Nearly eight years on, the yearning for a vibrant city centre still persists, but there is hope. Hope captured in the moments of collective celebration; the intimacy between two young students; the connection between friends and neighbours as they work, live and play – all within the boundaries of an inner city reinventing itself. In fact, more than hope, there is sense of quiet wonder and anticipation captured by Thomas Herman, Elise Williams and Summer Robson in the fourth and latest instalment of The Christchurch Documentary Project: Inside the Four Avenues, 2018.
The Christchurch Documentary Project is a collaboration between Christchurch City Libraries and the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts. Internship positions are offered to photography students in their 3rd or 4th year of study with the brief to create a documentary photographic record of a Christchurch community. The work is then included in the Christchurch City Libraries Digital Heritage Collection.
To date, over 1000 images have been made of communities across our city; beginning with the Halswell Project in 2015, Edge of the East in 2016, Bishopdale in 2017 and now the central city. Collectively these projects document the lives of Christchurch residents and the changing face of our communities as the city rebuilds and evolves after the Christchurch Earthquakes.
Come and celebrate with us as the exhibition for Inside the Four Avenues, 2018 launches at Tūranga on Wednesday 21 November 5:30pm.
The exhibition is on until 23 January 2019. It is outside the TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1.
Christchurch City Libraries blog hosts a series of regular podcasts from New Zealand’s only specialist human rights radio show Speak up – Kōrerotia. This show is created by Sally Carlton.
Join Rodney Bell (internationally-renowned wheelchair dancer and founding member of Touch Compass), Lyn Cotton (Founder and Artistic Director of Jolt Dance Company) and Jo Casey (Regional Programmes Coordinator (Christchurch) at StarJam) in a beautiful and uplifting discussion on the benefits of dance and performance for people perceived as having disabilities.
Part I: Why do you do what you do?
Part II: The benefits of dance – health and wellbeing, social, identity
Part III: The benefits of performance for dancers and audience – visibility, confidence, self-worth; performance as a human right
Part IV: What would you like to see happen in NZ in terms of dance and disability?
Lee Child has just released his 23rd Jack Reacher book – Past Tense – and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. The only thing that could possibly be better, is attending ‘An Evening with Lee Child’ – but you also won’t be surprised to hear that this WORD Christchurch event is already sold out. With a drawcard like bestselling author Lee Child having a chat with local author Paul Cleave – it’s no wonder! There was much seat bouncing and skiting to anyone who would listen when I heard that I would be going to see the creator of the Jack Reacher series in the flesh. It is almost like being in the same room as the great man himself – and who wouldn’t want to be up close and personal with someone like Jack?
Lee Child is one of an elite group of authors of whose work I have read in its entirety – and eagerly anticipate his next offering. This doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, I agree; but I am actually one of those librarians who don’t read many books. Blame the alluring pull of technology, being time-poor and feeling like it is taking my work home with me. But for another tale about Jack, I will always make an exception.
With 23 books under his belt and more than 40 short story anthologies, Lee Child has been giving his imagination and typing skills a serious work out over the last 21 years. His books have been bestsellers and he’s sold well over 100 million of them all over the world. From a librarian’s point of view I can honestly say that they are rarely back in the library long enough to actually get shelved.
Now I can see how this is a wee bit like teasing you all given that the event is actually sold out – but don’t despair. You can put your name on the waitlist according to the WORD Christchurch website – so you might be in with a chance! I on the other hand will be there with bells on and will let you know what you missed from the comfort of your lounge room – so watch this space!
I have always enjoyed Oliver Jeffers’ picture books, they are clever and a joy to read aloud which is vitally important if it becomes your child’s favourite and needs to be read over and over again! The illustrations however have always been what has really attracted me. They are obviously drawn for children but there is a quirkiness and sophistication that makes them incredibly appealing to adults as well. It wasn’t until I read Oliver Jeffers : the working mind & drawing hand that I realised why his books are so wonderful as he is first and foremost an artist with a distinctive use of words and handwriting. As Bono of U2 fame (with whom Jeffers has collaborated) states “the handwriting is his thumbprint, his genetic code”.
Jeffers was born in Ireland in 1977 and describes his early life as requiring to grow a thick skin and a quick mind:
I learned to talk my way out of trouble and to charm myself into it. I learned early on that I also had an additional arrow to my quiver: I could draw well. This came in quite handy for getting out of class so I could help decorate the set for the school play. It also came in more handy when the hard men of the school I went to wanted me to draw on their schoolbags and skateboards, and thus I fell under their protection.
