Having spent most of my Christchurch life living east of the Square and close to the Avon River, I’m pretty passionate about the delights of those riverside suburbs like Richmond, Avonside, Dallington and out to New Brighton. The river has always been a source of beauty, fun, exercise and general place defining for my family. So I was pretty chuffed to see the folks at the Avon-Otakaro Network are organising a Spring River festival. I’d encourage people all over Christchurch to get in behind this. Take a trip across town and get involved in the programme.
Yes the roads are shocking (just go slowly) and you’ll see some pretty depressing sights, but the folks over the East side need your support. Check out local shops and spend some money there and visit three of our coolest libraries – Parklands, Aranui and New Brighton. You can still walk and cycle along the river in many places, the beach is still the beach and the river, the Estuary and Travis Wetland still teem with birdlife. There is also The Breeze Walking Festival from 29 September to 7 October which offers 22 walks for all fitness levels.
Eastern Christchurch and the river has always attracted interesting characters, like Professor Bickerton, and has been a happy hunting ground for local historians. Our own Richard Greenaway has explored the eastern suburbs in depth. A good example is his Requiem for a watering hole: The Bower Hotel. Another fascinating source of local history is Tim Baker from Aranui and you can’t go past Bruce Ansley’s Gods and little fishes for capturing the flavour of New Brighton.