Christchurch – this week in history (30 June to 6 July)

1 July 1862
New Zealand’s first telegraph in operation between Christchurch and Lyttelton.

The Post and Telegraph Office in Norwich Quay, Lyttelton [ca. 1885] The Office was built in 1876. In the background are the offices of the New Zealand Shipping Company and the shop of R. Forbes, ship chandlers.  CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0009
The Post and Telegraph Office in Norwich Quay, Lyttelton [ca. 1885] The Office was built in 1876. In the background are the offices of the New Zealand Shipping Company and the shop of R. Forbes, ship chandlers. CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0009
1 July 1865
Lyttelton Harbour breakwaters begun.

1 July 1935
Evening papers “Star” and “Sun” merge to become the “Star Sun”, ending a 6 year newspaper war, the longest and most bitter in New Zealand’s history. The “peace” agreement between the 3 companies concerned also saw the demise of the “Christchurch Times” (once the “Lyttelton Times”), the oldest daily paper in the country.

4 July 1977
Hundreds evacuated as serious flooding affects City.

6 July 1887
Heavy floods. Three young men drown in the Avon River as a result of a boating mishap.

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

More June and July events in our Christchurch chronology.

Freight scow, Lyttelton : Picturing Canterbury

Cars strapped to deck of Talisman. Christchurch City Libraries, CCL-Arch978-1-120

And I’m still trying to clear the clutter…

Cover of Inside storiesWell, I think I chose completely the wrong time to de-clutter the house. Mr K is working on a DIY bathroom re-do which means that the house is currently strewn with boxes of things that would live in the bathroom, but can’t, as well as a plethora of tools and plumbing supplies. Once he’s finished though, I reckon the bathroom will definitely be “magazine worthy” – at least until I clutter it up!

Needless to say, I haven’t made an awful lot of progress on the clutter front, but I’m working on forming a couple of good habits that I think will help. For example, I am trying to take my shoes off and put them away as soon as I come home, rather than kicking them off when I sit down for the evening, which meant that virtually every pair of shoes I owned regularly migrated to my spot on the couch.

I’ve made some progress in my sewing room, and I’ve decided that the best thing to do in there is to finish all my UFOs (no, I don’t mean flying saucers, I mean “Un-Finished Objects”) so I’ve made myself a goal not to start any new projects till I’ve finished all the things I’ve already got started.  Or at the very least, to finish more than I start.  Now I’m wondering if things count as “started” if I’ve already bought the fabric? What if I’ve already got it planned, but not bought anything yet? And of course I had to make an exception for the Young Lad’s pirate costume for book day at preschool (he went as Cut-throat Jake from the Captain Pugwash books, and he looked fantastic!). But I have finished some curtains that have been hanging around un-hemmed for longer than I care to mention, so at least that’s progress.

If you want to join me on the clutter crusade, here is a quick review of some of the books I’ve read:

The accidental Organiser: When I first picked up this book, I was a bit un-enthused about it, I mean, it’s got no pictures to look at and keep my interested. But I actually enjoyed reading it.  The best tip for me was:

If you need or love it then keep it. If you think someone else expects you to need or love it, get rid of it.

I also really liked Wendy Davie’s de-cluttering playlist. What a great idea to put on some boogie music and wash that clutter right out of your hair!

I used her tips to help me defragment my sewing room. I can now get in the door without tripping over something, and I can see my work table again! And I found a couple of pairs of trousers for the Young Lad that I’d totally forgotten about – I’d put them in there so I could take the hems up…well they fit him now, so that saves me a job!

I think this is a great book to use if you have a spare room that you need to clear a mountain of junk from.

Cover of What's a disorganized person to doWhat’s A Disorganized Person to Do? has lots of pretty pictures and will suit you if you like lists, since it is really a list of 300-odd organising ideas. Some of the ideas are really great, some seemed rather obvious, and others just left me scratching my head. After reading Stacey Platt’s “kitchen drawer theory” I’ve decided that I’m not so much lazy as a reverse-kleptomaniac – I don’t steal things without realising I’m doing it – I’m forever putting things down without noticing. I really think my brain is just wired that way.

Living Normally made me think that my house is a lot more “normal” than the ones in this book (!) and that if they can get their houses in a book, then maybe my house is “magazine worthy” after all!

Organizing for Dummies looked quite promising, but I really didn’t find anything useful. It’s really a very basic DIY book with a couple of tips on organising thrown in. Check it out if you think you’d like to know how to make a bedside table out of a rubbish bin (I won’t be making one, myself!).

Cover of Banish Clutter foreverBanish Clutter Forever: Sheila Chandra “had me at hello” by asking if I aspired to a home like the picture-perfect abodes in magazines.  I like her theory that things need to be organised by function rather than type, and then I realised that I actually already do that, for the most part. The thing I will take with me from this book is that

Your house won’t stay tidy (however beautiful your storage boxes) until you make the habit of ‘completion’ automatic.

