Armageddon – No, not the end of the world…

“Woo-hoo,” I said to my friend “Armageddon’s happening 11th and 12th March, yayee!”

Inexplicably she looked worried, “But I’m not ready for the end of the world yet!”

Ooh, we are obviously talking about two different events – the one I want to go to is the Armageddon Entertainment Expo which is happening in Christchurch at the Horncastle Arena, costs $15 to get in (or $6 for children aged 5-12 years), and involves lots of fun, not the one talked about in the Book of Revelations…

The Guest list shows some great people will be there:

Cover of The Scions of Shannara Cover of The Fellowship of the Ring Cover of A song of Ice and fire Cover of Snowglobe 7, Doctor Who

Or try the following –

Enjoy!

Te Rerenga Kōrero – Kāore i tua atu i a koe!

Kia ora. To encourage the use of Te Reo Māori Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori – The Māori Language Commission publish weekly Māori phrases that can be used to support or cheer someone on.

 Kāore i tua atu i a koe!
There’s no one better than you!

akina te reo rugby

Hagley Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Woodland bridge in Christchurch Botanic Gardens : on the right is the Bandsmens Memorial rotunda. [196-?] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0071
Woodland bridge in Christchurch Botanic Gardens : on the right is the Bandsmens Memorial rotunda. [196-?] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0071
If you like trees then Hagley Park probably rates as one of your favourite “Go-To” places, just as it is mine. With 164 hectares to wonder around in, and 5000 trees in Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens there is always something new to see and enjoy, regardless of the weather, and it’s never crowded despite the 1 million plus annual visitors. On a sunny afternoon it can be very restful just to sit and watch the people go past ….

One of the best sights in Canterbury is when the blossom trees on Harper Avenue burst into flower – roll on Spring! The daffodils! Then there’s the Heritage Rose Garden (which I finally found near the hospital) as well as the main rose garden which is a joy to nose and eye alike.  And don’t forget the conservatories – they’ve been repaired and re-opened for a while now, so if you haven’t ventured into Cuningham House (or the other four Houses) post-quake, then it really is time to take a wonder through.

Cuningham House
Cuningham House, Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Sunday 27 July 2014. File Reference: 2014-07-27-IMG_0811

With KidsFest and the school holidays upon us, the Botanic Gardens are running a Planet Gnome promotion – the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre will give you a passport and all you need to know to join in.

Botanic D’Lights on 3-7 August for the second year running – I didn’t go last year, and kicked myself for it, because it sounded amazing, and so much fun.  The event listing describes it as:

this five-night winter spectacle engages NZ’s leading lighting artists, designers and creative thinkers. When darkness falls, you’ll explore an illuminated pathway which turns the Gardens’ vast collection of plants and grand conservatories into a glittering winter wonderland. All to the beat of exciting soundscapes and special performances.

Botanic dlight
The peacock fountain during Botanic D’lights 2015

So looking forward to it! Note to self: bring hat, coat, gloves, torch and cash for hot drinks and food as well as the gold coin donation for the Children’s Garden renewal project. See you there!

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Looking at the Botanic Gardens

Looking at Hagley Park

Resources

Thanks Harry!

Head and shoulders portrait of Henry George Ell, 1914
Henry George Ell. S P Andrew Ltd :Portrait negatives. Ref: 1/1-013861-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22750368

Thank you, Harry Ell.

Without your dedicated work over many years, the residents and tourists in Christchurch wouldn’t have the wonderful reserves of the Port Hills to walk, cycle and play in.

Henry George Ell was a husband, father, soldier, stationer, politician, prohibitionist, conservationist, and was the driving force behind the establishment of the reserves on the Port Hills, and the building of the Summit Road. By the time of his death in 1934, some 500 acres of reserves had been created, with the help of his “Ell’s Angels”. His Summit Road scheme was a very important employer in the time of the Depression, although he himself was a known as a tough taskmaster.

His vision was to have a series of resthouses along the Summit Road for use and enjoyment of people walking – hence the Sign of the Takahe (built last, and finished in 1949 after his death), Sign of the Bellbird, Sign of the Kiwi and Sign of the Packhorse. The resthouses were designed by Samuel Hurst Seager.

Dr Cockayne and Harry Ell [1904] CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0058
Dr Cockayne and Harry Ell
[1904] CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0058
Along with his work on the Port Hills, Harry Ell served as a Christchurch City Councillor (1903, 1917-19), and a Member Parliament (1899-1919) where he worked to improve schooling, the banking system, access to Old Age Pensions, and was instrumental in the passing of the Scenery Preservation Act. He is really remembered for his work as conservationist: he wanted to preserve forests to conserve soil and water, and create reserves and afforestation programmes to ensure adequate timber supplies and to provide better training for scientific foresters.

