This week in Christchurch history (22 to 28 July)

23 July 1851
Pioneer William Deans among 28 lost in the wreck of the Maria in Cook Strait. Godley had tried to deprive the Deans and Hay families of their farms because he wanted only Anglicans to own land in the new settlement. The Deans brothers had sold sheep to pay the legal costs of fighting Godley’s high handed action, and William Deans was travelling to Sydney to buy replacement stock.

23 July 1857
First dramatic presentation in Canterbury, which featured Mrs Foley in “The Loan of a Lover” and “Betsy Baker” at the Lyttelton Town Hall. (see an advertisement in the 25 July 1857 Lyttelton Times).

Papers Past clipping from Page 5 Advertisements Column 2 Lyttelton Times, 25 July 1857

Papers Past clipping from Page 5 Advertisements Column 2 Lyttelton Times, 25 July 1857

26 July 1879
Canterbury Rugby Football Association (New Zealand’s first) formed. See our page on early rugby in Christchurch.

Christchurch chronology
A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Missing Margaret

Margaret Mahy displays23 July 2012 was a big big day. Central Library Tuam opened, South Library closed. And that night, news filtered through Twitter and other sources that Margaret Mahy had died.

People were stunned and sad for her family and friends. And we felt the loss of someone with a heart as big and free as her imagination.

We paid tribute in as many ways:

This year, we are having some more Mahy funtimes at our libraries.

Experience the awesomeness of Margaret Mahy through her books and DVDs and have a delve in our collection of Mahy stuff:

  • “When I have an idea properly established I think of it all the time . . . driving, gardening, shopping . . . sometimes the story becomes so interesting to me that real life becomes rather shadowy for a while” and more Margaret in her own words
  • The Word-eater: Our very own library Margaret Mahy story with pics of Central Library on Gloucester Street


An illustration of Margaret Mahy’s The Word-Eater by Bob Kerr.

Here is an omnium gatherum of some of our favourite tributes:

RIP M.M. Much missed.

Margaret Mahy storytime at Central Library Peterborough
Margaret Mahy storytime, 2012