Thankfully Jeffers survived school and has gone on to produce wonderful children’s books and now a beautifully illustrated book of his life and painting.
Another superb illustrator is Shaun Tan. His most well-known book The Arrival was written for young adults and is a wordless story illustrating the alienation of migration and immigration. Sketches from a Nameless Land describes the inspiration and creativity behind this remarkable story.
His latest book, Tales From the Inner City is written for children, but this is no easy read, it is challenging, thoughtful, and complemented by Tan’s distinctive illustrations.
World-renowned artist Shaun Tan applies his unique imagination to a reflection on the nature of humans and animals, and our urban coexistence. From crocodile to frog, tiger to bee, this is a dark and surreal exploration of the perennial love and destruction we feel and inflict; of how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse.
On a completely different topic…I was watching Project Runway last night (a guilty pleasure) and I was interested to hear one of the judges saying that modesty is now a fashion trend. Long sleeves, high necks, limited exposure of skin could be seen as a relief for many.
I was therefore intrigued to pick up a book by a young Muslim woman Dina Torkia called Modestly. This is a book that is hard to define, part biography, (she has an Egyptian father and English mother) part beauty guide, but also a book about modesty in Muslim culture, the decision to wear the hijab, social media and the pressures of being young and different. Dina Torkia is a very interesting young woman, her fashion sense is eclectic and beautifully put together, but it is her committment to her beliefs, and her obvious enjoyment (and at times frustration) with the fashion industry that makes her story so compelling.
Students, Tim Brooks, Karen O’Donnell, Richard Lake, Carol Hooke, Mark Alexander, and Shona Osmond having a champagne breakfast at Deans Avenue-Blenheim Road roundabout.
Do you have any photographs of student life in Christchurch? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.
The Discovery Wall is a large interactive exhibition which allows several people to simultaneously explore images and stories of the history of the people and places of Christchurch. It is viewable on the ground floor of Tūranga, Central Library, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand. Images displayed on the Wall can also be found on the Discovery Wall website.
Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill has been republished in a 10th anniversary edition.
You’d expect someone who grew up inhaling Stephen King stories to emulate him. Millions of us grew up reading King and elements of his stories are part of the soundtracks of our lives.
The same can be said of Joe Hill, aka Joseph King (son of Stephen). While very much writing in his own voice, you can tell some of those stories have rubbed off on him, too.
The character of Craddock, the man haunting the Dead Man’s Suit, reminds me of the terrifying Gypsy from Thinner, or the unearthly proprietor from Needful Things. Somehow Hill read my mind and his character fits my imagined embodiment of these two haunting characters.
Judas Coyne is the epitome of a gothic rock star. Some would think of Marilyn Manson, but I can see Alice Cooper in him. His journey along the ‘night road’ is one of self-realisation, his sexploitation of female fans redeemed by his love of dogs.
Hill shares his father’s feel for music – slipping lyrics into the text of this story, just like in IT and The Body (filmed as Stand by me), as a couple of examples.
Vehicles are prominent in Hill’s stories too – this one features a Mustang and a scary old pick-up with glaring headlights. Anyone remember Christine?
Hill’s stories carry his own strong sense of humour, suspense and irony, while gripping you in the headlights of his very chilling tales.
“…acid. I had a good memory once. I was in the chess club at junior high.”
“You were? That’s a hell of a thought.”
“What? The idea that I was in the chess club?”
“I guess. It seems so…geeky.”
“Yeah. But I used severed fingers for pieces.”
I read Heart Shaped Box in four days. That’s the best praise I can ever give. Hill’s writing style wasn’t ‘easy’ – it was gripping and exciting. This book possessed me until I had found out what would happen to Judas Coyne and Georgia/Marybeth.
Let this story haunt you. And yes the title was influenced by Nirvana.
“Nirvana’s ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ is, it seems to me, a song by a man who felt trapped by his own fame, increasingly frantic to escape the prison cell of being loved.”
If you’re a Twin Peaks fan, you’ll pronounce this “fear man”, lol.
The Fireman is a good example of Hill’s versatility – it’s very different from the ghost story above.