More resources

Happy birthday, Christchurch City Libraries!

Canterbury Public Library building, Circa 1903-1907, CCL Flickr

My family and I moved to Christchurch at the beginning of 2009, and one of the first things we did – as you do – was go to the library and sign up for a membership. The staff probably cringed when they saw the five of us arrive, but they were so nice and helpful and friendly, it was amazing.

We had gone into Central Library because the concept of more than one library in a town was a bit unknown to us, and after we collected our cards we set off exploring…

Storytelling pit, Children's Library
Storytelling pit, Children’s Library, Ground Floor. 1995. Flickr File Reference: Arch52-BWN-0026

Did you know there was a WHOLE ROOM just for children? An aisle of science fiction? (Our favourite) young adults had it’s own space! There were heaps of CDs and DVDs. And magazines. There was even an upstairs with a whole floor of non-fiction… It was bliss.

And when we went to the beach we found a library.  Then another one when we did grocery  shopping at Bishopdale Mall, then another one out at Diamond Harbour (where we got the best ice creams this side of Pleasant Point). After 20 years of living in small towns in New Zealand, Christchurch City Libraries was a revelation.

New Central Library
New Central Library, Flickr File reference: 2015-03-26-Plaza-Day-new

Well, we all know that the Central library built in 1982, is no more. And like a phoenix rising  from the ashes, a new library will be built on Cathedral Square. Hey, that could be a good name for it: The Christchurch Phoenix, what do you think?

So what other milestones has the library seen in it’s 157 years:

  • 26 May 1859 opens as the Mechanics Institute library, based in the Town Hall. Membership was for paying members only, and the subscription was set at one guinea per annum or seven shillings and sixpence per quarter
  • In 1863, the library moved to a new wooden building on the corner of Cambridge Terrace and Hereford Street.
  • Canterbury College took over the running of then named Canterbury Public Library in February 1874.
  • In 1920 a travelling library service to country areas was begun: boxes of books, which were changed quarterly,  were sent to places like Darfield, Mayfield, Culverden and Hinds
  • Uncle Jack (Librarian Ernest Bell) and Aunt Edna (Edna Pearce) created a children’s radio show on 3YA in the 1920s, broadcasting stories, plays, poems and songs
  • In 1948 ownership of the Library was handed over to the Christchurch City Council (after decades of wrangling, in true Christchurch fashion!)
  • 1952 – finally – free borrowing introduced
  • 1975 first computerised lending system introduced
  • 2 February 1982 the Governor-General, Hon. Sir David Beattie officially opened the new Public Library building on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace. Warren and Mahoney were the architects and C. S. Luney Ltd was the principal contractor for the building
  • 1989 Christchurch City Libraries starts Australasia’s first public library online catalogue
  • 1996  last card catalogue unit taken away
  • 2001 Ngā Pounamu Māori centre opened
  • 2009 150th Anniversary celebrated in many ways, including the provision of free wifi
  • 2014 Central Library demolished
  • 2017 New Sumner library due to open
  • 2018 Opening of the New Central Library

Happy birthday Christchurch City Libraries – may you have many more!

Books for babies 20th anniversary
Books for babies 20th anniversary, 2011, Flickr File reference CCL-2011-02-07-Books-For-Babies-20-P1040243

Captain Anthony Wilding – Wimbledon champion, killed in action 9 May 1915

Captain Anthony Wilding was the first and – so far – the only New Zealander to win a Wimbledon championship.

anthony-wilding
Anthony Frederick Wilding. Making New Zealand :Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: MNZ-0971-1/4-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23104417

His record in the International Tennis Hall of Fame reads:

Career Achievements

Top Ranking

World No. 1 (1911)

Grand Slam Results
11-time major champion and 4-time finalist

Olympics

Bronze Medal in Men’s Indoor Singles at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games

Davis Cup

Member of the Australasian Davis Cup Team 1905-1909, 1914

Member of the Australasian Championship Davis Cup Team 1907-1909, 1914

In 1913, while dominating Wimbledon, Wilding won world titles on clay (World Hard Court Championships), grass (World Lawn Tennis Championships) and wood (World Covered Court Championship).

