Before Tūranga – The Lyttelton Times

The third in a series of posts that looks at the history of the central Christchurch sites on which your new library, Tūranga, has been built.

Next to Cathedral Chambers/Hobbs’ Corner was the home of the Lyttelton Times and the Star.

The Lyttelton Times originally set up in Lyttelton with the printing press that arrived on the Charlotte Jane, one of the ‘first four ships’. They published their first paper 26 days after the printing press arrived in 1851 and the run continued till 1935. For a taste of the Times, we have digitised the first issue, 11 January 1851, for you to read online. Marvel at the adds for bullocks and unbroken fillies for sale and wonder at the plea by John Robert Godley, on behalf of the Canterbury Association, who were in desperate need of pickaxes and shovels.

While the headquarters started out in Lyttelton, the newspaper had an agency in Christchurch that sat around about the middle of Tūranga now. Here it is in 1859, facing Gloucester Street.

The Lyttelton Times agency showing the Gloucester Street frontage [ca. 1859]
The Lyttelton Times agency showing the Gloucester Street frontage [1859]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0041
The Lyttelton Times moved its headquarters to Christchurch in 1863, after their two-storey wooden building was finished in 1862. Here’s what it looked like, if you were peering through the trees on the Square in 1863:

The Lyttelton Times office showing the frontage to Cathedral Square. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0040

Come out from the trees and this is what it looked like, still facing the square:

Image: A black and white photos of the Lyttelton Times' premises [ca. 1885]
The Lyttelton Times’ old premises [ca. 1885]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0063
In the photo above, taken in 1885, you can see the flagstaff that was used to signal to the people of Christchurch when ships arrived in the port over the hills. If you knew the code, you could be in the Square and know that a brig was arriving from the North by the blue flag that would be waving at the head of the mast. Very handy if you knew which ship brought in the mail! It was an important spot in Christchurch for staying connected with the outside world.

On the right side of the photo is Warner’s hotel (where the Novotel is now) whose guests would complain about the noise of the printing press lasting long into the night (this wing of Warner’s was eventually demolished and replaced with a theatre (The Liberty, later The Savoy), the building intended to act as a buffer for sound and vibration. In later years the situation would be reversed. Following the demolition of the theatre, vacant space between the buildings became a beer garden for Warner’s hotel and bar, while the Times building by then had been converted to backpackers’ accommodation. Band performances and music in the beer garden were required to stop at a reasonable hour in order not to disturb the sleep of the guests in rooms next door. Later still, this wing of the building would be reinstated, and is now the only part of Warner’s that remains.

On the left in the above image is Cathedral Chambers. The taller building behind the Lyttelton Times was still part of the Lyttelton Times premises, which was added in 1884. While it looks fairly drab from behind, it’s pretty spectacular facing Gloucester Street. Here’s the handsome frontage (134-140 Gloucester St) in 1884:

Image: Black and white photo of the Lyttelton Times office showing the Gloucester Street frontage [1884]
The Lyttelton Times office showing the Gloucester Street frontage. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0039
Somewhat confusingly the building was home to 3 newspapers (the titles of which can be seen engraved into the front of the building): The Lyttelton Times, The Canterbury Times (a weekly started in 1865), and The Star (an evening paper started in 1868). All 3 papers were produced by the Lyttelton Times Company, and for different audiences and purposes.

You could also head down to the Lyttelton Times building to get things printed, just like you can do in Tūranga. We too can boast a large assortment of plain and fancy types, just like Ward and Reeves, the printers who worked from Lyttelton Times Office building.

Image: An advertisement from 1871 for War and Reeves printing, showing many different fonts
Star, Issue 883, 27 March 1871

Well the Lyttelton Times, they kept a-changing, and by 1903 had grown into the majestic beast below, with an addition designed by the Luttrell Brothers on the Cathedral Square side becoming the first building in New Zealand to adopt the Chicago skyscraper style. It was also known as ‘gingerbread style’ or even ‘streaky bacon style’. You can see why looking at the colour pictures of it – it does have a kind of foody look to it. With Oamaru stone facings on a Post Chalmers bluestone base, it was the tallest building on the Square at the time it was built. Here’s the new building decorating its corner of the square in 1904, a black and white photograph from our collection and a pen and ink watercolour by Raymond Morris:

The Lyttelton Times’ new premises, 1903. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0062
Raymond Morris’s painting, ‘Lyttelton Times Building (1906) Identifier: qsr-object:214465, Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0.