This is an apocalypse story, along the lines of The Stand. In this book the spore, ‘dragonscale’, is the main protagonist.
Dragonscale presents as a black tattoo with highlights of fire, the victim eventually combusting, taking all that surrounds with them.
Disease was a favourite theme of one of the masters of horror, Edgar Allen Poe.
I’m not sure which is more disturbing; the spontaneous combustion, or Hill’s obsession with Mary Poppins. The character of Harper plays Mary to the Fireman’s Dick Van Dyke.
The plot of The Fireman becomes a compelling race for survival: will Harper live to give birth to her baby? Will she be terminated by the Combustion Squads, bent on cleansing the population from the scourge? Or will her husband get to her first, to make her fulfill their suicide pact?
NOS-4R2, a clever title, crosses between worlds in a classic car (this time a Silver Wraith); it’s driver, Charles Manx, a serial killer full of evil intent to abduct and corrupt children. One child, Victoria McQueen, survives, gaining supernormal powers from her encounter. Charles has never forgotten the one that got away…
It’s such a relief to know that when Stephen King passes through the door to the next world, this one is in Joe Hills’ hands.
At the 11th hour of the 11th day of November in 1918, the First World War – ‘The War to End All Wars’ – ended; this day is known as Armistice Day. The 11th of November 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of this day. 18,200 New Zealanders died and 41,300 were wounded. Let’s take this opportunity to remember the millions of people worldwide who lost their lives in the First World War, and remember how horrible this event was — in the hope that such large-scale war never happens again.
World War One was the first modern war that made use of modern advancements in technology and machinery. This led to wholesale destruction across greater Europe, Northern Africa, and areas of the Middle East that would sow the seeds for not only World War Two, but the years of conflict in various parts of the world to come. Working class people from all around the world were conscripted to fight in World War One, in what was almost certainly an invitation to go die on foreign soil for an empire. In remembering the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War, let’s remember the human cost of war, not just for the soldiers involved, but for entire communities, cities, and the generations that came after.
So at 11 a.m., on the 11th day, 11th month, let’s not glorify this tragedy, but remember the lives and generations lost to it.
Get involved with these events across Christchurch and Canterbury
At the Field of Remembrance in Cranmer Square, a field of white crosses marks the centenary of the Great War. 4389 crosses and one Star of David depict the heavy losses suffered by Canterbury families.
Britannica Online and interactive version of Encyclopædia Britannica. All branches of knowledge are covered in this resource aimed at older students and adults. You will require a library membership to access:
Remembrance Day: An Article on Remembrance Day, the British Public Holiday that has its origins in the original Armistice Day celebration in 1919.
World War 1: The Britannica online article on World War 1
Canterbury Museum has launched an online version Canterbury and World War One: Lives Lost, Lives Changed.Canterbury Museum Acting Director Jennifer Storer says this will give visitors ongoing digital access to content and stories after the physical exhibition closes on Armistice Day, 11 November.
WW100 Infographic on World War 1
This is an interesting and easy to understand infographic that aims to prevent key information about WW1 in regards to its effect on New Zealand.
Kaveh Akbar is more of a shepherd than a wolf. The internationally acclaimed Iranian-American poet not only produces amazing thought-provoking poetry, but nurtures other poets to achieve their full potential too. So it was a perfect date for us to be hosting him at Tūranga, the flagship of the future. We are all about helping our citizens to access all they need to reach for the top.
Mr Akbar is a really nice guy. Humble and quietly spoken (though this changes when he reads) Kaveh kept thanking us for coming. When reading, Kaveh is animated, moving with the lilting rhythm of his words, his voice rising with the swell of emotion and experience.
An Iranian-American, he sees his poetry as:
“the membrane between myself and the divine…a new idiom for ancient binaries.”
Binaries such as solitude and community, decay and rebirth, literature and culture.
Kaveh has been posting interviews with poets making waves on DiveDapper; a website he created as a platform for exposure, promotion and connection. It has become a community, bringing poets and enthusiasts together worldwide. The list of poets on this website is impressive! Akbar sees this as a way to “push (his gratitude) outwards.” He further demonstrated this by reading two poems by New Zealand poet Helen Heath.
Kaveh’s book of poetry Calling a Wolf a Wolf was released to much acclaim this year. In it, Kaveh addresses difficult themes from addiction to desire; his poetry refreshing in a way that feels uplifting rather than downbeat.
