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.
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.)
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.
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.
2 March 1970
Amid mounting controversy, City Council begins construction of road deviation through Hagley Park. The work was stopped by March 7 for legal reasons, and the project was eventually scrapped.
2 March 1974
Re-built Centennial Pool opens.
3 March 1879
First Town Hall design competition. But building costs were too high and the project was abandoned in March 1882.
4 March 1977
Museum Antarctic wing opens. View our page on Antarctica and its Christchurch connections.
5 March 1863 Samuel Bealey elected third Superintendent of Canterbury.
6 March 1856
Riccarton race course established.
6 March 1914
First point to point flight in Canterbury by J. W. H. Scotland from Timaru to Christchurch. In the same year, Scotland had the dubious privilege of becoming the first pilot to crash in New Zealand.
7 March 1925
Cholmondeley Home for children (a gift of Hugh Heber Cholmondeley) opens at Governors Bay.
9 February 1917 Scott statue, sculpted by his widow, unveiled opposite the (then) Municipal Offices in Oxford Terrace.
10 February 1864
First Council artesian well drilled at the corner of Tuam and High Streets. It gushed to a height of 3 or 4 metres above ground level.
10 February 1913
News reaches Christchurch of the Scott expedition’s fate. The city’s special relationship with the expedition caused deep mourning over the tragedy.
11 February 1843
Deans, Gebbie and Manson families sail from Wellington on the “Richmond” to settle at Riccarton.
12 February 1905 Catholic Cathedral (the Basilica) opens. Designed by F. W. Petre, it is widely regarded as the finest Renaissance-style building in New Zealand.
13 February 1951
Waterfront strike begins, with all New Zealand ports idle by February 19. As in previous strikes, Lyttelton avoided the worst of the violence and confrontations which occurred in other ports.
15 February 1840
Chiefs Tairoa, Tuhawaiki and Karetai “sell the South Island” to John Jones and W. C. Wentworth for £500.
2 February 1960
Burnside High School opens. For a long time it was the biggest high school in the Southern Hemisphere.
2 February 1974 Commonwealth Games end with “the greatest middle distance race of all time”. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi wins the 1500 metres in new world record time. Second was John Walker who also broke the existing record. The national records of five countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand – were all broken in this race.
2 February 1982
Official opening of the new Central Public Library (designed by Warren and Mahoney) in Gloucester Street. (It had opened for business on 12 January).
3 February 1915
Canterbury Battalion sustains New Zealand’s first casualties of W.W.I at Suez Canal.
3 February 1962
Peter Snell sets new world records for the half mile and 800 metres at Lancaster Park.
4-5 February 1868
Severe storm and gales. Several ships wrecked, floods throughout Canterbury. Waimakariri River overflows into the Avon causing serious flooding. Water flows a metre deep in Market Square (now Victoria Square).
6 February 1908
Stranges fire destroys buildings in High, Cashel and Lichfield Streets. Stranges Department Store was New Zealand’s biggest in the early days of the 20th century. The early morning blaze spread to the DIC, Ashby Berghs and the White Hart Hotel. Damage was over £300,000, New Zealand’s worst to that date.