The Lyttelton Times changed its name to the Christchurch Times in 1929, then stopped publishing in 1935 because the competition was too great. When it ended, it was the oldest newspaper in the country. The building was still used for newspapers though – New Zealand Newspapers Ltd, formerly the Lyttelton Times Company, kept publishing the evening Star-Sun, which had started as the Star in 1868. In 1958 the Star-Sun moved out of this building to a new location in Kilmore Street, and changed its name to the Christchurch Star.

Once all the newspapers had departed, the building was occupied by several different commercial tenants over the years, including The Record Joynt and the fondly remembered Atlantis Market, described by journalist Russell Brown as “a long-gone hippie emporium”. Before the 2011 earthquake, there was a Tandoori Palace restaurant on the ground floor and Base Backpackers above. On the Gloucester Street side, the ground floor was home to a number of restaurants including Samurai Bowl, O-cha Thai, and Le Pot Au Feu. By August that year the building would be demolished.

Lyttelton Times Building in 2008 by Lisa T, with the new portion of Warners Hotel under construction at right, via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0

The connection of the site to Christchurch’s historical newspapers continues in Tūranga with our collection of back copies of local newspapers on microfilm, including the Lyttelton Times and the Star. Come and visit them on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2.

Next week: The Coachman Inn

Further reading

Diwali in Christchurch 2018

Diwali Indian Festival of Lights in Cathedral Square – Saturday 3 November and Sunday 4 November, 2pm to 9pm

Stage performances start at 5pm

Celebrate the Indian festival of Diwali with fabulous food and fun, in the heart of Christchurch. There will be Indian arts and crafts stalls and colourful classical and modern stage performances. The most popular of all Hindu festivals, Diwali is dedicated to the goddess Kali in Bengal and to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, in the rest of India. As with several other festivals, Diwali is associated with one of the stories about the destruction of evil by God in one of his many manifestations. In Jainism, where the festival is also known as Mahavira Nirvana, Diwali celebrates the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavira. Diwali also marks the start of the Hindu New Year; goddess Lakshmi is therefore thanked on this day and everyone prays for a good year ahead. In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest. The people of his kingdom welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deepa), thus its name, Deepawali, simply shortened to Diwali.

Sponsored by the CCC, the Indian Social and Cultural Club is pleased to bring to you a taste of Indian culture and tradition in Cathedral Square.

Diwali concert and workshop at Tūranga – Sunday 11 November 11am to 12.30pm

Celebrate Diwali with acclaimed local group Revathi Performing Arts. Enjoy a demonstration of Bharathanatyam, the most popular South Indian Classical Dance, then participate in a workshop. Bharathanatyam originated in the temples of South India thousands of years ago. Started as part of daily worship of the temple deity, this art form has evolved over the years to its current form. Free, no bookings required. TSB Space, Hapori | Community, Level 1, Tūranga

What is Diwali?

Diwali or dīpāvali, the festival of lights, is traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs with the rising of the new moon at the end of the month, Ashvin. However, in a country as diverse as India, where people from many different faiths live side by side, the festival is not limited to one particular faith for it represents the victory of light over darkness and the triumph of wisdom over ignorance. Throughout cities and villages the darkness will be symbolically turned back. Clay lamps (diya) will be lit in homes and shops, fireworks will be released into the sky and the streets will be filled with music. Read more in Simon’s blog post about Diwali.

 
Diwali display at Linwood Library 2016.

More about Diwali

  • Find resources about Diwali in our collection.
  • Watch a short film about the Rāmāyaṇa

Tāngata Ngāi Tahu – WORD Christchurch 2018

Tāngata Ngāi TahuTāngata Ngāi Tahu: People of Ngāi Tahu. Volume One is a new book celebrating the rich and diverse lives of fifty people of Ngāi Tahu. It was published by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Bridget Williams Books in late 2017, and released to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement.

