Talking about Christchurch

Cover of Once in a lifetimeThe team at Freerange Press brought you one of the best books of 2014 – Once in a Lifetime: City-building after Disaster in Christchurch. Now they come bearing Talking Heads – a series of talks that explore the current state of play in Christchurch and expand upon themes and issues explored in the book.

The first discussion – Talking Heads #1 – is on the topic of asset sales. Councillor Raf Manji will be talking with one of the book’s editors James Dann.

Raf will be talking about how the council reached its decision to include selling assets as part of its response to Christchurch’s current financial situation (submissions for which close on April 28).

The talk is on Thursday 23 April 5.30pm at EPIC (96 Manchester Street, opposite Alices). James will also take questions from the floor, so you will get the chance to have your say.

Copies of the book Once in a Lifetime: City-building after Disaster in Christchurch will be available for $40.

Anzac Day in Christchurch and Canterbury 2015

Saturday 25 April 2015 is Anzac Day.

Commemorative services often begin before dawn with a march by returned and service personnel to the local war memorial, where they are joined by other members of the community for the Dawn Service.

25 April 2015 also marks a hundred years since Gallipoli. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) troops first landed on the beaches of the Gallipoli Peninsula, in Turkey on 25 April 1915.
New Christchurch RSA Building, Armagh Street

Library hours

Check our library hours over Anzac weekend. All libraries are closed on Saturday 25 April, but open as normal on Sunday 26 April. On Monday 27 April, Linwood, Papanui and South Libraries and our telephone service 941 7923 will be open from 10am to 4pm. All other libraries will remain closed.

Christchurch services and events

The following information is from the Christchurch City Council community events page.

Dawn service

The dawn service will be held in Cranmer Square.

  • 6am–6.15am: the people gather
  • 6.15am: the parade begins
  • 6.30am: the service begins centred around the memorial cenotaph
  • 7.15am: the service concludes with wreath-laying

Organised by the Canterbury Branch of the Malayan Veterans Association in conjunction with the Christchurch Branch of the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RSA) and Christchurch City Council.

Mayor Lianne Dalziel will lay a wreath on behalf of the citizens of Christchurch.

Citizens’ Service: 10am – ChristChurch Transitional Cathedral, Latimer Square

Organised by Christchurch City Council in conjunction with ChristChurch Cathedral and the RSA. It will be attended by representatives of the Defence Force, Consular Corps and various Christchurch youth groups.

Find more Anzac Day services

Other Anzac events

Fields of Remembrance

The Canterbury Province Field in Cranmer Square will contain 632 crosses commemorating the men and women of Christchurch who died in 1915. The Fields of Remembrance Trust has researched the names of men and women from each region who died on active service in 1915 and subsequent years. Download the list of names for Canterbury 1915 [103KB PDF]


MainPower Season of ANZAC Rangiora Town Hall

Gallipoli 100 – ANZAC Remembered 2015 Woolston Brass’ special ANZAC concert marks the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign. Featuring The Christchurch City Choir, the concert will be held at the Charles Luney Auditorium (St. Margaret’s College) Saturday 25 April 2pm.

See our photos of the new Christchurch RSA building on Armagh Street, officially opened on 27 March 2015.

Find out more:

Cycle to your library day, and cycling librarians

On Tuesday 14 April 2015 we are celebrating Cycle to your Library Day. Cycle to the library and you will get a backpack with reflective strips to carry your books (while stocks last). Show us your bicycle helmet and let us know you cycled to the library.

Cycle to your Library - FB post FINAL

Cycling is a fast, healthy and cost-effective so why not ride one to your library and celebrate with us.

Many famous minds have talked about bicycles:

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. H. G. Wells

My fellow cycling librarians would certainly agree. The first librarian I’d like to introduce you to bikes in all weathers.

Cyclist arriving at work
Life long cyclist arriving at work

I ride a Blue Bauer and have been cycling since the age of six. I still enjoy going for a bike ride although do not go as far afield these days. Biking is something I have always done, it keeps you fit and healthy. I keep myself safe on the road by paying attention to traffic, planning and looking ahead.