Akbar’s work shares a sense of lessons learned and experience shared, as opposed to a self-indulgent train wreck. In all, there is a theme of hunger: for the physical sensation of being alive. Akbar’s poems grabbed me at first taste. Alliteration, onomatopoeia and themes of life, death and longing fill his poems. Addiction is portrayed as a kind of death; “a void to fill in wellness”. The poetry came from a need to fill the gap left after he became sober: “my entire life up to that point was predicated on the pursuit of this or that narcotic experience.” All this brings to mind a Persian poet who celebrated the wine and song of life, yet without the cautionary tale: Omar Khayyam.
In the light of current politics, Kaveh asserts that the ‘utility’ of poetry ‘forces us to slow down our metabolism of language’. A useful antidote to doublespeak, perhaps. He makes it sound like a science. And in fact it is.
Although he now only speaks a few words of Farsi these days, Akbar sees feeling as a ‘universal language,’ one that we all understand. The purpose of poetry, he says, is as Homer put it – to ‘delight and instruct.’ So often, we leave out the delight, loving to lecture others on the way of things. Pre-sobriety, Akbar the poet painted himself as the hero of his works; a ‘gloriously misunderstood scumbag.’ A way of being, he says, that’s insufferable (I’ve dated guys like that).
‘So you’re the sobriquet of the School of Delight?’ quips Eric Kennedy. Sobriquet. Oh clever. Thus begins a new Golden Age in Poetry. The interview website DiveDapper came from Kaveh’s hunger for dialogue with other poets while going through recovery. It’s a way to share experience with others – ‘a vast expanse of empathetic resources.’
The internet has meant that ‘the age of coy diminishment of one’s passions is over’…it is now an age of ‘unabashed zeal.’ Eric: Zeal Land!”
Kaveh read a number of wonderful poems from Calling a Wolf a Wolf. I love the titles – so real but imaginative. He really does have a way with words:
Even with all the post-demo, gravel-strewn sections in central Christchurch today, it’s still strange to think of Gloucester Street as “paddocky”. But indeed it was, during this part of its history.
A hotel then known as The Criterion had been built in such a paddock 9 years earlier in 1863 by someone named B. Jones. Not much is known about the first proprietor of The Criterion but more is known about their successor – by July 1864 The Criterion Hotel was under the management of local hotelier John “Jack” Coker.
Coker by this time had already declared his first (of several) bankruptcies, and had started a hotel on Cathedral Square which would later become Warner’s. He cut quite the figure about town, dressing in close-fitting suits, “top boots” and carrying a hunting crop, and would be involved with several landmark hotels in Christchurch, including, naturally, Coker’s Hotel on Manchester Street. Coker’s tenure didn’t last long. By 1866 the Criterion was in the hands of a Sgt. John Edward Darby.
The Criterion would have a run of landlords through to the turn of the century, with none lasting more that a few years (Darby fell into coma after a drunken and impromptu New Year’s Eve boxing match at Coker’s Music Hall and died a few days later in January 1867, having lost The Criterion several months earlier). Another landlord (and former police officer) Robert Wallace would move on from The Criterion only to die 5 years later from injuries sustained during a wrestling match, in 1888. It seems 19th century hotel-keeping appealed to a risk-taking sort of gent.
In 1892 William Burnip, an experienced hotelier, took over The Criterion renaming it, somewhat unimaginatively, “The New Criterion”. By 1902 the state of the two-storey wooden building was such that a continuation of the license (due for renewal in June) would only be granted if building plans for a new premises were submitted in March of that year.
In early February of that year Burnip and his wife woke to find the hotel storeroom ablaze. No lives were lost but the hotel was gutted. The total insurance on the building and furniture was £1350, over $240,000 in today’s money. Whether there was a connection is anyone’s guess, but some papers in their coverage of the fire seem to have placed both sets of facts together in a pointed way that suggests the question was being asked, though not directly.
The new New Criterion rose like a phoenix from the ashes. The foundation stone for the new building was laid on 2 September 1902. The rebuilt Criterion was in stone and brick in a “Renaissance Revival” style and was built by W. H. Bowen. It was designed by Joseph Clarke Maddison, a prominent Christchurch architect who designed several hotels in the city including Warner’s Hotel, The Clarendon, and further east the Lancaster Park Hotel. One of his best known designs is the Government Buildings in Cathedral Square.