This WORD session was hosted by David Higgins, Upoko of Moeraki Rūnanga, with kōrero by the book’s editors Helen Brown (Ngāi Tahu) and Takerei Norton (Ngāi Tahu), and by book contributors Robyn Walsh (Ngāi Tahu) and Mike Stevens (Ngāi Tahu).

The book emerged from the work of the Ngāi Tahu Archives team on Kā Huru Manu, the amazing Ngāi Tahu digital atlas. While collecting and recording places names around Te Waipounamu, the research team realised they were also discovering the names and stories of people who were the very heart of Ngāi Tahu whakapapa. This book is intended to be the first of a series born out of the work of the atlas, and a second volume is already in process.

The individual biographies in Tāngata Ngāi Tahu cover 200 years of Ngāi Tahu whānau history, producing a ‘tribal family album’ of stories and images. Editor Helen Brown talked about how among the stories of the ordinary, often household names in te iwi, have been revealed the extraordinary lives of so many Ngāi Tahu people.

The book has been arranged by person/name, which Helen said gives a more nuanced history than a book based on themes or a more traditional history book arrangement, perhaps in alphabetical or chronological order. The order of the book does invoke a back-and-forth journey across time, with people from the 1800s to more recent times spread at random throughout the book. The effect embraces serendipity, with a mix of stunning, historical black-and-white photographs between more modern colour images drawing the reader into the rich history within.

Each biography had a limit of 1000 words, and editing to this limit Helen described as often excruciating. “Whole books are needed,” she said. Perhaps for individual whānau this book will plant the seed to pick up the stories and expand on them for their own tīpuna?

The biographies have been written by a team of writers, whose writing experience in this context Helen described as ranging from gathering the purely anecdotal to more academic pursuits. We were lucky to have some of the writers present in the team of speakers at the WORD event, and each speaker featured an individual from the book, giving the audience a summary of their whakapapa and life.

Robyn Walsh talked about her mother Dorothy Te Mahana Walsh of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Kahungunu decent, a leader heavily involved in the ‘hui hopping’ during the Waitangi Tribunal Hearings and a keen performer who travelled to San Francisco supporting the Te Māori exhibition. Robyn concluded “we need and must remember these histories and people.”

Others spoken about on the day were Amiria Puhirere – a stunning figure standing in her full-length korowai in the photo on page 86, she was a prominent leader and renowned weaver who lived at Ōnukū on the Akaroa Harbour; Trevor Hapi Howse – a major part of the research team that led the long work for Ngāi Tahu Te Kerēme/the Ngāi Tahu Waitangi Claim and a key figure in the Kā Huru Manu project; and William Te Paro Spencer – a seafaring kaumātua and muttonbirder, described as “proudly and strongly Ngāi Tahu” and “very much a Bluff local but wordly with it”.

As mentioned above, one of the strong features of the book are the photographs, many of which are from iwi archives and other private collections, and often have not been published or displayed outside the embrace of whānau before. It is clear that it is something special these photos are being shared not only with iwi whānui but with the whole country, and such a personal act of whakawhanaungatanga is to be valued and cherished.

Although the prime audience for the book is Ngāi Tahu tāngata there has been huge interest in it since media company The Spinoff published an article about Mere Harper, who helped setup the Plunket organisation. The audience has since become national and international, with a strong focus on the book’s contribution to the historical narrative of Aotearoa.

Read a book review of Tāngata Ngāi Tahu.

Nuclear free parade, Akaroa, Mothers Day: Christchurch Photo Hunt 2018

October is Photo Hunt month at Christchurch City Libraries. 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.

Nuclear free parade, Akaroa, Mothers Day. Kete Christchurch. PH14-JaSh-4. Entry in the 2009 & 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

1984. Nuclear issues were on every body’s minds during this time. A very strong group of Akaroa and Banks Peninsula people turned out for this parade on Mothers Day 1984. The district’s local body was the Akaroa County Council and a majority of the council members supported the motion that the Akaroa County, (including Akaroa township), would be nuclear free.

