Children taking donkey rides on Sumner beach, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Children taking donkey rides on Sumner beach, Christchurch. CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0019.

Children taking donkey rides on Sumner beach, Christchurch [ca. 1905]

Do you have any photographs of summer in Christchurch and Canterbury? 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.

Bishopdale 2017 – The Christchurch Documentary Project

The Christchurch Documentary Project has looked at Halswell and the seaside suburbs of the East. Now it is Bishopdale’s turn.

Photo by Janneth Gil
Photo by Janneth Gil

Photography students from the School of Fine Arts are photographing the people and the physical environment of Bishopdale from March through to August this year with the goal of building an archive of contemporary documentary images.

The photographers are: Thomas Herman; Robert Earl; Liam Lyons; Elise Williams; Janneth Gil; Lucas Perelini.

If you or your group would like to be photographed for this project, please contact the library on 941 7923 or at

Photo by Janneth Gil
Photo by Janneth Gil

<3 Christchurch Photo Hunt

I love the Christchurch Photo Hunt. And this month it’s happening once again. I can’t wait to see all the new photos go up on Kete Christchurch.

Past Photo Hunts have given us hundreds of images of families and friends celebrating everyday events and activities from around the Canterbury district. They are incredibly touching to browse. The annual Photo Hunt, going since 2008, is slowly building a fascinating photographic archive for us all to share.

One of my favourites from the 2014 Photo Hunt on Kete Christchurch is a shout out to the fifities. It’s all about the dresses, the shoes, the hair.

Railway office staff 1958
Railway office staff 1958 (CCL Photo Hunt) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

My favourite postcard from the 2013 Photo Hunt. Postcards and old cityscapes, just lurvely.

Golden thoughts [postcard]
Golden thoughts (Kete Site Admin) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
And a favourite picnic spot from the 2012 Photo Hunt.

Camping at Coes Ford
Camping at Coes Ford (CCL Photo Hunt) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

We can all support the Photo Hunt by sharing our photos. The theme for this year is Arrivals and Departures – The Journeys That Have Shaped Us, with two categories of People and Places.

It’s easy to share a photo/s this year. Pick up an entry form from Christchurch City Libraries or download it from the library website. Fill in the relevant information and drop the photo and form back to the library or submit the information using the online form. Entries need to be in before 5pm 31 October and all entrants go in the draw to win a tablet or E-Reader.

The photos are scanned by librarians and the originals are returned to owners. The digital copies are uploaded to Kete Christchurch for us all to browse and enjoy. These and past images are also accessible from DigitalNZ, an extremely useful website for researching family history.

Waiting for Fish and Chips, Scarborough
Waiting for Fish and Chips, Scarborough, Flickr HW10-Ce-124

A few years ago I submitted a family photo and am so pleased I did. My sister-in-law took it as the cousins were enjoying a “day out” in 1990. The children had spent the afternoon at Sumner beach and finished off the day swimming in Scarborough pool. They had been having fun, as cousins are prone to do, and the photo captured their excitement as they waited for fish and chips at the end of the day.

The cousins are now grown and have young children of their own. I can’t wait to share this unforgettable moment in time with our new family members.

Let’s share our photos with the Christchurch Photo Hunt and help preserve the heritage of Canterbury for everyone.

Take a trip with the 2015 Christchurch Photo Hunt

Since 2008, Christchurch City Libraries has been pursuing your old photos. Why? Because they are a fantastic record of local history. The pics go onto our Kete Christchurch – the repository of all kinds of Ōtautahi images.

This year’s theme is ‘Arrivals and Departures — The journeys that have shaped us’. We want your images related to this subject. You could win a tablet or eReader. Find out more, and enter in a library or online.

Christchurch Photo Hunt

There are four cool postcards you’ll spot in libraries – feel free to grab a few. They feature some top travel pics – perfect inspiration!

Christchurch Photo Hunt postcards
Christchurch Photo Hunt postcards [2.24MB PDF]

Akaroa Regatta
Regatta. Akaroa. 1907. Kete Christchurch 1907_Regatta_Ship_R_3391B.jpg
Boyce Refrigerated Truck being manoeuvred off the steamer Hinemoa
Boyce Refrigerated Truck being manoeuvred off the steamer Hinemoa, Kete Christchurch CCL-Kete001-002.jpg
London to Christchurch Air Race 1953
London to Christchurch Air Race 1953, Kete Christchurch IMG_0001.jpg
Waka, Okain’s Bay, 1977
Waka, Okain’s Bay, 1977.  Flickr HWC08-SO-101

Have a look back at Photo Hunts gone by:

House and garden: Picturing Canterbury

House and garden, 1950s. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ. Kete Christchurch.

