writing, read my full interview.

If you could be a superhero, what would your ideal superpowers be?