May 29, 2008

Ignominious End

Hidden away among the factories of industrial Woolston is a building of some historic significance to Canterbury; many of our pioneer settlers ended their days there.

Funded by public donation and government subsidy, the Queen's Jubilee Memorial Hospital was designed by the renowned Samuel Hurst Seager (1854-1933).

In October, 1887 The United Ashburton and North Canterbury Charitable Aid Board purchased six acres at Woolston for £450 and in December of the following year the red brick building was opened for the reception and maintenance of aged poor persons.

An interesting feature of Hurst's design was the octagon (top Left). It had sixteen single rooms opening onto an enclosed court, with a verandah and path around it.

In 1898 more rooms were added, again with public donation, and a further five acres were added to the grounds, which became the Canterbury Hospital Board's vegetable garden. An 1888 funerary chapel was moved from the nearby Lower Heathcote (now Woolston) Cemetery to the hospital's grounds in 1949.

With the advent of an across the board economic rationalism in the mid 1980s the hospital's days were numbered and it closed in 1989. The Hospital Board doesn't grow vegetables any more and what's left of the historic buildings now form part of a barbed-wired fish processing factory complex.

Hurst's octagonal wing was spared an ignominious end and in 2003 was removed to Tuahiwi, near Woodend in the Waimakariri district of North Canterbury. It's now an "Holistic Life Coaching" centre known as Sanctuary House.

See where these photographs were taken.

Historical Revisionism

Photographed by a tourist from Prague is an interpretive display sign located on Oxford Terrace near Hereford Street.

An unfortunate example of the current fashion in historical revisionism, based on little more than popular folklore and mythology.

May 28, 2008

Arts, Culture and Heritage Funding

A joint statement of the Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage and the Minister of Broadcasting.

Significant new investments in New Zealand’s arts, culture and heritage are a feature of Budget 2008.

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark today announced additional funding for New Zealand films, music, literature, and for heritage buildings and collections.

• Additional baseline funding of $12 million over four years goes to Te Papa. Te Papa has been the most visited museum and gallery in Australasia for the past five years, and it is essential to maintain strong investment in it.

• An increase of $7.7 million over four years to the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. One-off additional capital funding of $500,000 has been provided for upgrades to IT systems in 2008/09.

• An extra $4.4 million baseline funding over four years for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. This enables the NZSO to tour a minimum of 20 communities per year, perform to at least 100,000 people, and continue its commitment to performances of New Zealand compositions.

• An extra $27.8 million over four years goes to the New Zealand Film Commission. It will administer a new Screen Production Incentive Fund for eligible New Zealand films and television productions.

• Extra baseline funding of $4.8 million over four years is allocated to the NZ Music Commission, so that it can continue to promote Kiwi music internationally and locally, and undertake market and business development.

• An extra $2 million over four years goes to the New Zealand Authors’ Fund to compensate authors for loss of royalty income on books lent by public libraries.

Broadcasting Minister Trevor Mallard announced that Radio New Zealand will receive $10.9 million extra over four years to maintain its core services. Additional funding recognises the broadcaster’s significant and successful public service role domestically and internationally with its internet service.

“The Government continues to invest in the arts, culture, and heritage, and broadcasting because they all contribute to the expressing the unique national identity of New Zealand”, Helen Clark said.

Edwardian Entrance

The entrance to the 1910 Stewart Dawson's building at the corner of High and Cashel Streets.

The fourth building at this location, it was originally the site of the Customs Office of the Canterbury Provincial Government.

May 25, 2008

Archaeopedia: NZ & Pacific Archaeology

Archaeopedia is the online resource for Pacific Archaeologists.

The website is designed for those interested in New Zealand and Pacific archaeology.

The site uses Wikipedia software but it is independent of that site – having its own web address

Like Wikipedia the site invites contributions from users...

May 22, 2008

Podcast: Debunking the Myth of New Zealand's Success Story

Jane Kelsey is a professor of law at the University of Auckland and a prominent critic of globalisation.

She has written a number of books and many articles on the restructuring of the New Zealand state and the Treaty of Waitangi since 1984. Her most recent book examines the process, substance and effects of the New Zealand experiment in structural adjustment, and options for the future.