If you start young you will develop confidence, the more experienced you get the more you are likely to cycle and feel confident on the road. Getting into cycling as a young child as I did around home then taking longer bike rides to the park made it an easy natural process. The most enjoyable thing about biking is it helps me unwind and relax about the day in the evening.

Bicycles are a metaphor for life:

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. Charles M. Schulz

Let me introduce you to somebody who I know uses all his gears.

Someone who uses all his gears
Someone who uses all his gears

I cycle to work, to meet friends, to the supermarket. As long as I’m not picking up a fridge, I’ll bike there. I used to bike from the Port Hills to Redwood and back every day, but working at Peterborough is luckily a lot closer!

I started cycling primarily because I was frustrated with changes to the bus routes and the many delays, but it also saves money. It’s healthy, cheap, great for the environment, and convenient. I confess to being a fair weather cyclist. This isn’t a big problem in dry Canterbury, however. My advice to keeping yourself safe when cycling is to repeat the cycle safe incantation three times while riding backwards on a full moon Or wear hi-vis and bright lights and remain aware of your surroundings, whichever is easier.

The best way to start out cycling is to stay on quiet roads. Get off and walk across pedestrian crossings if you’re afraid of turning across traffic and never underestimate the importance of a comfy bike seat. The most enjoyable part of cycling is riding with a tail-wind on an off-road bike path with no earthquake damage.

The journey of life is like a man riding a bicycle. We know he got on the bicycle and started to move. We know that at some point he will stop and get off. We know that if he stops moving and does not get off he will fall off. William Golding

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. Helen Keller – An inspiration to us all Helen Keller rode a tandem bicycle.

Short of stature, but bike of heart is our last cycling librarian:

Short of stature big of heart
Short of stature big of heart

I ride a hybrid road/mountain bike. It has front suspension and is rather comfortable to ride. It is probably too big for me but I feel more visible on the road on it. I bike everywhere! – work, university, shops, visiting, bike trails and have done since I was a child but got back into it seriously as a form of transport when I was going out to the university.

Usually I bike up to an hour a day depending on what I have scheduled that day. I would bike everyday – but some days it is almost impossible when the wind gets up and the rain starts tumbling. It is about fitness, as I enjoy it as an alternative to running. As a form of transport it is both kind on the budget and environmentally friendly. Christchurch with its flat terrain is a cycle-friendly city. I’d like to encourage others to get out and join me and to show that it is possible.

My safety tip is to be prepared to stop at all times! I make myself visible through wearing bright clothing and riding to be seen. I also use a flashing red light on my backpack even during the day. I am constantly scanning the road and footpaths ahead of me and I try to predict what people are going to do before it happens but as I said – I must be prepared to stop at all times.

The best way to start out cycling is to go out for short trips with family or friends – use designated bike tracks so that you can get used to handling the bike under different circumstances without having to worry about traffic.The best thing about cycling besides arriving safely to my destination is getting out and moving!

Library staff cycling through Christchurch town centre
Library staff cycling through Christchurch town centre, At the intersection of High, Manchester and Lichfield Streets. 1980s. Flickr Arch-52-PH-07-21

You may be surprised to know librarians have a proud tradition of biking to work. Some of us bike only when it’s a fine day. others are out in all weathers, some travel far, and others just round the corner.

How far is it to your local library? Do you bike to the library or work? Is bicycling part of your life?

For further information try our cycling pages or blog posts and Zinio cycling magazines. Search the catalogue for: Bicycle times cover

This week in Christchurch history (13 to 19 April)

13 April 1876
Visit of tightrope walker Blondin.

Lady Racing Cyclist, Lancaster Park, Christchurch [ca. 1896]
Lady Racing Cyclist, Lancaster Park, Christchurch [ca. 1896], CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0062
13 April 1896
City hosts the first meeting of the National Council of Women.