Riding the surf at New Brighton : Picturing Canterbury

Riding the surf at New Brighton beach [1939]. Christchurch City Libraries, CCL Photo Collection 22, Img00788

And visit First to Surf celebration at New Brighton this weekend, to commemorate 100 years since a display of surfing by Duke Kahanamoku in New Zealand.

The party then went to New Brighton, where an exhibition of surf-riding and swimming by Kahanamoku, in company with members of the New Brighton Surf Club, had been arranged. Unfortunately, the rollers were too short for a real exhibition of surf-riding. A long, strong roller, sweeping right into the beach, is required for this, but the rollers at New Brighton this morning were short, breaking too soon. However, Kahanamoku gave as good a display as was possible in the circumstances, and certainly taught members of the Surf Club something of the art of surf-riding. His position as he lay on the board was very graceful. Once he tried to stand upright on the board as he came shooting in, but the roller broke,as he did so and he capsized. One or two other similar efforts failed for the same reason. He showed a few of the other fancy touches of surf riding, manipulating the board in various ways as he rode it.

Sun, Volume II, Issue 327, 24 February 1915, Page 5

Lyttelton Harbour, Governors Bay, 1961 : Picturing Canterbury

Maria Rohs with father Frederick Rohs. Lyttelton Harbour, Governors Bay, 1961. Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ Kete Christchurch PH14-184.jpg

Christchurch Photo Hunt 2014 – The Winners

The Christchurch Photo Hunt has produced a bumper crop of Christchurch images. Thanks to all of you who shared your wonderful historical photos and memories.

The judging took place on Thursday 20 November. The judges were Rosemary Baird and Bridgit Anderson, with the help of staff members Paul Sutherland and Sue Colyer.

Winners and highly commended entries

Two Views in Time

Waiting for Moira - Chris Andrew


Waiting for Moira Chris Andrew

Judge’s comment: A wonderfully evocative image and story of the past and present. The railway lines that crisscross Christchurch have played an important part in many peoples’ lives. I remember a similar moment from my own childhood waiting for my father to return by train from Lyttleton standing on the Moorhouse avenue over-bridge. Bridgit Anderson

Summer Sunday outings at the Waimakariri River - Merle Conaghan


Summer Sunday outings at the Waimakariri River Merle Conaghan

Judge’s comment: Classic images of a summer Sunday outing. Beautifully composed family portraits. The only real changes are in the clothing. Bridgit Anderson


Cashel Street, December 1900 - June E Blank


Cashel Street, December 1900 June E. Blank

Judge’s comment: You can feel the wind in this image! The street life and signage is fascinating. There’s a lot to observe and I particularly like the mass of muslin bunting used to decorate Cashel Street. It’s as if the two sides of the street have become the walls of a rather grand marquee. Bridgit Anderson

Ballantynes Fire - Robert Brettmeyer


Firemen at Ballantynes Fire 1947 Robert Brettmeyer

Ballantyne's Fire - Robert Brettmeyer


Ballantyne’s fire, 1947 Robert Brettmeyer

Judge’s comment: A very moving group of images of the Ballantyne’s fire. You get a real sense of the deeply distressing nature of the event from the firefighters point of view. Bridgit Anderson

Escalator in Millers Building, late 1970s - Des Pinn


Escalator in Millers Building, late 1970s Des Pinn

Judge’s comment: Any child born in the sixties will remember the endless fun and simple entertainment to be had riding the Millers department store. The perspective of the photographer, the colours, the signage and the people moving through the space captures the experience beautifully. I love the way the photographer has has chosen the moment a child is about to ascend the escalator to press the shutter. Bridgit Anderson


Railway office staff hostesses, 1958 - Mary Boyle


Railway office staff hostesses, 1958 Mary Boyle

Judge’s comment: What a joyous moment has been captured here. It’s a wonderful staff photo and a fascinating showcase of women’s 1950s fashion. Bridgit Anderson

