Go fly a kite

Cover of Just A KiteDo you remember what your first kite was like? Mine was made out of brown wrapping paper. It had a picture of John, Paul, George and Ringo that had been carefully cut out of a magazine stuck on it. It didn’t fly very well at all.

Cover of KitesI was not deterred, and over the years I owned many kites that flew. I don’t own a kite at the moment, but I wouldn’t mind having a go at making one and taking it down to New Brighton beach and flying it. Kite Day is going to be on January 30th, and if I don’t get my kite to fly, I will get to enjoy those that do. I love the way that the small kites seem to duck and weave their way between the huge colourful kites.

So if you are like me and love kites, head on down to the New Brighton Beach, south of the Pier, on Saturday, 30th January between 1.30pm – 4.30pm with your kite and join in the fun.

Streets Kite Day, New Brighton 2015
Streets Kite Day – New Brighton 2015, Flickr 2015-01-24-IMG_4948
Streets Kite Day, New Brighton 2015
Streets Kite Day – New Brighton 2015, Flickr 2015-01-24-IMG_4942

Culture Galore – Just Glorious

UPDATE: Culture Galore has been cancelled. A Community Recreation Advisor reports the park is too sodden to allow vehicle access and vehicles could also cause major damage to the fields which are used for soccer over the winter.photo of Culture Galore

Culture Galore is almost here again, with the annual festival being held on Saturday March 8, 12-4pm. I love this free Christchurch City Council event. It has grown over the years from a few food stalls to a great afternoon out for the family.

It’s a wonderful bringing together of the large variety of cultural groups in our fair city, and you can listen to music, watch dances from over twenty groups and eat tasty food from around the world. There are also crafts and other items to buy from around the globe.

There are also workshops throughout the afternoon, where you can learn anything from dancing from Macedonia, TaiChi and Morris Dancing – bells and hankies  included. These photographs of past Culture Galore events from our Flickr will give you more than a taste of what could be on offer.

I also love that is a suburban event, nestled in Ray Blank Park, the well ‘treed’ Ilam park on Maidstone Road. Most of the year it’s home to dog walkers, soccer teams and a good many cricket games (I know, I’ve watched a few), but for an afternoon in March it explodes with the colours, sights and sounds and smells of the United Nations.

As an aside, and shameless plug, be there before 12.40pm, and you’ll also get to see a great world music choir, Women in Harmony perform some songs on the stage, and there will be at least two Christchurch City Librarians in amongst the group – I wonder if you will be able to pick them? No, we won’t be wearing a twinset and pearls!

The joys of the Summertime Reading Club

Summertime Reading Club winner Daniel with Mark of Paper PlusChristchurch kids have been busy over the hols with the Summertime Reading Club. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who entered for their great work. Have a look at photos of the prizegiving at Central Library Tuam on Friday 25 January 2013.

Summertime Reading Club

  • 1st prize Daniel Powley
  • 2nd prize Ashleigh-Jo Smith
  • 3rd prize Teighan Connolly

SCAPE colouring competition

SCAPE Colouring Competition - winners on display at Central Library Tuam

1st prize Arna Emslie

SCAPE Colouring Competition - 1st prize

2nd prize Jack Sheedy

SCAPE Colouring Competition - 2nd prize

3rd prize Alisha Warwick

SCAPE Colouring Competition - 3rd prize

Runner up Jessica Olds

SCAPE Colouring Competition - highly commended

Runner up Jason Yun

SCAPE Colouring Competition - highly commended

Runner up Oliver Wheeler

SCAPE Colouring Competition - highly commended

View photos of the SCAPE colouring competition.

Photography competition: Reading a book in your favourite summer place:

1st prize Angus Steve: New Brighton

Summertime Reading Club

2nd place: Hannah Warwick


3rd place: Amelia Kirkness


Highly commended: Arlia O’Sullivan


Highly commended: Katie Morison


Highly commended: Emma Rashbrook–Field


Christchurch – this week in history (28 January – 3 February)

31 January 1921
New Zealand’s first regular airmail service begins between Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru.

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.

3 February 1915
Canterbury Battalion sustains New Zealand’s first casualties of W.W.I at Suez Canal. Read the letters of Cecil Malthus who spent three years in the Canterbury Battalion.

More January and February events in our Christchurch chronology.

Yachting at Sumner: Picturing Canterbury

Yachting at Sumner. A postcard.

Christchurch – this week in history (21 – 27 January)

22 January 1929
Death of Professor Bickerton in England. Since his sacking by the university – see 1902 – he had operated the extraordinary Pleasure Gardens at Wainoni, made fireworks, promoted patent medicines and then travelled to England to promote his “partial impact” astronomical theory.

24 January 1974
10th Commonwealth Games open at Queen Elizabeth II Park, one of the greatest sporting events in New Zealand’s history. Visitors include the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Princess Anne. Highlight of the opening ceremony was the New Zealand Army Band’s spectacular novelty marching routine. Seen on international live TV, the idea was soon copied by bandsmen throughout the Commonwealth.