In this 69 minute, 1997 lecture, Dr Kelsey spoke at the University of Alberta. She took the audience on a revealing tour of the changes brought about by thirteen years of new right government in New Zealand.

A society once marked by a balance of market forces and a realistic level of government intervention and social support has been converted to a bastion of free enterprise, with its citizens afloat in the global marketplace.

A decade on Kelsey's hypothesis would appear confirmed; these policies have returned New Zealand to a state of colonial dependency, although the imperial centre is now the multi-national corporation rather than the British empire.

Download the 16.8 MB mp3 File

Podcast: Blame And Historic Injustice

The idea that past injustices have been hidden from history is based on an anachronistic conceptualisation of people’s problems, and the assertion of trauma as a result of Maori past suffering has become a way of winning public recognition and attention, and of making a claim on our resources.

The notion that the Maori version of events should not be questioned conveys the idea that they have some privileged access to the truth. And when people sense that they are held to account by a different standard of evidence to everyone else, they understandably begin to reinterpret their past in line with current values and expectations rather than hard evidence.

Maori social problems are not constructed through an archaeological excavation of the past. On the contrary, the attempt to ‘excavate the past’ is itself motivated by the a priori perception of a problem that somehow needs to be validated by history.

The sociologically naive idea that the Maori, who hitherto lacked a voice, have now discovered a new and brave willingness to ‘confront the past’ is a form of collective self-flattery. In truth, the act of remembering is an attempt to engage with the present through the idiom of the past.

There are many practices, that today we condemn as ludicrous, barbaric or abhorrent, which in the past were considered by the vast majority to be acceptable. Should we blame our early European settlers – after all, they surely couldn’t have been expected to know any better?

And does the answer to this blame question have implications for how we should handle cultures operating by principles or practices to which we might take exception.

From Britain's Open University Miranda Fricker (Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London) takes the broader perspective on blame and historic injustice in this twelve and a half minute program.

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May 21, 2008

Podcast: Joyce Grenfell

Sir Bernard Fergusson (1911-1980), Baron Ballantrae of the Bay of Islands, was Governor-General from 1962 to 1967. His father, Sir Charles Fergusson, was Governor-General from 1924 to 1930, his father-in-law, the Earl of Glasgow, was governor from 1892 to 1896, and his grandfather, Sir James Fergusson, was governor from 1873 to 1874.

The New Zealand link continues with Bernard's son Geordie, British High Commissioner since 2006.

Sir Bernard's sister-in-law was the renowned actress and comedienne Joyce Grenfell (1910-1979). Joyce and Reggie Grenfell were a regular guests at Wellington's Government House and are fondly remembered by a generation of dinner guests, in an era before the decline into political patronage changed the Vice-regal milieu forever.

From the BBC's Great Lives series, comic performer Arabella Weir nominates Joyce Grenfell, whose comic monologues were a huge influence on her, growing up. Joyce's family friend and biographer Janie Hampton supplies the inside information in this 28 minute program.

May 20, 2008

34 Cranmer Square

At the northeast corner of Cranmer Square is an 1870s two storey shop, with accommodation attached. Next to it is an even earlier cottage, which first appears at this location in the later 1850s.

This small dwelling is of a prefabricated design and probably began life at an inner city location, before being moved to an area initially favoured by small tradesmen and domestic servants employed in the grander houses and numerous private schools in the vicinity of Cranmer Square and Park Avenue.

Immediately to the south of the of the small cottage, on a site that has been a car park since 1975, stood a substantial house of historic interest. Built before 1877, this was the home of William Wilson, Headmaster of the nearby Methodist Church School in Durham Street.

In 1900 the Methodist church in St Asaph Street burned down and the adjacent church hall suffered minor damage. In an area that was becoming increasingly industrial, it was decided not to rebuild the church. The hall was dismantled and rebuilt as schoolrooms behind Wilson's house, across the boundary to the gable roofed early 1860s dwelling next door (below Right).

Photographic evidence would appear to further indicate that this older house was also part of the school, which had five teachers and 75 pupils, including 12 boarders by 1904.