Camping at Leithfield Beach - Valerie Allen


Camping at Leithfield Beach Valerie Allen

Judge’s comment: Camping is such a New Zealand tradition and this image from 1939/1940 captures it all. It’s delightful and from the way the photograph has been framed you can feel the families pride in their Caravan, car and the ubiquitous thermette. Bridgit Anderson

Skating In North Hagley Park - Bruce Baldwin


Skating In North Hagley Park Bruce Baldwin

Judge’s comment: Skating in North Hagley Park is not something you see everyday, so it was a pleasure to come across this image. The photographer has really captured some of the fun and excitement to be had for all. What I see as a real strength in this image are the candid moments it captures. There are people engaged in lots of different activities and you can almost hear their conversations. Bridgit Anderson

Overall collections – commended

Building the 3YA Radio Transmitter at Gebbies Pass, 1933

Gebbies Pass Radio Transmission Tower Alison Moore

Judge’s comment: A great series of images that really tell the story of the place and the people who worked there. Bridgit Anderson

Naomi Poulsen on her way to Art School

Poulsen family photographs, 1920s and 1930s Bronwyn Horgan

Judge’s comment: A wonderful family album that gives the viewer a fascinating insight into family life and the city from the 1930’s – 1950’s. The accompanying notations really expand the experience. Bridgit Anderson

Spectators and Participants in the annual Avon Bike Race

Collection from a photograph album June Boslem

Judge’s comment: Another fascinating album for those who love cycling. Bridgit Anderson

American sailors at picnic at Ashley Gorge, 1920s

Winsor Family photographs Alison Wilson

Judge’s comment: There are many fascinating historical images in this album that cover many important civic moments in the life of the city. Bridgit Anderson

Portrait of a Young Woman

Collection of glass negatives Glyn Williams

Judge’s comment: This collection is made even more interesting through it’s lack of provenance. The images have been reproduced by Glyn Williams from glass plate negatives with the people and places are largely unknown. Bridgit Anderson

Judge’s comments – Rosemary Baird

It was so much fun judging the 2014 Christchurch Hunt although it was very difficult to choose between so many incredible photos. These photos will be an amazing resource for historians, researchers and art historians and I’m very grateful to all the donors who have shared their precious family photos.

My favourite photos were those which told a story and made me curious about the events in the photo. For example, the winning photo in the people category was a  delightful display of 1950s fashion, but it also made me curious about the women’s job’s as hostesses on the railways. What would it have been like for those women to have worked in the mostly male environment of the Addington Railways? Did they wear a uniform usually or were these their usual dresses?

I also enjoyed seeing photos that were about quintessentially Christchurch events such as the commended picture of the Ballantyne’s fire – those photos brought us into the midst of the firefighters and made the event feel real and personal.

The winner of the places category was a beautiful image – not only a great visual record of Cashel street frontages (now lost to redevelopment and earthquakes) but also a record of how Cantabrians celebrated and decorated their public spaces in 1900 – it reminded me of the recent SCAPE festival. These historical photos reveal continuities as well as differences.

The albums were especially valuable as they gave broader coverage of Canterbury life from a personal perspective, and told a sustained narrative about events and places.

Previous Photo Hunts

That was then, but this is now: 4 September 2010 / 4 September 2014

A look at a couple of sites affected by the 4 September 2010 earthquake, and what they look like now.

Corner of Victoria Street and Bealey Avenue

Daily Bagel and Covent Fruit Centre 4 September 2010, Victoria Street, Christchurch.
Daily Bagel and Covent Fruit Centre 4 September 2010, Victoria Street, Christchurch. Kete Christchurch.

Carlton Butchery building, Victoria Street

Here’s how the same site looks today: 4 September 2014.

Knox Church – corner of Bealey Avenue and Victoria Street

Knox Church - 4 September 2010.
Knox Church – 4 September 2010. Kete Christchurch
Knox Church, Victoria Street
Knox Church, corner of Bealey Avenue and Victoria Street – Thursday 4 September 2014.

See the set of images Knox Church earthquake impact – Kete Christchurch.

More photos and stories:

Christchurch Railway Station, 1953 : Picturing Canterbury

Construction of Christchurch Railway Station, Moorhouse Ave, 1953. Christchurch City Libraries, CCL-Arch978-1-026