31 August 1974
Death of Prime Minister Norman Kirk, M.P. for Sydenham. He had earlier been M.P. for Lyttelton, and Mayor of Kaiapoi. Search our catalogue for Norman Kirk. View the DigitalNZ set The life and death of Norman Kirk.
24 August 1857
Evans Pass road over the Port Hills opens.
25 August 1920
First flight over Cook Strait (Christchurch to Trentham) by Captain Euan Dickson in a Canterbury Aviation Company plane. Read more in Peter Aimer, ‘Aviation – Early flying feats‘, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 13-Jul-12.
26 August 1939
Official opening of City Council’s pensioner housing project in Barnett Avenue, Sydenham; the first local body pensioner housing in New Zealand.
28 August 1890
“Great maritime strike” (the first of New Zealand’s 3 major waterfront strikes) spreads to Lyttelton.
19 August 1859
Chamber of Commerce established in Lyttelton.
20 August 1984
A longterm aim of banning open fires is approved by the Christchurch City Council.
22 August 1910
Ilam homestead (on the site of the present university staff club) destroyed by fire.
22 August 1925
Radio Broadcasting Company of N.Z. incorporated in Christchurch – the country’s first public radio company. The company became the major force in early radio, eventually owning and operating a chain of YA stations throughout the country.
10 August 1840
Captain Owen Stanley in HMS Britomart dashes to Akaroa and raises the British flag to proclaim sovereignty over the South Island. Read our digitised copy of Mission of the Britomart at Akaroa.
15 August 1981
Massive demonstrations in Christchurch against rugby test between All Blacks and Springboks. See our collection of posters.
16 August 1868
Tsunami (“tidal wave”) in Lyttelton Harbour. Part of the harbour bottom was laid bare, then a wave swept in, damaging the “Novelty”. Read Bank Peninsula Impact 1868, Willem de Lange and Eileen McSaveney. ‘Tsunamis – New Zealand’s tsunami history’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 9-Jul-13
16 August 1890
First inter-provincial soccer match held in Christchurch. Canterbury beat Wellington 2-0
4 August 1878
Severe snowstorm over the South Island.
4 August 1923
Railway to the West Coast opens. The much delayed opening of the Otira tunnel on June 18, 1918, had prevented earlier completion of the line.
6 August 1867
Unveiling of the Godley statue in Cathedral Square New Zealand’s first public statue. However, the statue’s inscription acclaiming him ”founder of Canterbury“ is possibly over generous. Wakefield should at least share the title.
7 August 1982
Opening of City Mall, a major new pedestrian amenity created by the closure of parts of Cashel and High Streets. The project had first been mooted in 1967.
8 August 1989
Christchurch Central MP and Deputy Prime Minister, Geoffrey Palmer appointed as Prime Minister after resignation of David Lange. See some photos from his career on DigitalNZ.
9 August 1840
Captain Langlois in the “Compte de Paris” arrives in Pigeon Bay with 63 French settlers.
28 July 1986
Grenadier Hotel demolished in Oxford Terrace. Formerly The Royal, it was the third hotel on this site since 1851.
29 July 1953
Aviation pioneer Richard W. Pearse dies in Christchurch. Pearse made one of the world’s first powered flights on or about 31 March 1902 in South Canterbury. He moved to Christchurch in 1921 and worked on his astonishing “convertiplane” over many years.
30 July 1976
7 Canterbury men in gold medal winning hockey team at the Montreal Olympics. See our page on Canterbury Olympians.
31 July 1856
By Royal Charter, Christchurch becomes New Zealand’s first city. Christchurch became New Zealand’s first city in 1856 under the terms of a royal charter. This was because it was the ‘seat’, or base, for a bishop. The Reverend Henry John Chitty Harper was consecrated, or made a bishop, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and arrived with his family in Lyttelton on 23 December 1856.
1 August 1929
“Lyttelton Times” re-named “Christchurch Times” after being taken over by Auckland interests. In fact, the paper had moved from Lyttelton to Christchurch in 1863.
1 August 1975
Severe nor-west gale causes serious damage throughout city and province. Winds gust to a record 172 kilometres per hour (107 miles per hour). Over 250 injuries in Canterbury, and many forests devastated.
23 July 1851
Pioneer William Deans among 28 lost in the wreck of the Maria in Cook Strait. Godley had tried to deprive the Deans and Hay families of their farms because he wanted only Anglicans to own land in the new settlement. The Deans brothers had sold sheep to pay the legal costs of fighting Godley’s high handed action, and William Deans was travelling to Sydney to buy replacement stock.
23 July 1857
First dramatic presentation in Canterbury, which featured Mrs Foley in “The Loan of a Lover” and “Betsy Baker” at the Lyttelton Town Hall. (see an advertisement in the 25 July 1857 Lyttelton Times).
24 July 1983
New Zealand’s first “test-tube” twins born at Christchurch Hospital.
13 July 1905
Construction of King Edward Barracks begins. The building was completed in an amazing 25 days. In the absence of a true Town Hall, it was often the venue for large concerts and civic occasions.
15-21 July 1979
D’oyly Carte Opera Company gives performances.
17 July 1861
Work begins on the railway to Lyttelton. Preliminary work on the tunnel had begun in January 1860, but the original contractors had withdrawn in November.
17 July 1915
First Canterbury wounded from the war return to Lyttelton on the “Willochra”.
17 July 1964
Opening of the Government Life Building in Cathedral Square. It was the city’s first “high rise glass box”. The building’s rooftop clock and temperature readings became a familiar part of the Square.
29 June 1951
First regular South Island trans-Tasman flights begin from Melbourne to Christchurch.
30 June 1849
Canterbury’s first “industrial action” – Maori road workers in Evans Pass (constructing a road across the Port Hills) go on strike as a reaction to verbal abuse and dismissals.
30 June 1975
TV2 transmission starts.
1 July 1862
New Zealand’s first telegraph in operation between Christchurch and Lyttelton.
1 July 1865
Lyttelton Harbour breakwaters begun.
1 July 1935
Evening papers “Star” and “Sun” merge to become the “Star Sun”, ending a 6 year newspaper war, the longest and most bitter in New Zealand’s history. The “peace” agreement between the 3 companies concerned also saw the demise of the “Christchurch Times” (once the “Lyttelton Times”), the oldest daily paper in the country.
4 July 1977
Hundreds evacuated as serious flooding affects City.