16 April 1851
First sale of Christchurch town sections.

16 April 1974
Flooding throughout city after record rainfall – 124mm (4.89 inches) in 24 hours.

17 April 1880
First championship cycle meeting, Hagley Park.

18 April 1864
First Ferrymead (swing) bridge opens.

19 April 1873
Christchurch Golf Club formed. The first course was in Hagley Park.

19 April 1988
Proposal for 152 metre tower in Victoria Square abandoned after much public debate.

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

John Robert Godley arrived in Canterbury 165 years ago today

On 12 April 1850 John Robert Godley, first leader of the Canterbury Association settlers, arrived with his wife in Lyttelton on the Lady Nugent. He quarreled with Captain Thomas, and departed for Wellington, but returned 28 November.John Robert Godley. Ref: 1/2-005079-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
John Robert Godley. Ref: 1/2-005079-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Godley married Charlotte Griffith Wynne in September 1846. The family arrived in Port Cooper (Lyttelton) in April 1850. He was met by Captain Thomas and shown the plans for three towns, and housing for the new settlers at Lyttelton.

The fleet of the first four ships reached Lyttelton in December 1850 and was met by Godley. He was the leader of the settlement for the next two years, and in this time changed the Canterbury Association’s conditions for the pastoral leases (land in the surrounding countryside leased for farming), so that the new settlement was able to make a good start to establishing a strong farming base.

Godley believed that the purpose of the Association was to found Canterbury, not govern it, and that the people making a life in the new settlement should decide how it was run, not people in England.

Godley returned to England in December 1852, where he wrote for some of the newspapers on the subject of colonial reform. He later worked for the War Office and continued to argue for self-government for the British colonies.

Godley died on 17 November 1861 in London. In 1867 the citizens of Christchurch erected a statue of him in Cathedral Square inscribed:

John Robert Godley, Founder of Canterbury

The statue, the first public commemorative statue in New Zealand unveiled to a single person, was sculpted by the English Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner. The statue fell from its plinth during the 22 February 2011 earthquake. It was on display in the Quake City exhibition in the Re:START Mall and is now back in Cathedral Square.
Godley Statue, Cathedral Square

Tuesday 10 March 2015. Flickr 2015-03-10-IMG_6239

This week in Christchurch history (6 to 12 April)

6 April 1982
Premiere of “Roadshow” road safety stage show. The show was later taken on a national tour for 6 months from February 1983. It played to a total audience of over 250,000, probably the biggest of any New Zealand musical show.

7 April 1859
Canterbury Rifles organised – the first military force in the Province. It was formed as a result of the Taranaki land wars.

Photo of Lyttelton and harbour [ca. 1888]
Lyttelton and harbour [ca. 1888] Coxhead, F. A. (Frank Arnold), b. 1851, CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0034
8 April 1883
First shipment of frozen “Canterbury lamb” leaves Lyttelton for the United Kingdom on the British King.

10-12 April 1981
Visit by Prince of Wales.

10 April 1882
Joubert and Twopenny’s New Zealand International Exhibition opens in South Hagley Park. The exhibition, complete with an educated pig and an armless lady, drew a total attendance of over 250,000 until it closed on July 15.

10 April 1965
Airport becomes New Zealand’s first jet airport with the inauguration of the first regular jet flights from Christchurch to Australia.

11 April 1968
Wahine storm (the city’s worst recorded storm) causes one death and widespread wind and flood damage.

12 April 1840
Sarah and Elizabeth lands Herriot, McGillivray, Ellis, Shaw (and wife) and McKinnon (with his wife and child) who try to establish a farm at Riccarton. They are the first European settlers on the plains.

12 April 1850
John Robert Godley, first leader of the Canterbury Association settlers, arrives with his wife in Lyttelton on Lady Nugent. He quarrels with Thomas, and departs for Wellington, not returning until November 28. (It appears that he had no intention of settling permanently in the new colony.)

Photo of statue of John  Robert Godley, Cathedral Square [ca. 1930]
The statue of John Robert Godley, Cathedral Square, pictured in the Cathedral grounds [ca. 1930], CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0022
More April events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

This week in Christchurch history (30 March to 5 April)

Plans for New Regent Street
Drawings & Proposed New Street connecting Armagh & Gloucester Street showing roadway & front elevation west to New Regent Street, CCCPlans New-Regent-28-4

30 March 1883
Two young boys die of exposure on the Port Hills. Monuments can still be seen near the Rapaki Track.

31 March 1863
21 Canterbury military volunteers sail north on “Phoebe” for duty in the Waikato land wars.

1 April 1932
New Regent Street opens, built on the site of the old Colosseum.

1 April 1949
Sign of the Takahe opens. This was the completion of the Summit Road developments begun by Harry Ell in 1908.