An opinion poll commissioned by the 1986 Defence Committee of Enquiry confirmed that 92 per cent of the population opposed nuclear weapons in New Zealand and 69 per cent opposed warship visits.

The banner carriers leading the way are Paul Flight and David Thurston.

Date: 13 May 1984.

Entry in the 2009 & 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jan Shuttleworth.

About Kete Christchurch

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

Eat, Drink And Be Scared: Halloween – Wednesday 31 October 2018

Halloween display at Linwood Library
Halloween display at Linwood Library, October 2014. Flickr 2014-Photo3.img

On the 31st of October we celebrate Halloween. Also known as Hallowe’en; All Hallow’s Eve; Allhalloween and All Saint’s Eve. Although not everybody recognises this contentious holiday, I will celebrate by scaring myself to death with a selection of horror films.

Halloween Events

Spooky Halloween Day – Wednesday 31 October 3.30pm to 5pm Christchurch City Libraries is holding Spooky Halloween Day at two library branches- Shirley Library and Linwood Library. Come along dressed in your scariest costume and enjoy a spooky Storytimes, competitions, crafts and more.

Ferrymead’s Hall of Doom and Raise the Dead Rave – Further afield, for the Young Adults (over 16) there is the intriguing sounding Hall of Doom and Raise the Dead Rave at Ferrymead Heritage Park, featuring ‘DJ Spinal,’ if that is your thing.

Ferrymead’s Family Trick or Treat – and there is the slightly more family friendly sounding Family Trick or Treat event, also held at Ferrymead Heritage Park in conjunction with Plunket.


I have not always been a Halloween advocate. Growing up in a religious household, I did not have the option of observing Halloween as an event, nor was I allowed to watch anything resembling a horror film. Now that I’ve flown the nest and am free to make my own traditions, I am pleased to say that Halloween is cemented on my calendar as an important day of the year.

So maybe there is a correlation: for some time now, whenever we dare to discuss our future, my husband has envisioned us buying a lifestyle block somewhere out in the countryside, perhaps halfway to the alps, miles from the neighbours in isolated bliss. I resist this dream fervently. My very legitimate reasons include:

  • My penchant for horror films and true crime
  • Still being scared of the dark and don’t like being home alone as it is
  • Nobody would be around to hear me scream should I be being murdered.

His argument is that should I scream for help in the centre of suburbia, it is likely nobody would come to help anyway. Probably true. But it is psychological terror which prevents me from contemplating a life more than a stone’s throw away from civilization.

Yet despite being afraid of the dark, of potential murderers and of being home alone, I continue to love and watch horror films of all varieties. I have seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre about five times, and have suffered through all sequences of Paranormal Activity.

The latest horror I have seen was the recent film A Quiet Place directed by John Krasinski (remember Jim Halpert from The Office?). This film is set post-apocalypse and follows a family through their struggle to survive in a landscape featuring monsters who hunt by sound (the slightest of sounds). To avoid being eaten the family are forced to live in silence and communicate through sign language. Unfortunately, I watched A Quiet Place in a cinema full of people munching popcorn and chatting away as though they were in their own living room- did ruin the effect somewhat, but the good news is that the library have acquired a copy.

Keep your goosebumps well activated this Halloween and browse our abundant horror film collection.

Halloween Reading

Sometimes reading about it can be every bit as horrid as watching it. Horror books tend to be atmospheric, tension building page-turners. Just like other genres of fiction, they come in all sorts; gory, gothic, psychological, apocalyptic, supernatural, fantasy/sci-fi based, filled with monsters…the common thread being that they are designed to scare the daylights out of you. In honour of Halloween here are some starter ideas. Just in case you feel you’ve been getting a bit too much sleep.

And if you need more you can consult our brand new Horror fiction genre guide.

American Psycho

Brutal, gory serial killer novel. If you’ve seen the film by the same name, you’ll know that pop culture loving, suit-and-tie wearing Patrick Bateman is anything but a respectable businessman. Disturbing, violent, and written in the first-person narrative – you really get to go inside the head of this particular sadist.