The ‘dashing’ sportsman

Tennis had been a sport for ‘wealthy gentlemen’, but Anthony Wilding helped it gain greater popularity through his dedication to training and fitness. Former world heavyweight boxing champion Bob

Fitzsimmons – another New Zealander – advised him on his fitness regime so that he ran two or three times a week, skipped, and went for brisk walks, as well as playing tennis. He was much fitter than his opponents, and neither smoked nor drank alcohol (which was unusual for the time).

Described as ‘dashing’ Tony Wilding had the female spectators swooning because of his ‘manly brand of tennis’. He was reported as tall and fair, as well as ‘handsome, chivalrous and was always on the lookout for adventure’.

Early Life

Anthony Frederick Wilding on a motorcycle.
Anthony Frederick Wilding on a motorcycle. Taken at Off to John O’Groats from Land’s End. Ref: 1/2-049754-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22429379

Wilding was born at Opawa on October 31, 1883, one of five children of Frederick and Julia Wilding. Frederick Wilding played cricket for New Zealand, was a good horseman, footballer, athlete and oarsman. Sporting interests were strongly encouraged at the family home, Fownhope, and Anthony’s sister Cora was also well-known in Christchurch circles as an artist and founder of the Sunlight League of New Zealand. Young Tony excelled at swimming, shooting, riding and cricket, but once he started at Cambridge University in 1902 he became a dedicated tennis player.

Wilding in Europe

Wilding qualified for the New Zealand bar, but didn’t work as a lawyer, preferring to motorcycle around Europe, playing in the great tennis tournaments of the Riviera, Germany, Serbia, Hungary, Sweden and Norway. Shortly before the first world war he became a pilot.

When war broke out the British-based Wilding joined the Royal Marines, rising to the rank of captain in the Armoured Car Division, where his pre-war experience of driving in Europe was valued. He was killed aged 31 during the Battle of Aubers Ridge at Neuve Chapelle in northern France, and is buried in Rue-des-Berceaux military cemetery at Pas-de-Calais, France.

The home of Canterbury tennis is, of course, Wilding Park.

World War I soldiers, including Anthony Wilding, in an armoured Rolls Royce car, Dunkirk, France. Ref: 1/2-049756-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22325181
World War I soldiers, including Anthony Wilding, in an armoured Rolls Royce car, Dunkirk, France. Ref: 1/2-049756-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22325181

More readingCover of Anthony Wilding: A sporting life

The Bridge of Remembrance to reopen

Cashel Street Bridge Of Remembrance From East
Cashel Street Bridge Of Remembrance From East, Kete Christchurch

It’s been a bit of a wait, but – fingers crossed ! – soon we will be able to stand on the Bridge of Remembrance again.  Of course, the surrounds don’t quite look like the photo above anymore. The repairs, painstakingly carried out by SCIRT, to the Bridge and Arch were completed in September 2015, but access wasn’t restored as landscaping work as part of the Te Papa Ōtākāro/ Avon River Precinct project has been carried out on the Bridge and the Park of Remembrance.

Coat of arms relief, Bridge of remembrance
Bridge of Remembrance – 8 April 2007 #DSCN2235 (Cecil) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

“Changes include removing the walls at the western end of the Bridge and the construction of a grand staircase, a new ramp creating a processional connection to the Nicholas Statue, and paving which links with the river promenade and in-ground lighting to highlight the Triumphal Arch,” Ms Wagner, the Associate Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister, the Associate Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister said late last year.

The repair work to the Bridge included replacing the original 4 metre piles with 27 metre ones, and reinforcing the historic arch with an 8.2 tonne beam. The work means that the arch, built from rock quarried in Tasmania, will rock rather than twist in any future earthquakes.

It is expected to be open again by ANZAC Day, 25 April 2016.

Learn more

 

First National Council of Women, Christchurch, 1896

National Council of Women, Christchurch. Ref: 1/2-041798-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22694035
National Council of Women, Christchurch. Ref: 1/2-041798-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22694035

Looking at this photo makes me very grateful that I wasn’t born any earlier –  these Victorian clothes look so hot, so uncomfortable, and as for those fussy caps! Ugh!

But what these women are wearing is about the least important part of the  photograph – this is the first National Council of Women, meeting in Christchurch 13-18 April 1896.  It was a world first – a national meeting of women who could vote in parliamentary elections.

Their aim was to ‘unite all organised Societies of Women for mutual counsel and co-operation, and in the attainment of justice and freedom for women, and for all that makes for the good of humanity’.

