Take a trip with the 2015 Christchurch Photo Hunt

Since 2008, Christchurch City Libraries has been pursuing your old photos. Why? Because they are a fantastic record of local history. The pics go onto our Kete Christchurch – the repository of all kinds of Ōtautahi images.

This year’s theme is ‘Arrivals and Departures — The journeys that have shaped us’. We want your images related to this subject. You could win a tablet or eReader. Find out more, and enter in a library or online.

Christchurch Photo Hunt

There are four cool postcards you’ll spot in libraries – feel free to grab a few. They feature some top travel pics – perfect inspiration!

Christchurch Photo Hunt postcards
Christchurch Photo Hunt postcards [2.24MB PDF]

Akaroa Regatta
Regatta. Akaroa. 1907. Kete Christchurch 1907_Regatta_Ship_R_3391B.jpg
Boyce Refrigerated Truck being manoeuvred off the steamer Hinemoa
Boyce Refrigerated Truck being manoeuvred off the steamer Hinemoa, Kete Christchurch CCL-Kete001-002.jpg
London to Christchurch Air Race 1953
London to Christchurch Air Race 1953, Kete Christchurch IMG_0001.jpg
Waka, Okain’s Bay, 1977
Waka, Okain’s Bay, 1977.  Flickr HWC08-SO-101

Have a look back at Photo Hunts gone by:

Make a Fun Palaces comic

Get your Fun Palaces on right now with the Fun Palaces Comic Maker!

You can drag and drop characters inspired by Emily Medley’s original Fun Palaces illustration into a comic-book story. Just move the images around, and add captions to tell your own Fun Palace adventure. Once it is looking slick,:

  • “Preview” – you can save the image to your computer
  • “Submit” and add to the already expanding collection of Fun Palace comics which will be shared at funpalaces.tumblr.com.

Here’s my maiden effort.


Kia ora and big ups to the very talented Talia Yat and Phil Gullberg of the State Library of Queensland who made the Fun Palaces comic maker, based on a concept by man-who-makes-things-happen (and library lover)  Matt Finch.

See you at Fun Palaces – it is on tomorrow and Sunday (3 and 4 October). The first Fun Palaces in the world this year will be the Christchurch ones!

Connecting Christchurch educators – 31 days of blogging with ChchEd

Are you a teacher, or interested in education? There is a group in Christchurch doing fab work – they’re called Christchurch Connected Educators or Chched. You might see the hashtag #chched on Twitter. Their aim is to create connections between educators across the Canterbury region. It is a strong forum for sharing ideas and making things happen.

This month they bring you 31 Days of Blogging:

A celebration of the awesome things happening in Canterbury schools.

Danny from our South Learning Centre will be posting on 3 October.  I’m interested to hear what he has to say – read his previous posts on hoverboards, Living Walls, 3D printing, and Minecraft.


So subscribe to the Chched blog – get ideas, inspiration, and encouragement.

Choo, choo, choose the BIG Model Train Show

It’s all go in Christchurch this weekend. There are Fun Palaces, Plant Parades and sing-a-longs happening in the centre of the city over the weekend and the activities look exciting. But make time to chug along to Pioneer Stadium where you will be in for a real treat.

The annual Christchurch Model Train Show brings together some of the best model railways in the South Island and has an expected 30 layouts.

If you are interested in New Zealand railways in miniature then check out the One Track Minds module and be amazed by their detailed handiwork.

Our Model Railway resources

Cover of Creating realistic landscapes for model railwaysCover of Airbrushing for railway modellersCover of Planning, designing and making railway layouts in small spacesCover of Layout design

Bonjour French Fest!

No doubt like many of you, I grew up learning French at school. For seven years I practiced saying helpful phrases like Ouvre la fenêtre; and Il y a un autobus. I must have enjoyed it, because I then chose to study French at university. As a consequence, decades later, I can fake the BEST French accent, order coffee authentically, and pronounce the word croissant like a pro.

French Fest

My early exposure to French language and culture has also, however, left me with an enduring love for all things Gallic. So Akaroa’s biennial French Fest – happening this year from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th October – is a celebration I would very dearly love to attend. Malheureusement, I will be away that weekend, so I will be relying on all of you to do your best to pop over the hill and join in the celebrations.

And there’s a lot to celebrate – this year marks the 175th anniversary of the first organised European settlement. You can choose to mark the occasion by attending Friday night’s Fête des Lumières Street Party, or watch the following morning’s re-enactment of the landing of the settlers from the French ship Comte de Paris. Saturday also offers Le Jour du Marché, with a street market at the showgrounds, and on Sunday you can join in (or just watch!) a game of Ki-o-Rahi – a traditional Māori ball game played by two teams on a circular pitch that was taught to the French settlers.

As an added bonus, French Fest has this year partnered with Beca Heritage Week, and has the honour of offering the very first event in that festival’s programme. So much to see and do! Je suis jaloux that you will be able to attend – perhaps as a small favour I could ask you to bring me back a croissant, or possibly even pain au chocolat.

French books
French books at Central Library Peterborough. Flickr 2015-09-23-IMG_9541

Akaroa info

More French stuff

L'Hebdo magazine Cover of French Vogue Cover of Nina

Get yer Fun Palaces on – Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 October

Free, pop-up Fun Palaces will be hosting exciting arts, science and culture activities for people of all ages and abilities this weekend. New Zealand will be the first place in the world to get our Fun Palace on!

