Kia ora to Aranui Library

Mayor Bob Parker holds the girl who cut the ribbonThe new Aranui Library was officially opened by Mayor Bob Parker on Saturday 8 September 2012 at 11am with about 100 Aranui residents there to celebrate.

The mayor invited local children to help him cut the ribbon including ‘our newest politician’ – a young girl who cornered the Mayor as he arrived, and asked to cut the ribbon with him.

Several speakers spoke of the Aranui community and the benefits of a new library including James Robinson for Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Runanga, and Sandy Kaa, Kuamatua of ACTIS.

A waiata and blessing of the building took place and then the doors opened to the public. People loved the chance to take a look at their newest asset, and to browse the sparkling collection of new material.

The library has 500 square metres of floor space, ten free computers and a collection of 14,000 books as well as magazines, CDs and DVDs. Six new digital cameras and six iPods are available.

Baby times and Story times will be available for babies, kids and their whanau.

The library provides spaces for meetings and is set to become a centrepiece of the Aranui community.

Come along and visit – Aranui Library is located on 109 Aldershot Street, next to Wainoni Park.
Bob Parker and Sandy KaaAranui Library
Carolyn Robertson, Manager of the Libraries and Information Unit
The ribbon is cut

The Odeon

This morning I almost managed to get to work without taking a photo. But not quite. I spotted this. The Odeon’s roof was dangling above Manchester and Tuam Streets.

The Odeon's roofThe Odeon's roof
The Odeon's roof
The Odeon's roof

The Odeon has an interesting history. It was originally the Tuam Street public hall, designed in the early 1880s by T.S. Lambert (d. 1915) and opened on 20 July 1883. It seated 2,200 including a gallery seating 600. It became the Opera House in July 1894.

Benjamin Fuller (1875-1952) moved in on 19 February 1903, presenting vaudeville. John Fuller and Sons bought the theatre in 1904. In 1927 E.S. Luttrell (1872-1932) reshaped the interior and the New Opera House opened on 26 December. There were 19 dressing rooms.

It became a movie theatre in 1930 and was renamed the St James, managed by Kerridge-Odeon. The stage was retained and the building was used occasionally for live entertainment. On 29 September 1960 it became the Odeon. It had been extensively altered and seated 720. 600 stalls made way for a coffee lounge. Fullers finally sold the building to Kerridge-Odeon in November 1978.

The Odeon
The Odeon, July 2012

Christchurch Assembly of God bought the building in 1985 and re-opened it in October 1985 as their place of worship. In November 2003 it was sold to a group of Christchurch business people. In late 2006 the theatre was bought by Dave Henderson, a local property developer, for $1.335m. First mortgagee Allied Nationwide Finance ordered its sale in late 2009.

Read more about the Odeon on the wonderful Canterbury Film Society website.

Public hall (later St James Theatre), Tuam Street, Christchurch
[ca. 1885]
View of Tuam Street, Christchurch, to the east [ca. 1884]

Christchurch – this week in history (10 – 16 September)

11 September 1889
Cave and Maori artifacts discovered at Moncks Spur.

11 September 1928
Kingsford-Smith and his crew (Ulm, Litchfield and McWilliams) land at Wigram in “Southern Cross” after the first trans-Tasman flight. A crowd of 30,000, alerted by all-night radio broadcasts, had gathered at the airfield.

12 September 1910
G.W. Skellerup founds Para Rubber Company, New Zealand’s first retail rubber goods business at 175 Manchester Street. Christchurch soon became the centre of the rubber industry in New Zealand.

14 September 1976
Inter-island ferry service from Lyttelton ends with the last sailing of the “Rangatira”.

14 September 1985
Canterbury loses Ranfurly Shield to Auckland after a 3 year reign. Final score 28-23.

16 September 1864
Opening of second Town Hall, built of stone next to the first hall in High Street.

This photo shows the old town halls, High Street, Christchurch [between 1864 and 1882]


More September events in our Christchurch chronology.