Many might assume that an old friend has returned to New Brighton.
But it is, in fact, a replica.
Along with the lighthouse, the concrete whale has been an iconic feature of the pool at the New Brighton playground for over forty years. Known as the ‘whale pool’, such is the attachment that local residents have towards it, that when a survey was held in 2016, asking them what they expected from a redevelopment of the playground and pool, 90 per cent of the respondees stated that they wished for the whale to remain.
Children of Christchurch were first introduced to the whale in 1971, when, after years of planning, the playground opened on 16 December.
The origins of the playground lie in the formation of the New Brighton Pier and Foreshore Society which was established in 1964 to save the historic New Brighton pier (built in 1894) from demolition. Although the pier was eventually demolished in 1965, the society continued to serve the community. In 1967 the organisation decided to build a children’s playground and pool.
The northern carpark by the beach was chosen as the location, and in 1968 proposed designs were made. In the following year they were submitted to the Christchurch City Council but these were rejected as inadequate. To remedy this, the society hired a professional architect to bring their plans up to a required standard. Eventually these plans were scaled down, and when presented again to the council in 1971, they were approved. The pool and playground were completed in time for the summer holidays.
Like many of the other paddling pools in Christchurch, the whale pool was damaged during the February 2011 earthquake. Repairs were made and the pool officially reopened on 17 November 2012.
As early as 1998, there had been discussions surrounding the concept of a saltwater hot pool complex at New Brighton. After the restoration of the whale pool, the idea was raised once again. In December 2016 the council approved the funding for the Beachside Playground and coastal protection works to be carried out by Development Christchurch Limited. Construction on the new playground began in August 2017 after a sod turning ceremony was held.
Although it was initially planned to keep the old whale (but with a new water jet installed), an engineer’s assessment found that it would not survive the relocation. Given that it was important for the whale to remain a part of the playground, a fibreglass mould was made and a replica whale produced. The ‘clone’ of the original was set into place on 5 December.
The new playground (complete with replica whale) is scheduled to open on Wednesday 20 December 2017 at 10.30am.
Find out more
View photographs of the 2012 whale pool reopening in Kete Christchurch.
Plains, Port Hills & Peninsula – Finding our way was the theme for 2017.
This year we had some excellent individual photographs and collections submitted telling wonderful stories of people, family and Christchurch. Thank you so much for sharing your memories and contributing to our photographic history.
This year’s judges were Sarah Snelling the Digital Curation Librarian and Masha Oliver, Information Librarian at Central Manchester Library joined by Jacqui Stewart from the Kete Christchurch Team. They met on 27 November to decide on the winners in the categories of Places – Your landmarks in time, Your People – How we lived, and an overall winner.
All category winners and highly commended entries win a book prize.
This year’s entries
Photographs date from 1913 to October 2017 and it has been a great to receive so many photographs from the 1960s, 70s and 1980s. Of note is the collection of photographs from Cynthia Roberts. These photos document women involved in the Christchurch Women’s Resource Centre in the 1970s.
The judges noted that this year the photos reflected Christchurch’s social history, depicting everything from anti-nuclear awareness and anti-mining protesting to Cantabrians at work and play. We also see buildings and landscapes that have been lost due to development and earthquakes.
Several entries are recent photographs beautifully highlighting the magnificent landscape we live in.
This image was awarded the overall winner for multiple reasons. One of the judges commented that so much was being told by the photograph it has an almost illustrative quality to it. A strong composition is balanced by the people in the foreground. This photograph was taken in 1980 and shows Māori, Pākehā, a family group and people of different age groups. The woman with the pram and suitcase fits in with the “finding our way” theme. The image shows people in places and a sense of community spirit.
This photograph is part of a wider collection that Cynthia submitted focusing on people in the 1970s and 1980s. Our digital heritage collection has really been enhanced by Cynthia’s photographs.
Group by Lyttelton Harbour, 1948. Doug Bovett.
Doug’s image is part of a wider collection of twelve photographs taken by his mother in the late 1940s. The collection shows pictures of a group of friends that caught the daily train from Rangiora to Papanui High School and went tramping and socialised together, showing what young people did in their leisure time.
The judges fell in love with the images of young women enjoying themselves and living life in post WWII Christchurch.
It was noted that this photograph has a feeling of a modern selfie and that really not much changes in 69 years. Teenagers still hang out and take photos of themselves. It was also commented that the clothing was not the active wear and shoes we wear now but everyday clothes, maybe even school uniform.
