Christchurch kids remember

book coverNgaio and Ray, even the names suggest a difference. These two completely different people have written fascinating accounts of growing up in Christchurch.

First Ngaio Marsh. Is anyone called Ngaio these days?  Queen of crime, she grew up in Christchurch, attended St Margaret’s College and lived here for a significant part of her life. As well as her international fame as a mystery writer she contributed to local cultural life with her passionate involvement in theatre and her support and advocacy for young acting talent.

Her biography, Black beech and honeydew, evokes an Edwardian childhood amongst the well off families of Fendalton and Cashmere. Gardens were large, ponies and tennis courts available, the Avon River a playground.

Ray Columbus on the other hand is a child of the 1940s, growing up in a large  family in working class Woolston. His book, The Modfather, describes  after school jobs and selling bottles to raise money for  a treat like going to the pictures ,   wearing homemade clothes and walking everywhere.

book coverI’ve read and enjoyed both these books. Somehow when I think of Ngaio I think of hills and trees and green, when I think of Ray I think of the other Christchurch, hot and flat and hard edged with concrete.

Can anyone suggest any other autobiographies of growing up in Christchurch? Childhood memories of a place are special.

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