Many were veterans of the battle to gain women’s right to vote – Kate Sheppard (seated 5th from the left) – which was passed into law three years earlier, while others – such as Annie Schnackenberg (seated on Kate’s left) – were also involved in the temperance movement. Kate Sheppard was voted in as the first President of the Council.

Over the course of six days they passed a number of resolutions including:

Kate Sheppard Memorial
Kate Sheppard Memorial, Flickr CCL-KateSheppard-2010-08-24-IMG_1863
  • the need for minimum wages
  • the conditions of divorce for man and women be made equal
  • the private ownership of large tracts of land, and these kept locked up by absentees, is a wrong inflicted on the people, and is detrimental to progress
  • the abolition of capital punishment
  • the continuation of the present system of free, compulsory, and secular education, and the expansion of technical education
  • that women be eligible to serve on all juries
  • a system of Old Age Pensions, or Annuities, should be established

 

The National Council of Women of New Zealand Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa is still active, still needed, continuing the good fight for pay equity, extending paid parental leave, ending discrimination against women.

Further reading

Cover of A history of New Zealand women Cover of Maori and Aboriginal women in the public eye Cover of Kiwi rock chicks, pop stars & trailblazersCover of Golden girls Cover of Inside stories Cover of Ettie Rout

Race Relations Day: Welcoming Diversity

Race Relations Day – 21 March 2016

New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth. It is also one of the most peaceful.  Our biggest challenge is how we choose to live our lives and what kind of country we let New Zealand become. This Race Relations Day we are asking all Kiwis to welcome and get to know the people in your community. What you do makes all the difference.

 – Human Rights Commission

The theme for Race Relations Day 2016 is “Welcoming Diversity”.

And what a fun time we’ve had celebrating diversity lately in Christchurch ! There’s been the Night Noodle Market, the Chinese Lantern Festival (27 & 28 February), Holi Day (5 March), Canterbury Japan Day (6 March),  Culture Galore (12 March) and Canterbury Polyfest 2016 – phew !

In New Zealand we are lucky to be able to enjoy and celebrate our diversity, but this is not so in many other parts of the world.  In 1966 the date of March 21 was proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations to be The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the reason this date was chosen is because this was the date of the Sharpeville massacre.

Sharpeville is in South Africa, and on 21 March 1960 police opened fire on a crowd of about 20,000 people who were protesting against the apartheid “pass laws”.  Some 69 people were killed, including children, while around 180 were injured. Apartheid in the Rainbow Nation has since been dismantled, but the fight against racial prejudice and discrimination continues around the world.

Further reading

 As Good as Anybody Martin Luther King Jr. and Abraham Joshua Heschel's Amazing March Toward Freedom  Human Rights and Human Wrongs A Life Confronting Racism  Are We There Yet? The Future of the Treaty of Waitangi The Name of the Game

Armageddon is coming!

Woohoo ! I’m so looking forward to going!

Despite having lived in Christchurch for six years now, somehow I’ve never quite made it to Armageddon Expo, the annual celebration for pop culture geeks: always something else to do, somewhere to go, or something else to pay for… But this year it falls on my birthday, so I am going instead of just dropping off the teenagers.

But to get the best out of it, I need to do my homework.  So :-

Armageddon Pop Culture Expo
Pikachu and The Joker, Armageddon Expo 2015, Flickr 2015-03-07-IMG_6162
  • Where? When? How much?  Programme? The Armageddon website has all the info
  • Watch Star Trek: The Next Generation DVDs as Marina Sirtis will be there, and I loved her character Deanna Troi
  • Also need to watch Stargate again, three guests are from that series, and I only ever saw a few episodes when it was on TV (raising children is hazardous to your TV viewing!)
  • Re-read Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.  When I first read it, was one of those “un-put-down-able books” that I stayed up all night reading
  • Find out if any TV/Movie producers will be going, and aim to convince her/him that Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan would make the most AMAZING film!  Could have it’s technical challenges, of course, but I’m sure Weta Workshops would be up for the job!
  • Then there’s the people watching – if previous photos are anything to go by, I think I’ll need to load up my tablet so I know who some of the cosplay characters are
  • Costume!  Eek!  What will I wear?  Not very good at sewing, so hopefully  I love paper: paper-cutting Techniques and Templates for Amazing Toys, Sculptures, Props, and Costumes will do the trick
  • And finally, dust off the credit card, ready to go s-h-o-p-p-i-n-g

Phew! Sorted!  How about you?  Are you going to Armageddon Christchurch this weekend?