Showtime on the Peninsula

Summer time is show time on Banks Peninsula. Every year in early January Duvauchelle opens its gate to rural life when it hosts the Banks Peninsula A & P Show.  It might be a small show, but it’s a goodie.  You can enter your pet terrier in the lunchtime races, enjoy watching show jumping or wife carrying races and potter round the trade displays.  Indulge childhood memories with a hot dog or candy floss.   If it’s gossip you need, pay a visit to the beer tent while the puppet shows or clowns entertain the kids.

Local rivalry is at its best inside the produce shed.   There folks battle it out for the best cabbage,  carnation or plum jam, the perfect photograph or  decorated cake.  Over 300 different classes cater for most interests.  You can all enter – how about a bottle of your own homebrew (yes the judges will taste it!) or is painting your thing, show it off in the art section.    

Under 17 years of age?    Perhaps you’re a budding photographer, or training for master chef, or the old sand saucer appeals.  Have a go and enter your treasures before 10 am on the day.

Click on this link to see all the classes available and deadlines for entries which usually close in early December.

Sheep shearing is more exciting to watch than you would imagine – you’ll be lucky to find a spare seat later in the day when the competition is hotting up.

Gumboot throwing is the focus after all the competitions are over, a time when most folks are found in the beer tent.  Hot food is available as the night wears on and the band keeps the place lively.   There’s even a local taxi to get you safely to your motel room in Akaroa, 10 minutes away.

Can you Handel it? Hallelujah!

CoverIt’s that time of year again. You know. Christmas. It’s right around the corner! Being from the northern hemisphere, it’s hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit in Christchurch. BBQs and jandals and Christmas just don’t seem to mesh! But throw a little of Handel’s Messiah into the mix and, voila, Christmas spirit aplenty!

It’s ironic then, that Messiah was orginally written for Easter. The libretto (drawn from the Old and New Testament) devotes more time to the Passion and resurrection of Christ than to the Christmas narrative. Since Handel’s death it’s become customary to perform Messiah during Advent rather than Lent or Easter.

So if you  need a little Messiah for a Christmas pick-me-up, the library has numerous copies by a wide range of choirs from around the world. Every year I like to borrow a few versions to listen to and pick my favorite. (Not all tenor soloists are created equal!) So come in and borrow a copy or two. And then if you are so inclined, go and hear it live. I know a couple of choirs perform Messiah each year in Christchurch.

Life on the ocean blue

Last weekend we took our sailing dingy to Charteris Bay and launched her off the boat ramp. She’s a modest wee boat; 13 ft long, tomato red with a tri-colour sail. I would never say this to my significant other, but she’s cute.

There wasn’t much wind initially but once we got past the headland the easterly whipped in and sent us rocketing along. It’s a great way to spend the day. No carbon emissions, no engine noise, just the wind and a sail and the cry of the gulls.

There are plenty of places in Christchurch to set sail, sailing clubs and background reading available if you need to brush up on your skills.

One thing you can rely on about Christchurch weather is its unreliability so before we set sail, we always check the forecast!  And never forget lifejackets, sunblock and something light to read in case we’re becalmed.

Rowing anyone?

Henley, eat your heat out! Our colonial forefathers certainly knew how to stage a successful regatta if these early photos are anything to go by. A tribute to those English roots no doubt.  Grandeur and a sense of occasion are very much in evidence here. I mean – check out that clubhouse!

From our heritage photograph collection

No utilitarian concrete boathouses here. And if you thought the crowds at the recent Rowing World Championships at Karapiro were impressive, the folk lining the river in this 1893 photograph seem to be enjoying the spectacle just as much.

From our heritage photograph collection

The photographs show the home for this popular sport to have been near the intersection of Fitzgerald Avenue and Kilmore Street – not the iconic Kerr’s Reach we are all familiar with. In fact the move to the Reach didn’t take place until 1959/60. Recent earthquake damage and overcrowding have put the long-term future of Kerr’s Reach in doubt as a home for rowing in Christchurch. So armchair rowers – where would you site a new rowing venue in Christchurch?

If you would like to know more about the history of rowing and its part in early Canterbury life check out Running rowing by Eddie Martin.

Golden wedding lovelies

What a lovely photograph! I’ve been looking through our collection of heritage photos from the Selwyn District and  wedding and wedding anniversary photographs featured regularly. Most were splendiferous lineups of hats and suits but I loved this closeup of  Mr and Mrs George Foster – their character filled faces – and their modest best.

Interesting historical note that they came to New Zealand on the Edwin Fox.
Mr and Mrs George Foster

Some other weddings and wedding anniversary groups captured in all their glory – Prestidge, Gillanders/Stark, Paterson/Anderson, Fussell, Kneeshaw.

The collection features photographs of the Selwyn district from the Weekly press and the Canterbury times between the 1860s and the 1920s. They have been produced as a joint project between Selwyn District Council and Christchurch City Libraries. They were photographed from the newspapers by Stephen Wright.

Simply the best books of 2010

Every year since 2000, we have been compiling the favourite reads of the year – from staff, customers and those great ‘best of’ lists that we spot.