Photograph of Sign of the Takahe in the making [ca. 1927]
Sign of the Takahe in the making [ca. 1927], CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0086
3 April 1967
Re-built Ferrymead Bridge opens.

5 April 1844
Frederick Tuckett and a party including surveyors, land at Lyttelton from the “Deborah” looking for a suitable site for a Scottish settlement in the South Island. They subsequently got lost in the swamps, so it is not surprising that their eventual choice was Otago, not Canterbury.

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

This week in Christchurch history (23 to 29 March)

Cover of The Road to the West Coast23 March 1866
Road to the West Coast officially opens.

23 March 1977
Durham Street overbridge opens.

24 March 1887
First City Council offices open. This building at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street was designed by S. Hurst Seager. It was the first public building in Christchurch to break with the prevailing tradition of Gothic, Classic or Venetian style.

The Christchurch City Council Chambers on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street [ca. 1890]
The Christchurch City Council Chambers on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street [ca. 1890], CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0034
25 March 1879
New Zealand’s first telephones in operation in City.

25 March 1930
New Zealand’s first country library service begins as Canterbury adult rural education scheme under the auspices of the W.E.A.

27 March 1848
Canterbury Association decides to buy land from the New Zealand Company.

27 March 1856
First wool cargo shipped to London from Lyttelton (via Auckland).

28 March 1981
New South Brighton bridge opens.

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

The New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival 2015

Book cover of Jazz: A History of America's MusicThe Cavell Leitch New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival is coming to Christchurch from 7 to 12 April 2015. The festival has been providing Christchurch with great international and local performers since 1999. This year there are a variety of ways to get some jazz in your life, from lunchtime concerts in The Gym at the Arts Centre, to music matched with food and wine at The George with the Jazz Dine series.

James Morrison’s A to Z of Jazz looks to be one of the highlights of the festival. Accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne’s James Morrison presents a musical journey through the history of jazz showcasing his talents as a multi-instrumentalist. Many different styles and eras of jazz will be represented with music from jazz legends like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. If you want to get a crash course in jazz or just want to experience some jazz classics played live, check it out on Saturday 11 April.

Cover of DukeYou can get a taste of James Morrison’s A to Z of Jazz through our Freegal eResource. To learn more about James Morrison, have a read of his biography from our Oxford Music Online eResource.

Another highlight of the festival is England’s Hank Marvin playing as part of the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz quartet. He is a musical icon that has transcended genres, from his innovative slap-back guitar echo and early rock ‘n roll with The Shadows through to solo albums and folk-jazz. When playing music with the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz he is accompanied by accordion, rhythm guitar and bass players which is an original folk-jazz sound. Have a listen live on Friday 10 April.

Have a look at items related to Hank Marvin in our library catalogue. You can also find him in our Freegal eResource. To find out more about Hank Marvin, have a read of his biography from our Oxford Music Online eResource.

Book cover of Bloody MaryOther performers this year include:

Listen online to some of our Jazz & Blues eResources:

  • Jazz Music Library includes works licensed from legendary record labels, including Audiophile, Concord Jazz, Jazzology, Milestone, Nessa Records, Original Jazz Classics, Pablo, and Prestige. Also included are Marian McPartland’s Peabody Award winning Piano Jazz Radio Broadcasts and never before released performances from the Monterey Jazz Festival and great jazz venues. Listen online to 1000s of great jazz tracks.
  • American Song provides online access to over 100,000 tracks from  every genre and music period of American history.
  • Freegal lets you download and keep free tracks from their huge database which includes Jazz, Big Band and Blues.

Read some of our previous jazz and blues blog posts, including posts about previous New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festivals.

Big Bargain Book Sale – this Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March


The annual world famous in Christchurch Big Bargain Book Sale is at the Pioneer Recreation & Sport Centre, 75 Lyttelton Street, Spreydon.

  • Friday 20 March 2015 9am – 7pm

  • Saturday 21 March 2015 9am – 4pm

We don’t recommend frying our books. Buy ’em, don’t fry ’em.

Big bargain book sale banner