2015’s Community Read with local author Rachael King

Community Read 2015 Magpie Hall

2015: One book, one community

Magpie Hall by Rachael King

This August, Christchurch City Libraries invites you to read, share and discuss Magpie Hall by Rachael King.

Unlimited copies of the Magpie Hall eBook will be available to borrow for the whole of August from our Wheelers eBook platform! Thanks Wheelers and publishers Penguin Random House.
Reserve now.

Take a walk with us on the dark side, as we explore family secrets, taxidermy, Victorian tattooing, and Gothic novels.

I absolutely loved this book. It had a wonderfully familiar setting in the Canterbury foothills somewhere, mixing family history mysteries with the pressures of modern life. I was spellbound.

Magpie Hall by Rachael KingFind out more

Community Read 2015 author talk

Book Chat, Tea and Tales with award-winning author Rachael King
Friday 7 August At South Library
11am to 12pm

Community Read 2015 Performance

Join the Court Jesters as they improvise themes from Magpie Hall
Friday 7 August at South Library
7.30pm to 9pm

For more information phone (03) 941 5140

Helping Canterbury kids with anxiety

A new resource for parents, teachers and the children of Canterbury to help children cope with anxiety was launched recently. Maia and the Worry Bug (for families) and Wishes and Worries (for classroom use) are two picture books that make up an anxiety management resource.

Maia and the Worry Bug is about the worry bug that moves in with Maia and her family. It makes them worry about all sorts of things. Mum worries about whether the family are safe, Dad worries about whether Mum has fixed the bookcase to the wall properly and if the emergency kit has everything it needs, and Maia doesn’t want to leave the house. Their worries get so bad that they finally have to come up with a way to get rid of the worry bug for good. As well as the story there are also exercises and discussion questions in the back of the book for families to work through together.

The Worry Bug project is the brainchild of two Christchurch women; psychologist Julie Burgess-Manning and teacher Sarina Dickson, with illustrations by the wonderful Jenny Cooper. The books were made possible by receiving funding from the Canterbury Community Trust and Canterbury Earthquake Appeals Trust.

The resource will be given out free to all new entrant – Year 4 children and classrooms in Christchurch city and the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts in Term 3.

As well as Maia and the Worry Bug we have some other great resources in the library to help children cope with anxiety:

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. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23046301
John Robert Godley. Ref: 1/2-005079-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23046301

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 (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.

Christchurch – this week in history (February 23 to March 1)

Mrs Hucks' Theatre Royal Café
Mrs Hucks’ Theatre Royal Café
CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0090

February 24, 1881
First century in first class cricket scored by G. Watson for Canterbury.

February 25, 1908
Theatre Royal opens. This is the building which exists today, the third to bear the name.

February 25, 1978
New Brighton Mall opens.

February 26, 1931
Bowker Fountain in Victoria Square in operation.

February 26, 1938
Summit Road opens.

February 26, 1947
First ticketed airline flight from New Zealand – Lancastrian “City of London” flies from Harewood to Sydney.

February 27, 1964
Lyttelton road tunnel opens, New Zealand’s longest.

February 28, 1853
Provincial boundary defined by proclamation. Westland (then called West Canterbury) included as part of Canterbury.

March 1, 1851
“Isabella Hercus” arrives with settlers.

March 1, 1880
School for the Deaf (now Van Asch College) opens in Sumner. Director Gerrit van Asch introduced oral teaching methods to New Zealand.

March 1, 1930
Majestic Theatre opens – the city’s first steel frame building.

A general view of Victoria Square, Christchurch
A general view of Victoria Square, Christchurch
CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0097

Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Christchurch – this week in history (February 16 to February 23)

February 16, 1770 Captain James Cook in the “Endeavour” sights Banks “Island” (Peninsula). February 17, 1939 New Millers Department Store building (the former Civic Offices) opens. Designed by G. A. J. Hart, the building contained the South Island’s first escalator. February 18, 1982 Internationally famous writer Dame Ngaio Marsh dies at her home in Cashmere. February 19, 1873 Anglican synod decides (by a narrow margin) not to sell the present site of ChristChurch Cathedral. February 22, 1909 New “Press” building in operation in Cathedral Square. Designed by J.J. Collins and R.D. Harman, it was the city’s first ferro-concrete building. February 22, 1960 New airport terminal (designed by Paul Pascoe) opens. Photo of first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton The first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton [ca. 1890] Christchurch chronology A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Find your Kiwi soldier

Cover of Tracing Your First Worls War AncestorsIt was 100 years ago that soldiers from Germany, France, and Britain and her colonies went to war in a part of France and Belgium that was once known as Flanders.

It wasn’t long before the war had spread to Russia, Turkey, the Middle East and Africa. Thousands of men went to war and, although most came home, many did not.

Many of you will have an ancestor that took part in this great and terrible war. If you want to know what happened to them, we can help you. We just need a name.

  • Archway is a search engine for Archives New Zealand. With Archway, you can find your soldier’s personnel files. It’s not just soldiers listed in Archway. You will also find information on army nurses, deserters, defaulters and conscientious objectors. The files also include medical records, which are interesting to read if your soldier was sent home sick or wounded.
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission has a database commemorating those who died during the two world wars. I have tried searching using full name, but I have had very good results using last name and initials. Information on cemeteries and memorials make planning a trip to visit the grave easy.
  • Cenotaph Database has been created by Auckland Museum. It is a biographical database of New Zealanders who served in the military. It is a great database to use; type in the surname, the first name and the war. You should then find information about your soldier.
  • Cover of  Onward: Portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary ForceSome of these databases even have photos of your soldier. If they don’t, there is a book that you might find useful. Onward: Portraits of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force by P. J. Beattie contains over 4,000 photographs of members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force.
  • Visit the library and we will help you. At the Shirley library, for the month of December, we have the use of an Apple iMac. This Apple iMac is a computer that has a selection of databases that will help find your soldier. If you don’t get the opportunity to use the iMac, don’t worry, the information can be found on our website. The iMac will go on tour around our libraries, so it might appear at a library near you soon.

Jackman & Lord : General Grocers and Provision Merchants : 1902

Image of Jackman & Lord


We have digitised a rather splendid 1902 publication Tourists’ guide to Canterbury.

A busker with a banjo entertaining in Cathedral Square, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

A busker with a banjo entertaining in Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1927] Christchurch City Libraries, File Reference CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0060