In his 1999 book; The Opportunity Shop – Growing up in New Zealand 1948 - 1963, Michael Mence wrote of William Wilson's former home and school;

"When I returned to New Zealand in 1960 to start university I set up house in a tiny one room bedsitter perched on top of a garage in Cashmere. It was quite idyllic, but in my second year I decided I needed to be closer to university and moved to an old Victorian house in Cranmer Square.

There were eight other inhabitants sharing this slightly dilapidated but solid building with a large entrance hall and broad staircase. There was one lavatory on each floor and only one shared bathroom with a penny operated gasometer. I soon came to understand that I had not just rented a bedsitter but was also to become privy to parts of other people's lives, obtaining a glimpse and foretaste of the stages of life which lay ahead of me.

Mrs Mackintosh, my immediate neighbour, was a widowed farmer's wife from the high country, with a weak heart, a good sense of humour, and an extensive repertoire on the piano. Very occasionally she went out dressed up to the nines, but I was, so to speak, her daily link with the outside world — via milk bottle, mail, and the Morse taps of her stick on the dividing wall.

Then there was Harry, a stranded German seaman, who had a kind heart but always seemed to think that people were teasing him, or 'playing the monkey with me', as he called it.

The lady in the bedsitter below me was nearly ninety and stone-deaf, but nonetheless a vital continuity link amidst all the changes to the cast of lodgers over the years. Then there was a woman in her forties, an executive secretary, who later committed suicide.

Some of the other tenants were more clandestine characters. On one occasion I was woken up in the middle of the night by two plainclothes policemen, wanting to know when I had last seen the nocturnal neighbour across the landing. Apparently he was sought in connection with a murder case. Usually, the paths of the occupants only crossed at the Victorian bathroom, in the derelict bike-shed, or at the washing line in the backyard."

Demolished by 1975, the site of William Wilson's former home and school has been a car park ever since.

May 16, 2008

Heritage Building For Sale

Pompous provincial politician William Sefton Moorhouse built himself a rather grand house on the South side of Hereford Street in the early 1850s. It stood near Colombo Street in the block that terminates at Oxford Terrace.

A decade later the central business district was spreading beyond Cashel Street and the location of his house became much favoured by the Banks, Insurance companies and Solicitors, etc. The Bank of New South Wales built new premises in what had been Bill Moorhouse's front garden.

The brick and stone Bank premises survived until 1903, at which time they were replaced by four stories of Edwardian neo-Classic reinforced concrete, to be known as National Insurance House.

The National Insurance Company of New Zealand Limited moved on to larger premises in Gloucester Street, and their old building passed to The North Queensland Insurance Company Limited, becoming known as the QBE Building, with Viscount Bolingbroke's Atlantic & Pacific Travel on the ground floor.

In 2008 the heritage category 3 building is occupied by a cafe, various offices and a couple of apartments. It is currently for sale at $1,950,000.

The illustration is the work of the renowned Christchurch illustrator and set designer Luciana Orr.

May 14, 2008

Lost Lyttelton

The principal port of Canterbury, founded in July 1849, has lost most of its early public buildings. Among the more significant demolitions were the first Lyttelton Main School and the Colonist’s Society Hall

To the Left (in the top image) is the Lyttelton Main School, built in 1874 to a design by William Armson, it was demolished in 1941. A former ships' mast, which became the school's flag pole is seen at the near Left.

To the Right is the Society of Canterbury Colonists' Hall. Built at a cost of £1,450 and opened on the 22nd of November, 1867, it provided a library, committee & reading rooms, and a concert hall. The building was demolished in 1943.

Originally known as Dampiers Bay Road, Simeon Quay (below Norwich Quay) commemorates the first Chairman of the Colonists’ Society; Captain Charles Simeon (1816-1867). He was also the Resident Magistrate, Commissioner of Police, Sheriff of the Province and Speaker of the Canterbury Provincial Council.

Gavin Buxton's model of the school

May 11, 2008

HMAS Manoora at Lyttelton

At Lyttelton's No. 5 Wharf, the 8,534 ton HMAS Manoora formerly the USS Fairfax County, a Newport class tank landing ship. Launched in 1971, she joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1994.

May 10, 2008

Risingholme, Opawa, 1972

Risingholme was built in 1864 by William Reeves (1825-1891), politician and proprietor of the Lyttelton Times.