Bowen had presented Burnip with a silver trowel by way of commemoration at the laying of the foundation stone but he may have wished it were a silver spoon instead. Due to the insurance company disputing the extent of the fire damage Burnip would receive less than half the insured amount and by 1904 he was no longer the sole licensee, having taken on Messrs Fox and Samson as partners. By 1906 he had passed the splendid new Criterion on to other hands. And that’s when the real fun started.
A couple by the name of Green took on the New Criterion and would go on to scandalise Christchurch.
Jessie Green was the daughter of Tuapeka hotelkeeper Daniel Bannatyne and had earlier run the Douglas Hotel in Dunedin with her first husband Frank Guinness who passed away in 1895. With second husband John George Green she took over the running of the New Criterion and by the following year their conduct had become a scandal that was reported up and down the country.
The New Zealand International Exhibition of 1906-1907 took place in Hagley Park and brought a great many visitors to the city (2 million people visited the Exhibition, though the population of New Zealand was only 1 million at the time). Perhaps it was this influx of visitors, some of whom may have been more inclined to “cut loose” while away from home, that encouraged Mrs Green in her “questionable” management of the hotel bar and staff.
Rumours had been circulating for months about the “going ons” at the hotel and in September 1907 the Christchurch Licensing Committee heard evidence from a succession of barmaids – evidence that prompted the New Zealand Truth to speculate in its headline “LOW DOWN BROTHEL OR PUBLIC HOUSE“. The New Zealand Herald’s coverage was positively low-key by comparison preferring to distill the story to its main, eye-catching components with the simple declaration, “GIRLS AND CHAMPAGNE“.
Mrs Green, it would seem, employed more barmaids than was usual (seven or eight at a time!) and encouraged them to be “shouted” champagne by the customers. This of course lead to better takings, but also in some circumstances, the female staff were getting drunk and “retiring” to their rooms where they would also receive “visitors”. What went on behind closed doors nobody was indelicate enough to say outright but there was a strong suggestion of “indecency”.
As always the New Zealand Truth is a treasure trove of descriptive language about the whole affair, saying of the landlady,
…it would appear that Mrs Green, wife of the licensee, John George Green, is very partial to customers who plank down the boodle and shout fizz.
And of her husband, who seemed not to have much involvement in the running of the hotel, that he must either have been blind or “a consummate ass who shouldn’t have charge of a fruit-barrow”.
Unsurprisingly the Licensing Committee did not renew the Greens’ license and six months later they moved to Tauranga. In addition, all the barmaids (whether there was any suggestion they had participated in the “champagne shouting” or not) were fired, Blenheim native Henry Macartney became the proprietor, and the hotel was re-named The Dominion. When Macartney too moved on in 1908, the Marlborough Express was at pains to point out that “under his control the Dominion Hotel ranked as one of the best conducted in the city”, such was the need to distance an upstanding publican from the Criterion scandal.
Still, a hotel is a hotel and The Dominion had its share of dramas too, such as fires and burglaries. And in 1930 some alterations were made to the building by Francis Willis (architect).
In 1980 it was refurbished and reopened as The Coachman Inn, the name possibly a nod to Bruce & Coes, a passenger and parcel service, who in the 1860s had their stables and booking office next door. Later the upstairs bar would become a separate establishment operating as The Loft and specialising in Irish music (in the 1990s changing hands and becoming The Finbar), while downstairs the restaurant would be known as Excalibur’s Theatre Restaurant featuring players like local theatre legend Elizabeth Moody.
In the mid-1990s the Coachman was threatened with demolition but would eventually be acquired by Christchurch City Council due to the building’s heritage values, and would later become a protected building.
At the time of the earthquakes, the Coachman Inn operated as backpacker accommodation and was home, on its ground floor, to Fuji Japanese Restaurant.
Following the Boxing Day 2010 aftershock, the building was red-stickered, partly because a section of the parapet on the Britten building (105 Worcester St) had collapsed causing damage. The remaining piece of it was also a fall hazard. Part of the parapet of the Coachman had also collapsed on top of the roof of a smaller building at 146 Gloucester Street where The Press had its circulation and marketing teams. The Coachman was close to reopening when the 22 February 2011 quake damaged it beyond repair. It was demolished in July 2011.