House of Leaves

House of Leaves has inspired a cult-like following, and for good reason. It is based upon an intriguing and original premise; “a young family that moves into a small home on Ash Tree Lane where they discover something is terribly wrong: their house is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.” The story is intricate and complex, and will appeal if you enjoy a shot of literary fiction with your horror. Reads much like a documentary, and if you like found footage films, may find this to hit the spot.

The Haunting of Hill House

If you’re more into the supernatural, ‘Amityville Horror’ type (which has thankfully been proven, beyond a doubt, to be a scam), then ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is a must read classic. Atmospheric, creepy and menacing, ‘The Haunting of House Hill’ will have leave you paranoid, wary of lurking ghosts at every turn.

It

A list of horror books would simply not be complete without a nod to the [Stephen] King of horror. ‘It’ certainly fits the terrifying bill: child murder and a supernatural killer clown secures that.

Bird Box

This post-apocalyptic horror book is full of suspense and features Medusa like ‘look-at-me-and-you-die’ creatures. Just do open your eyes, unless you’re listening to the audio book version.

Endless Night

Sometimes the horrors that really get under your skin are those which hark to a potential reality. Personally, I’ve never been excessively freaked by things that I know (hope) don’t exist – the undead, ghosts, demons, monsters and the like. Home invasion? That will keep me up at night. ‘Endless Night’ will turn your nights into exactly that, as you follow the experiences of a sixteen year old girl at a sleepover turned murder-fest. Fast-paced and action packed. On a gore scale from Brother’s Grimm to Rob Zombie, this rates closer to the latter.

Let the Right One in

Ah yes, a Scandinavian horror. The Scandinavians do the darkness and the bleakness extraordinary well, after all. This book, in summation: dark, creepy, vampires. But don’t run at the mention of vampires: ‘Let the Right One in’ would make Stephanie Meyer shake in her pretty boots.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ marries two of my favourite things to find in a book: fantasy and horror, and is a classic of the genre.

The Chalk Man

‘The Chalk Man.’ Children, stick figures and dismembered bodies. No more said. This is one tale sure to traumatise.

For the kids: settle in for a reading marathon of Goosebumps by R.L. Stine.

Fear vs. Phobia

As Halloween approaches, the fake spider phenomena is really setting me on edge. But is my fear really a phobia in disguise, and can it be controlled or even conquered? According to the website of the NHS (UK):

[Phobias] develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.

Although the humble wee jumping spider might not take me down Shelob style, it may certainly send me screaming from the room. And arachnophobic librarians like me will understand that moment of primal terror directly following the unwitting retrieval of a book from the returns bin, whose front cover illustration happens to be the unspeakable, hairy, eight-legged object of mortification. And since we’re going there, I can’t help but recall the awful, PTSD inducing squashed-whitetail-between-the-cookbooks incident of 2017. Why people.

But life would be a little easier if I didn’t have to run from the room every time a spider scurried into my line of sight. Whilst it can be very difficult (and perhaps, folly) to get over your quite rational fears, it is definitely possible to conquer your phobias. Sadly one of the most effective methods is not particularly pleasant, and involves getting ever closer and more personal with the very thing you fear, in a form of therapy known as exposure. Here is a video showing the use of augmented reality as a technique to perform exposure therapy, to treat a spider phobia. This was part of research conducted at the University of Canterbury’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ), in 2012.

Take that, phobia.

If you would like help getting over your phobia, there are lots of great resources to get you started. Check out:

  • Health and Medicine eResources – on our website. For authoritative information, studies and resources on a whole host of health related issues.
  • HealthInfo Canterbury – a great website written specifically for Canterbury residents, by nurses and doctors. A good place to go for reliable, regional specific advice, resources and general health info.
  • Health Navigator New Zealand – Health Navigator NZ is a New Zealand focused charitable trust endorsed by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners- so you know you’re getting reliable information.
  • CINCH: Community Information Christchurch – our Christchurch information directory, find health local health related services here.
  • Any Questions/Many Answers – a website run by New Zealand librarians. Contains links and guidance on resources with information aimed at New Zealand school-aged students.

Join me and feel the terror. Wishing you a horrendous and hellish Halloween.