25 January 1974
Cantabrian Richard Tayler wins 10,000 metres in games record time. This was the first live colour TV coverage of a major race. Tayler was honoured as 1974 “Sportsman of the Year’, but his sports career was cut tragically short by the onset of crippling arthritis.

27 January 1860
Writer Samuel Butler arrives at Lyttelton on “Roman Emperor”. He is best remembered for the novel Erewhon, published after his return to England several years later.

More January events in our Christchurch chronology.

1899 Picnic at Governor’s Bay: Picturing Canterbury

Picnic at Governor’s Bay
The Treleaven family picnics at Governor’s Bay in 1899.

Christchurch – this week in history (14 – 20 January)

18 January 1851
First bank, the Union Bank of Australia, opens at Lyttelton.

18 January 1894
New Brighton pier opens.

A group of seaside businessmen formed the New Brighton Pier Company in 1888. There were many problems, one engineer even taking the company to court for non-payment of fees owed to him. A Frenchman, Mr. Duval, was the engineer for the pier as it finally emerged, a much reduced structure than that which was originally planned. The first pile was driven into the seabed on 2 May 1891 and the pier was opened by the Governor on 18 January 1894. At the time the structure consisted of nothing more than the pier itself and a turnstile leading on to it. The pier company came to the end of its life soon after the opening of the pier.

Various individuals owned it thereafter, erecting a building which accommodated tearooms and side shows. The most prominent owner of the pier was Charles Agar of Lyttelton. He struggled to make a profit from the complex and tried, without success, to get the government to buy it. For a long period after Agar’s death in 1931 the pier was in the hands of the Public Trust.

Ultimately, it was purchased by Leonard Hampton ‘Sam’ Duffield who let people fish from the pier. Duffield belonged to the syndicate which sought to bring controversial English call-girl Mandy Rice-Davies to New Zealand. Duffield hoped that Mandy would sing at the New Brighton pier. Keith Holyoake’s Government banned her. In Oct. 1964 the pier was demolished. Sam Duffield died two years later.

Sources: A seaside item which never really succeeded / Richard Greenaway, The Press, 22 May 1976; New Brighton scrapbooks 1847-1940 / Alfred William Owles, held by Christchurch City Libraries

More January events in our Christchurch chronology.

Backyward swim: Picturing Canterbury

Backyard Swim

Sally, Lynne and cousin Janice, having a splash in their paddling pool in Spreydon.

Summer reading treasures

My summer reading has been disappointingly dismal so far. I had selected several works of fiction that I intended to consume over the course of my summer holiday whilst lounging languorously in the North Island sun (looking luscious of course!)  Sadly, there wasn’t much lounging to be had with a three year old demanding to be entertained), and not one of my selections managed to capture my imagination or attention long enough for me to finish them, leaving me feeling disgruntled and out of sorts that I had some time and nothing GOOD to read close to  hand.

It was inevitable then, that amazing books would catch my eye and clamour for my attention the minute I returned to work.  First to catch my interest this morning was a little gem entitled Pounamu Treasures Ngā Taonga Pounamu by Russell Beck with Maika Mason.  A quick flick through shows that the text and accompanying images (taken by Andris Apse) gently introduce the reader to the world of Pounamu, discuss the geology associated with pounamu, before looking at traditional weaponry, adornments, and tools.  The author then investigates the European influence on design and current contemporary carving designs.  The photography captures the absolute beauty and elegance of the pounamu and taonga showcased within this publication and I can’t wait to get this home to have a more in-depth read.

My second discovery was made soon after, again while browsing the shelf.  Entitled Te Hao Nui, The Great Catch, I feel in love with the cover art before i had even opened the book. A quick dip into its depths over morning tea reveal that I appear to have stumbled across an unexpected treasure trove of stories of unique and beautiful objects.  Stephen Fox writes in the foreword that, “This publication celebrates the rich and diverse collections of Te Manawa.” (The Museum of Art, Science and History based in the Manawatū), the back cover blurbs states it “provides fascinating insights into the history, people and places of the Manawatū and beyond. Dame Judith Binney is also quoted on the back cover- “Storytelling is an art deep within human nature.  It follows that the art of transmitting the ‘histories that matter’ to successive generations is as old as human existence.”

Thus far, the stories encapsulated in the table of contents look promising.  Each entry details the story of a different object, complemented by an impressive selection of delectable imagery by Michael Hall.  A small selection of the treasures showcased within include; a Polish Army League paperweight, Brydon Speedy’s Pā Kahawai, Queen Anne Boleyn’s Purse, a Senufo mask from the Ivory Coast, Mere Ngareta’s Kahu Kiwi, Regent Confectionery’s Sweet Roller, Helena Harcourt’s Fencing Uniform or my absolute favourite thus far, Phoebe Pinfold’s Pine needle tea set. I have delighted in showing this section to everyone in the workroom this morning– I think it is indescribably fascinating that someone would have had the time and patience to create and construct an entire tea set from pine needles, macrocarpa nuts and straw.

So, as of this morning my summer reading looks like it may be on the up and up. Have you read either of these or do you have any suggestions I can add to my list?