In other words, if I want my house to stay clutter free, I need to learn to put things back where they are needed IMMEDIATELY. I think most of the clutter is stuff that I started and didn’t finish, whether it is the mail (did I deal with those bills and file them? No, I just left them on the end of the bench), the laundry (did I put away that folded laundry? No, it’s still sitting in a pile on the arm of the couch), or a craft project (I know I won’t have a chance to work on that quilt again for weeks, did I leave all the bits spread on my work table? Yes. Along with the bits of half finished toys, and new blouses, and dresses, and mending, and the left over bits from Christmas gifts I made…). Yup, I just need to learn to finish what I start, including the tidying up at the end (Mr K has been telling me this for years “tidy as you go!”)

My best piece of advice: pick ONE book to get ideas, and then get down and DO something about your clutter!!

As for my house, well, our special-order bathroom vanity has just been finished, so all Mr K has to do now is put the cabinet handles on, fit the sink top, and plumb in the taps. Then the bathroom will be all done! Then I’ll be able to put everything back in the bathroom, and really get stuck in to the de-cluttering… Oh, I guess that means I’ve got work to do… No more excuses, gotta get down and DO something!

Get ready for Matariki – 28 Pipiri (June)

Matariki – the Māori New Year – is on Saturday 28th June. There is a fab range of events in the next few days to celebrate.

Tonight (Wednesday 25 June) at 6.15pm A Tane me Ngā Whetu
Matariki storytimes at Upper Riccarton Library. Bring along your whānau to listen to stories about Matariki, learn a waiata, and have fun. Dress code: PJs and a blanket.

Matariki seminar: The sharing of Rongōa. A session on traditional Māori healing with a focus on Te Taiao (the environment). Presented by Joseph Hullen. Linwood Library at Eastgate, Thursday 26 June at 6pm.

And on Matariki itself – Saturday 28 June – it’s time for the Whanau Fun Day at Rehua Marae. It goes from 10am to 3.30pm. Our librarians will be telling stories at 11am, there will be market and kai stalls all day.

There will also be:

  • Korero/ Talks on Natural Resources and Planting
  • Wahakura – Traditional Sleeping Baskets for Pēpi – 10.15am
  • Native Planting – 1.00pm
  • Rongoa Garden – 1.40pm
  • Kapa Haka: Ngā Manu a Tane, Heaton Intermediate and Te Kotahitanga

Our libraries are celebrating Matariki with community crafts and displays. Here are some photos from around our ‘branches’.
Kete cabinet at Parklands Library Matariki display at South Library Matariki leaf rubbing at Hornby Library

CHAMPIONS! New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2014

Parents, caregivers, aunties, uncles, nanas, grandads, kids  … we are all looking for great books to read, and have read to us. And the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults brings together a bunch of brilliant books.

Read the article Vasanti Unka’s The Boring Book wins the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year for a rundown of the awards ceremony on Monday 23 June.

The full list of winners of the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is:

Cover of The Boring Book Cover of The Beginner's guide to hunting and fishing Dunger Joy Cowley (Winner) Cover of Mortal fire Cover of A necklace of souls Cover of The Three Bears Cover of Bugs

New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of Best Picture Book category: Prizes: $7,500 for the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and $7,500 for Best Picture Book The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Group (NZ), Puffin)

Best Non-Fiction: Prize $7,500: The Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing in New Zealand by Paul Adamson (Random House New Zealand)

Junior Fiction: Prize $7,500: Dunger by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)

Best Young Adult Fiction: Prize $7,500: Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (Gecko Press)

Best First Book: Prize $2,000: A Necklace of Souls by R L Stedman (Harper Collins Publishers (NZ), HarperVoyager)

Children’s Choice: Prize $2,000: The Three Bears…Sort Of by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley (Scholastic New Zealand)

Honour award: Prize $500: Bugs by Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)

Māori Language award: Prize $1,000 (announced on 8 April) Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page (Tania&Martin)


Our own wonderful librarian Zac Harding was a judge, along with Ant Sang and Barbara Else.

Picture books: picks from our latest newsletter

Some picks from our Picture books newsletter for June:

Cover of Gravity Cover of The Mermaid and the shoe Cover of Oi Frog Cover of Following Papa's song Cover of The rules of summer Cover of Found

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight from your inbox.

Have you read any of these books? If so, we’d love your feedback!