Castle Hill Hotel, West Coast Road: Picturing Canterbury

Castle Hill Hotel, West Coast Road. File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02341.

Castle Hill Hotel, West Coast Road [ca. 1890].

The original hotel on this site was built in 1865. It was replaced by another, built by Fred Harris, in 1871. A second storey was added to the building in 1881 and increased the size of the hotel to 28 rooms. It was a favourite stopping place for the West Coast coaches and was particularly renowned for the hot scones and tea it supplied to travellers. Although it was built of stone, the hotel was destroyed by fire in 1904. At this time it was owned by Messrs Fletcher, Humphries & Co. of Christchurch.

Do you have any photographs of the Castle Hill area? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Share your photos and help us to create a true picture of our city’s rich history. Anyone can contribute.

Find out more

Diego and Frida: A smile in the middle of the way – exhibition and events

South Library will play host to a stunning exhibition of photos of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera from Friday 26 October to Sunday 11 November.

Diego and Frida: A Smile in the Middle of the Way takes an intimate look at the life and relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, as seen through the lens of some of the most notable photographers of that time, including Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Ansel Adams, Guillermo Kahlo, Leo Matiz, Nickolas Muray, Edward Weston, and Guillermo Zamora. The documentary prints in the exhibition come from the Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, encompassing nearly twenty-five years of their marriage.

Diego Rivera became a legend in his native country for his vibrant murals while Frida Kahlo chose to become a painter after a car crash derailed her dream of becoming a doctor. A Smile in the Middle of the Way was presented for the first time at Casa Estudio Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City in 2002 and later around the world. This exhibition has been brought to New Zealand by the Mexican Embassy and will be hosted by Christchurch City Libraries.

Schedule of Events

Dia de Muertos: Day of the Dead

There will be a Dia de Muertos / Day of the Dead altar and informational display at South Library from Friday 26 October to Friday 2 November, and you can celebrate Dia de Muertos with a Mexican themed bilingual Spanish/English storytimes session:

Find out more about Dia de Muertos: Day of the Dead.

More about Frida and Diego

Find resources about Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in our collection.

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From Canterbury Public Library to Tūranga – 1982 / 2013 / 2018

Tūranga opened on Friday 12 October 2018. We did a bit of a historical re-enactment with the Tūranga staff.

Back in 1982, staff were moving into their fab new digs on Gloucester Street. In 2013, librarians were clearing out stuff from their old workplaces in the Central Library. In 2018, Tūranga staff were excited about opening to the public.

Canterbury Public Library staff outside the new library building on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace [1982] CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0091 Previous Photo ~ Next PhotoCentral Library staff, Gloucester Street, 28 September 2013. Flickr 2013-09-28-IMG_9406Tūranga staff. Flickr 2018-IMG_1061

One of the notable features of the old Central Library was the escalator. In Tūranga, there are the mighty Harry Potter-esque stairs.

Staff group on escalator, Central Library. Flickr CCl-150-702Gloucester Street. Saturday 28 September 2013. Flickr 2013-09-28-IMG_9380Tūranga staff. Wednesday 10 October 2018. Flickr 2018-IMG_1047

So here it is, in black and white – new central library 1982, Tūranga 2018.

Canterbury Public Library staff outside the new library building on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace [1982] CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0091Tūranga staff. Wednesday 10 October 2018. Flickr 2018-IMG_0210

And the first customers arriving is the biggest moment of all! We are so happy to welcome you to your new central library, Tūranga.

Customers waiting to enter library. January 1982. Flickr CCL-150-472Customers entering library, 1982. Flickr CCL-150-470Customers entering new libraryThe people arrive in Tūranga. Tūranga opening day. Friday 12 October 2018. Flickr TU-2018-10-12-IMG_1258Crowd waiting for ribbon-cutting

Customers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony

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NZ Bookshop Day 2018

Saturday 27th October is New Zealand Bookshop Day. Hurrah for the bookshop! There will be events, great deals on books and competitions too.

Events

Scorpio Books

What: Author talks and readings, as well as an evening literary quiz.
Author talk with Dr Simon Pollard at 10.30am (Simon is a spider biologist and award-winning author of The Genius of Bugs). Free event, activity sheets provided.
The Great Scorpio Lit Quiz at 6.30pm ($80 per table, bookings required).