Making a Yogi Bear Snowman in the evening, 1976. June Hunt.
June Hunt’s photograph of the snowman was highly commended as this photo and her other submissions show her story and everyday family life in 1970s Christchurch. The excitement of the first snow, the clothes people wore and what people did in their leisure time.
Masons preparing stone for the Memorial Church Tai Tapu, 1930s. Bryan Bates.
This photograph was judged as highly commended as it tells such a lot about what was happening in post-WWI New Zealand. We can see what men wore to work – craftsmen doing a trade that may have been in its decline. The depiction of stonemasons working on stone to build a church when so many of our stone churches has gone after the earthquakes is also significant.
Leader of the band, 1913. Name withheld
This photograph is one of the oldest we received this year. It shows Fredrick Wilson the leader of the Stanmore Brass band in 1913. The Wilson family ran the tearooms at the Sign of the Bellbird and Fredrick also helped Harry Ell build the walking tracks.
The image shows what people did in their leisure time and a bygone era when nearly every suburb had a brass band.
Charlotte on a motorbike. 1923. L Sullivan.
Charlotte is 18 years old and dressed in her boyfriend’s clothes riding his motorbike that she liked riding fast. The photograph was awarded a highly commended. It shows an adventurous young woman who had a long life in Christchurch. She travelled throughout Canterbury on the back of her boyfriend’s bike, “finding their way”.
This photograph continues the theme of many of this year’s submissions, strong women enjoying life in Christchurch.
The images in this category included landscapes, images of Banks Peninsula, interiors and buildings.
Rugby match at Lancaster Park. 1960. Des Pinn
This image was chosen for several reasons. It shows a crowd at a rugby game at Lancaster Park – they may be leaving after a game. Socially it reminds us of what many people did regularly on a Saturday afternoon, what people wore and what people did in their leisure time.
A judge also commented that it feels like the crowd escapes the photo.
Places – Highly commended
Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Co. Ltd, 1979. Alan Tunnicliffe.
This photograph was taken in 1979. We have very few photos of the city at this time and the photograph shows a lost city scape, specifically the east side of Manchester Street between Allen and Eaton Streets.
Shag Rock, Sumner Beach, 2009. Phil Le Cren
An image of iconic Sumner at sunset. Taken in 2009 the landscape was dramatically altered by the earthquakes.
Men’s Toiletries Department at Hays, 1960. Des Pinn.
This a unique image as it shows the interior of a shop in 1960, and it shows a display introducing Old Spice.
Totara tree, 1995. Merle Conaghan.
Merle’s photographs taken while out on Banks Peninsula with her walking group have added greatly to our collection. She highlights the varied landscape found on Banks Peninsula, from the coast to the rugged hills.
The Totara tree looks like a sign pointing in several ways tying in nicely with the “finding our way” theme.
We welcome submissions of photos, information and stories to Kete Christchurch at any time.
The Māori Church at Taumutu, with members of the Māori and European congregation. The Rev. Philip J. Cocks from Southbridge, the Rev. H. E. Ensor from Leeston, and the Rev. C. Griffin, the Wesleyan minister at Leeston, all hold periodical services in this church, which is largely attended by the fishermen from Taumutu Point. The Māori girls receive special teaching in the English language.
The church (Hone Wetere Church) was built for the Māori on the site of Te Rauhikihiki’s pā at Taumutu and was opened on Easter Tuesday, 7th April 1885 by the Reverend W. Rowse assisted by Te Koti Te Rato. The Hon. H. K. Taiaroa, Ngāi Tahu chief, Legislative Councillor and Member of Parliament was the prime mover for a church at Taumutu and through his efforts raised all the funds required to build a church and it opened debt free. The church was designed by the architect, T. S. Lambert and built by the German, Herman, who also built Awhitu House for H. K. Taiaroa.Two services were held on the opening day and during the evening service a document was read stating that the building was to be named John Wesley Church and was to be given to the Wesleyan Conference of New Zealand together with the 21/2 acres on which the church was standing.
A. C. Mills, Christchurch (photographer).
Source: The Weekly Press, 19 July 1899, p. 5.
Do you have any photographs of Hone Wetere church? 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 collaboration between the writer A.A Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard was unheard of at the time, and led to an iconic series of books where story and illustration became synonymous with our enjoyment of Pooh, Piglet, Christopher Robin, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, owl, Kanga and Roo. This is a lovely book of whimsy and memory, including examples of how the illustrations developed, descriptions of the life and family of Shepard and his relationship with A.A. Milne.