Christchurch – this week in history (23 to 29 June)

23 June 1854
Pioneer John Deans dies at Riccarton. The preservation of Deans Bush was one of his dying wishes.

23 June 1863
First cab stand in City, on the corner of Colombo and High Streets.

24 June 1981
First Metro Refuse transfer station (Sockburn) in operation.

25 June 1934
Death of Harry Ell. The uncompleted Summit Road and Sign of the Takahe projects were taken over by his son.

27 June 1846
Canterbury’s first armed robbery – 3 men hold up and ransack the Greenwood brothers’ farm at Purau.

27 June 1904
Yaldhurst School elects New Zealand’s first all-woman school committee.

27 June 1964
Large crowds for visit of Beatles pop group. View a DigitalNZ set of images of the Beatles in NZ.

Margaret Mahy display. Flickr: CCL-2012-07-24
Margaret Mahy display. Flickr: CCL-2012-07-24

28 June  1869
Velocipede (“boneshaker”) bicycle (probably New Zealand’s first) tried out on City streets by its maker, coachbuilder Henry Wagstaff.

28 June 1983
Author Margaret Mahy awarded Britain’s prestigious Carnegie Medal for her children’s book, “The Haunting”.

29 June 1953
Aviation pioneer Richard W. Pearse dies in Christchurch. Pearse made one of the world’s first powered flights on or about March 31, 1902 in South Canterbury. He moved to Christchurch in 1921, and worked on his astonishing “convertiplane” over many years.

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

More June events in our Christchurch chronology.

60 years since the Parker-Hulme murder and 20 years since Heavenly Creatures

Woman’s body found. Police called to Victoria Park. Murder charge laid.

The body of a middle-aged woman was found in a hollow in Victoria Park, below the tearooms about 4.00 pm yesterday. An arrest has been made and a charge of murder will be preferred in the Magistrate’s Court this morning. The woman was Honora Mary Parker, aged 45, of 31 Gloucester Street. Her body was found by the caretaker at Victoria Park. He reported the discovery to the police. (Woman’s body found, Press, 23 June 1954, p.10.)

Pauline Parker, 16, and Juliet Hulme, 15, were found guilty of killing Pauline’s mother Honora Mary Parker with a brick in a sock. The murder took place on 22 June 1954. The jury rejected a plea by the defence that the girls were not guilty on the grounds of insanity.

Main Characters in trial

This year it is 20 years since Heavenly Creatures – the movie about the murder – was released. Lots of Christchurch people have a connection to the movie, mine is that my sister sung in the choir you hear at the start.

Our website has digitised content from Christchurch newspapers at the time of the trial and articles written since.

View a DigitalNZ set The Parker – Hulme Murder and Heavenly Creatures.

Honorah Mary Parker
Honorah Mary Parker: Archives NZ [CH171 – CH250/1955]

It was 50 years ago today: The Beatles in New Zealand

The Beatles on the balcony of the Hotel St George, Wellington. Hill, Morris James, 1929-2002 :Negatives of Wellington, and national events and personalities. Ref: 1/4-071852-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
The Beatles on the balcony of the Hotel St George, Wellington. Hill, Morris James, 1929-2002 :Negatives of Wellington, and national events and personalities. Ref: 1/4-071852-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

The Beatles arrived in Wellington on 21 June 1964. They played the Majestic Theatre in Christchurch on 27 June 1964. My Mum went to the Auckland concert, didn’t hear her thing. Her friend Pat did climb the fire escape and get into a Beatle’s room though …

Vicki Anderson’s article Fifty years since Beatles’ Christchurch tour in The Press is a great look at what it was like. Majestic Theatre usher and cashier Elizabeth Renton (then known as Beth Barry) said:

Giggling, Renton recalls a group of girls who were precariously perched on a rail upstairs at the venue.”I stuck a pin into someone’s bottom to move them but they were so busy watching the Beatles that they didn’t feel a thing.”

See the DigitalNZ set The Beatles for more images of the tour.

Cover of Eight days a weekRead more

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Searching for Aroha – an early New Zealand aviator

On 20 June 1928  the Canterbury Aero Club was formed. Our timeline mentions “The first pilot trained by the club was a woman, Aroha Clifford. She may have been New Zealand’s first woman pilot.”

I had never heard of Aroha Clifford so I went looking. Papers Past reveals an astonishing story as it unfolds in articles from the late 1920s and early 1930s – her keen pursuit of flight, and her father’s desire to keep her on the ground.

The NZ Truth article Eve takes to the air reports “… to Miss Aroha Clifford, daughter of Mr Walter Clifford, and niece of Sir George, goes the honor of being the first-aero, club trained woman to pilot a ‘plane solo”.

The New Zealand Film Archive has newsreel footage of Aroha and mentions “Clifford had plans to fly from England to Australia and bought an Avro Avian in England for that very purpose. However, because of her father’s opposition she was forced to abandon this ambition”.

The book Silver Wings: New Zealand women in aviation features more information on Aroha.

The tragic coda to the story is it seems Aroha died in childbirth, and her son died in a farming accident at the age of two. Haere ra Aroha.

Aroha Clifford
Aroha Clifford. Ref: EP-0628-1/2-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Search Digital NZ for more on Aroha Clifford.