When: Check Scorpio’s events page

Scorpio Books will also be running a campaign to encourage customers who make a purchase on NZ Bookshop Day to nominate a Christchurch school of their choice. Nominated schools will receive a copy of Aotearoa, Gavin Bishop’s multiple-award-winning, richly illustrated visual history of New Zealand. Scorpio Books will be donating 15% of their sales on the day towards this campaign. All nominated schools will also go in the draw to win a prize pack of New Zealand children’s books, specially selected by Scorpio staff. With support from RDU98.5FM.

Piccadilly Books

What: Childrens Book Reading 

When: Saturday 27 October, 11am to 11.30am, 2pm to 2.30pm

<h2>All about NZ Bookshop Day

Simpson & Williams, 238 High Street, Christchurch [1925] CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0007
Simpson & Williams, 238 High Street, Christchurch [1925] CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0007

Now I love working in a library. For just under forty hours a week I am surrounded by books: what more could a bibliophile want? Books have existed in one form or another since the advent of the written word. These were the days of the clay tablet, in the 3000’s BC. And we have them in abundance (books, not clay tablets).

A History of the Book in 100 Books

So it follows that I also have a tender spot for the old bookshop. For whilst I relish bringing books home from the library, there are some that I don’t much want to take back. The library may frown upon me keeping their books indefinitely, but if I’ve really fallen for one, I simply must own my own copy. I put this down to nostalgia, wanting to show off to house guests how well read I am and financial impulsivity…I’m woman so naturally when that magical word ‘SALE’ pops up out comes the credit card. That week when Scorpio Books upped sticks and had their big moving sale was a good week for me and my bookshelf.

Thankfully we do have plenty of exceptional, local, well established bookshops here in Christchurch. They come in all sorts. Old, modern, cosy, expansive, dusty, sterile…

There are the chain bookshops (seem more like gift shops to me), the independent and specialist bookshops, and of course the beloved secondhand bookshops where you can find all manner of out-of-print, sentimental gems. I still cherish my older editions of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five; I get a lot more enjoyment from seeing them on my bookshelf than if they were sparkling and new (or, god forbid, those treacherous 21st Century-ified editions). Oh, and there’s the online bookshop too. A bottomless pit where a person like me can inexplicably lose hours of life.

Aside: There was one aforementioned chain bookshop I did very much enjoy spending time in – Borders – but we know how that turned out. I could spend hours in Borders with my dad, perusing the ancient history/mythology section. Alas.

Mythology offering: witty Stephen Fry’s latest, Mythos

Canterbury Bookshops

Here are a few of the local Canterbury bookshops – new and secondhand – where you might just find your inner peace, and something to add to your permanent collection.

Local Christchurch Bookshops

  • Scorpio Books – after residing on Riccarton Road for a while, plus a stint at the container mall, they have now settled at the BNZ Centre in the CBD. They are a friendly bunch, and if they don’t have exactly what you’re after then they seem happy enough to order it in. Scorpio Books is a place where I must always take my time. Great range!
  • UBS – University of Canterbury Bookshop. Anyone can shop here! They have a good selection of books, at surprisingly palatable prices (excluding textbooks, eek). While you are there, be sure to visit one of the University libraries. They are trialing free membership to Canterbury residents until the end of the year (and hopefully beyond).
  • Piccadilly Books – situated in Avonhead Mall, they have an impressive magazine selection and friendly staff.
  • Christian Superstore – oh boy, I might need a good dousing in holy water before stepping here. They are a large bookshop with an expansive array of Christian material. They supply churches around the country and in the Cook Islands too.

Secondhand Bookshops That are Far From Second Rate

  • Smith’s Bookshop – Their old shop was destroyed in the earthquakes but they have a new permanent home in the Tannery (a very hip place where, by the way, you may also find some amazing pastries). They stock rare books; antiquarian books; secondhand books; new books; magazines and art supplies! My kind of place. Here you will find plenty of local content and first editions. Just you try not to sneeze.
  • Dove Bookshop – in Bishopdale Mall, New Brighton Mall and Harewood Road. I have unearthed some nice pre-loved finds in here.