Our Best reads of 2010 list has just been launched, and we’ll keep adding to it as we spot lists (The New York Times 100 notable books of 2010 has just been published) and we want YOU to have your say too via our short survey.

What’s on the list already? Here’s a wee tasty sampler to whet your appetite:
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Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park – Saturday 27 November

Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park has become one of the highlights of the Christchurch year. A time to gather family together and head to Hagley Park for an evening of Christmas songs, dance and performance. This high energy show will get even the most staunch blokes toe tapping and yodelling along to ‘Rocking around the Christmas Tree’.

This year the concert is particularly exciting for our family. My eldest daughter is performing as part of the Christmas Crew. This group of 14 Christchurch children is selected to dance and sing along with Si and Gary and company. They’ve been rehearsing hard and it’s all coming together brilliantly.  See you at the Park on Saturday. It’s going to be a great evening!

Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park 2010 fact sheet

  •  The first Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park concert was held in Auckland in 1994 and there have been 34 concerts since  (16 in Auckland, 4 in Wellington, 14 in Christchurch)  
  • This year’s Christchurch will be the 35th performance  
  • Over 500 talented performers audition in Christchurch and Auckland each year and the event provides a once-in-a-lifetime performing opportunity for this year’s most exciting new talent. 
  • Over 300 of this year’s most talented singers, dancers, musicians, television and radio personalities will take part in the concerts 
  • Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park takes almost a whole year to produce – as soon as this year’s concert is over, the organisers will get started on next year’s event. 
  • Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park features one of New Zealand’s biggest Christmas trees on display.  It is 22 metres high, complete with jumbo-sized decorations, and requires a very large crane to put it together. 
  • The Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park stage is now twice as big as the original stage and is flanked by two giant super screens which offer concert-goers a 180 degree view of the show. 
  • The new stage and set takes more than seven days to assemble – the crew works through the night to dismantle it after the Christchurch concert; and within 8 hours it’s on its way to Auckland. 
  • Over 125 people are involved in the production Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park – from sound and lighting to stage construction and management plus over 300 more who get involved on the day including police, road marshals, parking attendants, first aid workers and security guards. 
  • Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park has raised over $2,000,000 for youth charities. This year our charity partner is Surf Life Saving who will recruit nearly 200 volunteers to help out at the concerts by selling light sticks, Santa hats, chocolate bars and collecting donations.

Go to our page on Christmas in Christchurch and Canterbury for more local Christmas stuff.

Where library and art meet…

Upper Riccarton Library continues to be a hub for art lovers…

Following on from the successful exhibition held in October by local Korean painting group Chichi Geureemteo, the library is now privileged to be hosting two more art exhibitions.

The white wall nearest to Main South Road features a  3- Dimensional Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition by Rev. Canon Gon Loong, QSM. This is a fascinating collection of works blending Chinese and Western sensibilities with the aim to educate the viewer.  The 3-dimensional aspect has nothing to do with the current cinematographical 3-D craze – the 3 dimensions refer to art, wisdom and eternity, to inspire, in the artist’s words, a “deeper understanding of the living wisdom of a harmonious world”.

12TU Art Works In the Young Adult area visitors can admire instead the fantastic works of students  from 12TU and 12WR,  the Special Needs classes at Riccarton High School.  Their pieces include amazing paintings and sculptures, some of which have also been exhibited in the COCA gallery as part of the IHC/Telecom Regional Art competition. The senior class, 12WR, focused first on a sea theme, and then on masks; whereas the junior class, 12TU, used mixed-media and recycled materials to make mobiles, sunflowers and placemats, as well Jackson Pollock-inspired pieces.

In addition to these exhibitions, works by Riccarton High School Year 10 Art students are scattered throughout the library. Year 10 Art Pieces

The 3-Dimensional Chinese Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition finishes on Sunday 28th November,  while the exhibition by 12TU and 12WR continues to the end of the school year – so why not take a break from the Christmas shopping, and  come visit?

In the interim, here’s a taster from the Pulse Te Auaha Flickr photostream. My personal favourite are the iridescent seahorses – what about yours?

Pioneers at Akaroa- Image of the Week

Image of the Week has taken a break with all of the earthquake madness and other such adventures. But we’re back highlighting more great images from our collection.

Pioneers at Akaroa

“Pioneers at Akaroa” 1886. Photograph by A. E. Preece, 1863-1946.

Do you have photos of Christchurch? We love donations.

Also contact us if you have any further information on any of the images. Want to see more? You can browse our collection.

That explains my tummy rolls! – adventures with Ancestry.com

CoverSo I am trying to lose weight – and failing. After a conversation with my grandmother and a wander through the numerous family history resources at Christchurch City Libraries I discovered my problem –  a genetic weakness for all things sweet.  

According to Ancestry.com at Central Library, my great-great-great grandparents William and Charlotte Bailey were confectioners, owning a bakery and confectionery in Penzance, Cornwall  in England.  This explains why I like to lick the bowl, the stirring spoon… any mixture that may have fallen on the floor… Suffice to say one should not deny one’s own history.

So pass the cupcake love, and don’t spare the icing!!!!