Fun Palaces

My sister in London will be Fun Palace-ing too – Story Telling For Big Kids and Little Kids at the Brockwell Lido Fun Palace. Meanwhile, in Christchurch I will be with the whanau sampling events at our Fun Palaces HQ Central Library Peterborough. But wait – there’s more!


Be There lists all the local Fun Palaces.  You can win too – snap a selfie at any of the Fun Palaces and upload to your social media accounts with the hashtag #funpalaceschch and you are in the draw to WIN a bicycle worth up to $2,000. See you there!

Body Festival 2015

The Body Festival is Christchurch’s annual event of dance and physical theatre. This year it runs from 25 September to 11 October. Participation is an important part of the festival which gives everyone an excuse to give it a go and get their body moving!

As always this year’s event offers a broad range of dance workshops and beginners’ classes as well as performances and exhibitions.

The opening night event, No Lights No Lycra was energising (and sweaty) with the kind of upbeat playlist sure to get a body moving, but there are plenty of other opportunities to “trip the light fantastic”.

Dance o mat, 2012
Dance o mat, 2012, Flickr CCL-2012-03-21-IMG_0499

Don’t miss these highlights of the festival –

Speed dancing at TedX
If you’re not sure what kind of dance style suits, you can try out a range of them in quick succession at the Dance-O-Mat.
Library leotards
Body Festival 2008, Flickr CCL-2013-01-15-DSC09707
Retro Aerobics
Flash back to the 1980s and “feel the burn” with this homage to the workout videos of Jane Fonda. Bring your legwarmers and leotards!
Outstanding Feet
A celebration of the diversity of dancing talent sourced from the high schools of Canterbury.
A day of hip hop
Watch a dance movie and become inspired before you join in on one of the hip hop workshops, or all three of them: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Feeling inspired and want to know more?

This week in Christchurch history (28 September to 4 October)

28 September 1864
Re-built Victoria Bridge opens. It is probably the country’s first iron and stone bridge.

29 September 1978
Friendship Corner opens by the Bridge of Remembrance. After a heated public debate over whether the area should be used for parking, the Council decided to plant the area with trees representing Christchurch’s sister cities.

30 September 1972
New Town Hall complex and James Hay Theatre (designed by Warren and Mahoney) opens. Ferrier Fountain commissioned.

1 October 1870
Opening of Canterbury Museum building, designed by B.W. Mountfort.

Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch [ca. 1885], CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0090
Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch [ca. 1885], CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0090
1 October 1948
City Council takes over Canterbury Public Library from University.

1 October 1953
Over 3000 hectares of Waimairi (showgrounds area), Heathcote (Bromley area) and Estuary included in City.

2 October 1916
Opawa joins city.

3 October 1988
Park Royal Hotel opens in Victoria Square.

More September and October events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

“You tell lies to get close to the truth” – Joe Bennett

‘Twas a damp and misty Christchurch evening, supposedly Spring but feeling more like Winter, when a gathering of Christchurch people came to a WORD Christchurch event to hear celebrated columnist and author Joe Bennett talk about his new book – King Rich.

Despite nearly giving up partway through, Joe was persuaded by his publisher to continue the story that had begun  – where else ? – at the pub.He’d written a column about the man living in the Hotel Grand Chancellor Hotel, since demolished, and the nub of the story had stayed lurking in the back of his mind. Was it an urban myth? Who knows? Does that matter?

Hotel Grand Chancellor
Views of the Hotel Grand Chancellor and surrounds. January 2012. Flickr: CCL-2012-01-12-IMG_8860-HotelGrandChancellor

It was fascinating to hear the process of how the column had grown into a novel. No, he hadn’t met any red zone dwellers, hadn’t felt the need too. No, the dog Friday was not a kindred spirit and could not have been a cat, but yes, the name was based on Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.

“As the writer you are the puppeteer, but you’ve got to be invisible: to write yourself out it, which is very different from writing a column.”

“I’m a literary bastard,” he said, ” I read stuff and I want to be moved by it.”

“It’s a book about love, that’s the nub of where we live.”

WORD Christchurch tweets from the event:

Cover of fish like a drink Cover of Double happiness Cover of Celebrity Cat recipes Cover of The World's your lobster Cover of Where underpants come from?

Looking ahead to SCAPE 8 – New intimacies

I love the biennial public art festival SCAPE. You can read about what’s coming, but there is nothing like seeing the art in situ. I disagree with Christopher Moore’s column in The Press. Our central city is the ultimate canvas – art within it gives us a sense of possibility, of imagination, of beauty. We need that.

Stay by Antony Gormley is the legacy public artwork, joining such Christchurch landmarks as:

Treehouses for Swamp Dwellers by Julia Morison (2014)
House for Swamp dwellers by Julia Morison

Kaleidoscopic Nights by Rachael Dewhirst (2013)
Kaleidoscopic Nights - Rachael Dewhirst SCAPE mural

Passing time by Anton Parsons (2010/2011)
Passing time

Flour power by Regan Gentry (2008)
Flour Power

Nucleus by Phil Price (2006)
Phil Price Nucleus - Manchester Street and High Street

SCAPE 8 New Intimacies takes place from 3 October to 15 November 2015. Explore the public programme of events and new site-specific art works created for SCAPE 8.

There has been a flurry of media coverage. Try these to get a good sense of what’s on its way:

SCAPE Public Art installs free-to-view public art in Christchurch. SCAPE have gifted 9 permanent artworks and commissioned more than 160 temporary works.