The prison camp, Hanmer Springs: Picturing Canterbury

The prison camp, Hanmer Springs (1904). File Reference CCL PhotoCD 9, IMG0004.

Between 1900 and 1901 reserve land was set aside in Hanmer Springs for planting exotic trees to supply the Christchurch market. Planting of radiata pine and Douglas fir began in 1902-1903 and prison labour was used 1903-1913. There were 25 prisoners here in 1904, most of whom had asked to serve their sentence at Hanmer. Conditions were the same as a city prison, the only difference being the men got an additional four marks a week remission for industry.

See The Press, 10 September 1904, p. 3; The Weekly Press, 24 March 1909, p. 67.

Do you have any photographs of Hanmer? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Kennedy Assassinated! What were you doing on November 23 1963?

By the time The Christchurch Star was published on the afternoon of Saturday 23 November 1963, it would have been hard to find someone in Christchurch who had not already heard that the President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated earlier that morning (7:00am New Zealand time).

But when the initial shock had passed what was the rest of the day like for the people of Christchurch?

Just an ordinary day…

For George Hewitt, a retiree, and his wife, Frances, the day could not have started any worse. In the early hours of the morning, their house at 83 Waimairi Road had burned down. Perhaps they were already recovering at their son’s house in Athol Terrace when they heard the news of the assassination. If they were already looking for a new house then they could purchase a bungalow in Cashmere for £3430 or wait to attend the auction of 412 Cashel Street.

Michael James Russell, a 21 year old motor assembler, was no doubt feeling sorry for himself after being both fined and forced to pay for the repairs to the window of a van he damaged with his fist on Manchester Street at 1:40am that morning.

William Leslie Travers, the manager of the Christchurch branch of the Bank of New Zealand spent the day trying to smooth over an embarrassing mistake. The old bank building on the corner of Cathedral Square was ready to be demolished in preparation for the construction of a new bank. An auction was being held to sell off the building’s fittings. When people turned up they found that someone had accidentally left confidential paperwork detailing the accounts of the bank’s customers spilled all over the first floor.

View south along Colombo Street, 1963. View_south_along_Colombo_Street_2819460713_o. Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ.

For many of the city’s children, the events unfolding on the world stage may have seemed irrelevant in comparison to the excitement of the Hay’s annual Christmas parade which took place that morning on the banks of the Avon River.

With his engagement to Lynne Stanton of Riccarton publicly announced, Reginald Watts of Bryndwr was possibly planning a visit to Kennedy’s jewellery showroom at 244 High Street to look for a suitable set of wedding rings.

Meanwhile Francis Curtis, who had already spent seven weeks sleeping in the back of his own jewellery shop on Cashel Street in order to deter burglars while it underwent repairs, still had three more weeks left.

Undoubtedly some people were considering purchasing their first television set. If they were prepared to wait for ‘quality’ then they could order an Admiral television through the product’s New Zealand distributors, H.W. Clarke.

Worcester Street, 1963. Worcester_Street_2819458919_o. Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ.

Beverley Pollock and Paul Amfelt of Dunedin’s Globe Theatre Company would have spent the day waiting to read the Star’s review of their performance of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s Rosmersholm, which they had given the night before at the Museum Theatre.

The young adults who had recently finished school would have been searching and applying for jobs. For young men there were a variety of apprenticeships available or perhaps a chance to start a career as an accountant with a firm such as Cyclone Industries, as a junior clerk at Andersons Limited or in insurance with the National Insurance Company of New Zealand Limited. Options for young women were limited to positions such as a clerk at Gordon and Gotch on Tuam Street, an office assistant at Woolworths in Sydenham or a sewing machinist at Arthur Ellis and Co. Meanwhile Randini, a comedy magician and fire eater, was looking for work performing at ‘all types of functions’.

As the day drew to a close, some were perhaps wondering whether they should make the effort to go and see Lawrence of Arabia given that it was in its final week at the Odeon Theatre on Tuam Street.

Conspiracies…

The Saturday 23 November 1963 issue of The Christchurch Star has often been linked to the conspiracy theories which surround the assassination. Some claim that the issue contained information which could not have been readily known by the staff working to meet the afternoon publication deadline. However these claims have been disproven by Bob Cotton, who was a reporter working for The Christchurch Star on that fateful day. Efficient global communication, combined with the fact that the The Christchurch Star already possessed material on the leading figures in the story in its archives meant that the staff had plenty of relevant information to work with.

Despite this, copies of the issue have often been requested by international researchers for use as source material. Containing 36 pages in total, news of the assassination is only covered on three pages. While many of these researchers may have dismissed the rest of the newspaper’s contents, the remaining pages give us a glimpse into what was for many people in Christchurch just an ordinary Saturday.

Find out more

The wahine who welcomed the visitors to Tuahiwi, North Canterbury: Picturing Canterbury

The wahine who welcomed the visitors to Tuahiwi, Christchurch Star, 4 Aug. 1922, p. 6.
The wahine who welcomed the visitors to Tuahiwi, North Canterbury. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 9, IMG0080.

Date: 3 August 1922.

“This was a week-long hui attended by Wiremu Ratana (1873-1939) and was the largest gathering of the Waipounamu Maori that had been held for many years. Its chief purpose was to discuss their claims over land taken from them in the past. Grievances were referred to as “Te hapa o nuitireni”, meaning promises made to them had not been fulfilled. Carrying bunches of broom, the three women headed a procession of women who welcomed the visitors, the waiata being led by the woman in the middle.”