  • The Chertsey Bookbarn – it’s a bookshop in a barn and it’s in the middle of nowhere…well in Chertsey, just after the Rakaia River and right before you hit Ashburton. But you will not regret the petrol spent. Imagine: you arrive to find a dimly lit, relatively secluded barn. You step inside – tall shelves tower above, brimming with books- and as you move forward the narrow passage closes in and you find yourself amidst a veritable labyrinth…of books. Where was the exit again? You don’t know and don’t care. Are those footsteps you hear from behind? Is it a scene from a horror film? A dream?

My Pick of the Online Bookshops

  • The Children’s Bookshop – a smaller online bookstore with material aimed at children and young adults. There is also a handy learning resources section with books on foreign languages, te reo, language, vocabulary and maths.
  • Mighty Ape – a NZ owned online bookshop operating out of their distribution centre in Auckland, with really fast shipping (same day shipping offered to most of the major cities).
  • Bookhaven – another NZ online bookshop, selling used books. They do have a small shop in Wellington but most of their stock is contained in warehouses around the country.
  • Abebooks – but you must be patient. Sourced from somewhat further afield, your order will likely be coming from the US or UK! Abebooks searches the catalogues of independent bookshops worldwide, to find great deals. I have often found exactly what I want on here, and at good prices too. They list both new and used titles, and some shops offer free shipping. In fact this is a great place to get textbooks from, just be somewhat organised about it and don’t wait until the last minute.
  • Book Depository – an international online bookshop, with free delivery and oftentimes great discounts.

And should all else fail, your local library could probably get a copy 😉

Digital Images

Here are some photographs of Christchurch bookshops gone by, for reminiscences.

Second Hand Books, 390 Colombo Street. Kete Christchurch Colombo_Street_390.jpg
Second Hand Books, 390 Colombo Street. Kete Christchurch Colombo_Street_390.jpg
Arnold Books. Kete Christchurch New_Regent_Street_-_6_June_2006__DSCN3794.JPG
Arnold Books. Kete Christchurch New_Regent_Street_-_6_June_2006__DSCN3794.JPG
Smith’s Bookshop 127 to 139 Manchester Street. Kete Christchurch Manchester_Street_127_to_139_Corner.jpg

These images are from Kete Christchurch, our online local history resource.

Books About Bookshops

Cover

Are there any Christchurch bookshops you love that I have missed? Any online book-shopping secrets you wish to divulge? Happy NZ Bookshop Day!

When Death Jumped Ship exhibition – 12 to 27 October

Hard on the heels on World War One, the 1918 influenza pandemic was the worst health disaster of the 20th century. Worldwide, over 50 million people died and here in Aotearoa 9,000 New Zealanders lost their lives to the flu in only two months. What was it like? How did people deal with this disaster 100 years ago?

When Death Jumped Ship - Remembering the 1918 Influenza Pandemic
When Death Jumped Ship – Remembering the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. Lyttelton Library and Lyttelton Museum Exhibition on from 12 to 27 October 2018. Flickr 2018-October-IMG_3054

For 100th anniversary of the arrival of the pandemic in New Zealand, Christchurch City Libraries and the Lyttelton Museum have teamed up to tell this story in an exhibition detailing the local response in Lyttelton and Christchurch. They have brought together a fascinating range of images, artifacts and stories from that time and recreated a 1918 medicine depot complete with an inhalation device for preventative treatment!

This is a travelling display and will be featuring at libraries around Christchurch. The exhibition is on at:

  • Papanui Library until Friday 9 November,
  • Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre from Monday 19 November to Friday 7 December,
  • South Library from Monday 10 December to Friday 28 December,
  • Tūranga in January 2019.

If you’d like to read more about the 1918 influenza pandemic and the local response take a look at Geoffrey Rice’s Black Flu 1918 and Black November: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in New Zealand and information and images on our website.

Exhibition history

The exhibition ran for two weeks until 27 October at Lyttelton Library and there were two fantastic free talks at the library:

Kōrerorero mai – Join the conversation.