Bothies were originally built as rudimentary accommodation for bachelor farm workers, and the vast majority of them were abandoned but have now been renovated by the Scottish Bothies Association. They are randomly found across Scotland, are free, and often nowhere near attractions or national parks, however the nature of their existence and local make them an attraction in themselves. These are not luxury 5 star huts, they are basic…”the two low benches can be edged towards the hearth, but there is a strange absence of chairs”. “Not available during stag stalking”. “No stove or fireplace” or “bring your own fuel”. The views, landscape and the sheer out-of-the-way nature of these places however make up for the lack of home comforts. Detailed descriptions of how to find them are included along with beautiful photographs of the hut and surrounding areas.
Coal, a yellow Labrador retriever is owned by Interior Designer Jeffrey Alan Marks.
“Coal travels with me a great deal, so her things are held in a navy leather tote bag that matches not only the car but also the navy leash I designed for her”
The dogs in this books live a charmed life, surrounded by opulent furniture, luxurious soft coverings and well clad owners. They generally tone in well with surroundings and exude a certain smugness as they lounge beside their owners. If you have a love of dogs and good interior design then this book will certainly not disappoint.
The author puts herself somewhere between the age of 80 and 100, so death is not an abstract idea, but she stresses that this is not a sad book. Certainly clearing away all that clutter accumulated over a long life, alongside making decisions about the precious to alleviate family arguments, and perhaps dealing with things that you would rather people didn’t pore over after your demise is not a bad idea. These are all practical suggestions, but this odd little book is as much about ideas on how to declutter as a memory of a life well lived.
In complete contrast to decluttering is an ode to the past, a collection of beautiful objects with memories attached, this little book is a celebration of the everyday. It is a mixture of history and art with beautifully painted renditions of old china and ceramics that the author remembers from her childhood, alongside family stories and interesting detail about some of the history behind these beloved pieces.
This is a book that celebrates the food of nineteenth century England and includes many of the dishes described in the books of Charles Dickens, including recipes and detail about the history of the time. Pete Evans of Paleo fame would no doubt enjoy Bone Marrow pudding, (apparently Queen Victoria had bone marrow every day so he is in good company), however French plums appealed more to me, alongside a good Leicestershire pork pie featured in Great Expectations. Many of the recipes are surprisingly appealing and are made even more interesting with a good dash of history and an even measure of literature.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Janneth Gil, Liam Lyons, Elise Williams, Lucas Perelini and Thomas Herman photographed the people and physical environment of Bishopdale between March and September this year, building a collection of over 350 images that capture both the history of the area and the often overlooked moments of community life. The gathering at the fishing and casting club meetings; new mums learning baby massage at the Plunket rooms; a father and teenage son watching the All Blacks over a pint, a Coke and a bowl of chips — for the photographers, these were some of the moments that conveyed the deep connections people had in Bishopdale, to each other, and to the place.
“Going to a community like that and noticing that there are so many things going on and people getting together – it opens doors and gives the feeling like you can belong to a place,” Janneth Gil reflected after completing the project. Like Janneth, all of the photographers discovered a vibrant and inclusive community in Bishopdale, and were humbled by the generosity people showed as they were invited into their homes, workplaces and clubs.
For Lucas Perelini whose only experience of Bishopdale before this project was Saturday morning rugby at Nunweek Park, he was inspired by the richness of life that exists in suburban Christchurch if you only pause to look: “Sometimes you can walk around a place and it doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot going on – but there really is. There’s so much going on that you can’t always see at first glance.”
The Christchurch Documentary Project is a collaboration between Christchurch City Libraries and the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts that began in 2015. Internship positions are offered to photography students in their 3rd or 4th year of study with the brief to create a documentary photographic record of a Christchurch community. The photographs are then included in the Christchurch City Libraries Digital Heritage Collection, acting as an important social record for generations to come.
Ngāi Tahu artists have transformed CoCA Gallery. On a recent visit I was captivated by the rock art images drawn on the walls. The drawings, by Ross Hemera, are inspired by ancient rock art. Fascinating pieces of sculpture and projections also rim the gallery walls and interior.
Ngāi Tahu artists from Aotearoa and around the world have come together to create the exhibition Paemanu: Ka Nohoaka Toi.
Curated by senior Paemanu artists, the exhibition takes the form of a nohoaka, a seasonal site for gathering food and other natural resources. There are 72 nohoaka (or nohoanga) within Te Waipounamu. Rights to the nohoanga are part of the Ngāi Tahu Claim settlement.