Source: Christchurch Star, 4 Aug. 1922, p. 6.

The Ngāi Tahu Land Claim finally concluded with the signing of the Deed of Settlement on 21 November 1997 at Takahanga Marae, Kaikōura. The Ngāi Tahu Claim Settlement Act was passed into law the following year on 29 September 1998.

Do you have any historical photographs of Christchurch and Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Zetland Arms hotel, Cashel Street, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Zetland Arms hotel, Cashel Street, Christchurch [1902]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0026.
Date: 1902

Another of the early wooden hotels in Christchurch which was originally an eating house, later a hotel. The licensee from 1898 was John Fox (1836-1907). This building was condemned by the Licensing Committee in 1902 and plans for a new hotel were approved in March 1902. See: Early Christchurch Hotels compiled by Jim Watson.

Source: Canterbury Times, 7 May 1902, p. 36.

Do you have any photographs of Canterbury hotels? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

The Late Maka Makomako, A Ngāi Tahu Chief Of Tuahiwi, Kaiapoi: Picturing Canterbury

The Late Maka Makomako, A Ngāi Tahu Chief Of Tuahiwi, Kaiapoi. File Reference PhotoCD 9, IMG0077.

The late Maka Makomako, a Ngāi Tahu chief of Tuahiwi, Kaiapoi.

“Maka Makomako, who was over ninety years when he died, is believed to be the last of the twenty-six principal chiefs who sold the first block of the 400,000 acres in the South, in Otakou, now Otago. The deed executed between the natives dated 31st July 1844, in which they conveyed to Mr William Wakefield, agent for the New Zealand Company, the land in the districts known as Otakau, Taieri, and Mataura, estimated to comprise 150,000 acres for £1400, bears on it, among the signatures, the name of ‘Makomako’. In conjunction therewith are the names of Taiaroa, father of the late Hon H K Taiaroa, Tuhawiki [sic], Horomona, Pohio, and others. The sign manuals of the Maori owners of the soil were witnessed by John Jormyn Symonds, P M Frederick Tuckett, George Clark jun, Protector of Aborigines, and David Scott”

Source: The Weekly Press, 3 June 1908, p. 51.

Do you have any historical photographs of Christchurch and Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Students Avon River Bike Race: Christchurch Photo Hunt 2017

Photo Hunt 2017: Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way

This year the theme for Photo Hunt is Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way. However, the photos you submit are not limited to this theme. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Christchurch City Libraries has produced a set of four postcards promoting the competition which are available from your local library. Each week during October we’ll be featuring one of the postcard images on our blog.

Students Avon River Bike Race by kevinkemp. Kete Christchurch. Avon_bike_race.  Licensed under a CC BY 3.0 NZ License.

Avon River bike race for University of Canterbury rag day.

About Kete Christchurch

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Bathing beauties at Corsair Bay about 1920: Christchurch Photo Hunt 2017

Photo Hunt 2017: Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way

This year the theme for Photo Hunt is Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way. However, the photos you submit are not limited to this theme. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Christchurch City Libraries has produced a set of four postcards promoting the competition which are available from your local library. Each week during October we’ll be featuring one of the postcard images on our blog.

Bathing beauties at Corsair Bay about 1920. Kete Christchurch. PH13-127. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Bathing beauties at Corsair Bay about 1920. Neck to knee bathing costumes and what looks like a shower cap for a bathing cap. Mother and daughter Alice and Venis with two cousins.

Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt.

About Kete Christchurch

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

A 1920s bloke’s shed at 60 Aikmans Road, Merivale: Picturing Canterbury

A 1920s bloke’s shed at 60 Aikmans Road, Merivale. Kete Christchurch. Pearce_family_photos_45. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

A 1920s bloke’s shed at 60 Aikmans Road, Merivale. This shed held the prized family car, the motorbike, tools and was also used for the family business. Arthur James Pearce did his cobbler work in this shed. This shed was every 1920s mans dream, hence why it got its own photo! Taken by Arthur Cyril Pearce in about 1920.

Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt

Photo Hunt 2017: Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way

This year the theme for Photo Hunt is Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way. However, the photos you submit are not limited to this theme. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Hang gliding – Port Hills: Christchurch Photo Hunt 2017

Photo Hunt 2017: Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way

This year the theme for Photo Hunt is Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way. However, the photos you submit are not limited to this theme. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Christchurch City Libraries has produced a set of four postcards promoting the competition which are available from your local library. Each week during October we’ll be featuring one of the postcard images on our blog.

Hang gliding – Port Hills. Kete Christchurch. Hang_gliding_-_Port_hills_2966945852_o. Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Unknown group hang-gliding on Port Hills.  We were passing by and saw them.  It was a relatively new sight in Christchurch in 1976.

Photograph by Irene Absalom.

Date: 1976.

File Reference: HWC08-SO100

Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt.

About Kete Christchurch

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

From the Sign of the Takahe: Picturing Canterbury

From the Sign of the Takahe. Kete Christchurch. PH13-135. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Taken from the Sign of the Takahe out a window across the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps.

Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt.

Photo Hunt 2017: Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way

This year the theme for Photo Hunt is Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way. However, the photos you submit are not limited to this theme. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.