After Reeves died the house passed through various private owners until 1943, when it was purchased and presented to the city by the philanthropist Sir Jack McKenzie (1876-1955). Risingholme has been a community centre since 1944.

Circa 1870

Avebury, Richmond, 1972

Designed by James Glanville (1841-1913), a builder of St Asaph Street, who doubled as an architect, Avebury was built in 1885 for James Flesher, O.B.E. (1865-1930), a Solicitor and Mayor of Christchurch 1923-25.

Originally standing on twenty five acres, after Flesher’s death it passed to his son Herbert, who sold the house and eight acres to the Crown in 1945. Six years later the house and land were acquired by the Christchurch City Council for recreational use.

The house became the Cora Wilding Youth Hostel in 1965 and the land was established as Avebury Park. In 1997 the hostel closed and Avebury faced demolition.

Restoration began in 2000 and two years later Prime Minister Helen Clark opened the rejuvenated building as the Avebury House Community Centre.

In 1899 James Glanville designed the extant, but now relocated, Leinster House for Andrew Fuller Carey (1863-1937), a partner in the Drapery of Tonycliffe and Carey at the northeast corner of Colombo and Gloucester Streets. 

Originally situated on the corner of Papanui and Leinster Roads at Merivale, Leinster House bears a strong resemblance to Glanville's earlier dwelling for James Flesher.

Also in James Glanville's American influenced architectural style were a pair of houses on the eastern side of Latimer Square, between Worcester and Gloucester Streets. Demolished between 1973 and 1990, the sites of these large dwellings are occupied in 2008 by townhouses and an extension to the Latimer Lodge Motel.

May 9, 2008

Cathedral Square, 1972

A wet Winter morning, school children alighting from the Lyttelton bus in front of the Godley statue. The Savoy Cinema, on what is now the Novotel construction site in the background.

From the Canterbury Heritage image archive.

May 7, 2008

Lyttelton's Grubb Cottage Reƫvaluated

By means of the digital interpolation of the first image of the nascent settlement, with the earliest known topographical survey map and recent aerial images of the township, it is possible to indicate an earlier and historically more significant origin to Lyttelton's Grubb cottage.

Joseph Thomas, Principal Surveyor and Acting Agent of the Canterbury Association, arrived at Lyttelton, with a working party of thirty five, on the 2nd of July, 1849. In the hold of the Fair Tasmanian were five prefabricated dwellings, a Blacksmith's shop and four horses.

After initially living in tents, erection of the prefabricated buildings was completed nineteen days later. That day Walter Mantell sketched the results from the vicinity of where the Time Ball Station now stands.

Reflecting the prevailing social values of the time, the settlement was spread over three separate locations. The Blacksmith's shop and tradesmen's accommodation were situated to the near northeast of where the proposed wharf was to be built. The three houses for the middle management staff were erected 256 metres to the West on what would become Norwich Quay, next to what is now the Mitre Hotel site.

But more importantly the house of the Acting Agent was situated on a promontory 87 metres to the North-by-northwest of the middle management's cottages. This simple two roomed dwelling was erected on a north-south axis overlooking a small stream, which then dropped 5.2 metres in what would become its front garden when the town survey was completed.

In April, 1850 Thomas moved to a larger cottage in the precinct of the Emigration Barracks and John Grubb, a Carpenter in the Canterbury Association's employ, was subsequently granted formal permission to squat on the section where Joseph Thomas' first home stood. On the 1st of July 1851 the Association held the first ballot for the sale of sections and John Grubb purchased his section for £23. As the set price for a Lyttelton section was £12, this amount would appear to indicate pre-existing improvements.
As indicated in an April, 1852 sketch by William Holmes (above), Grubb had extended the cottage to a "T" shape, with a single storey extension on the southern end of the earlier two-roomed cottage. On an east-west axis the extension featured a simple, south facing, veranda overlooking London Street. The subsequent photographic record indicates that the bedrooms in the higher gabled roof line and the bull nosed veranda of this extension were added about 1865. This is the building as it now appears.

The rear portion of the house is accordingly believed to be the original home of the actual founder of Canterbury and the oldest surviving dwelling of the provincial settlement.

The house remained in the Grubb family until 1961 and was subsequently purchased in 2006 by the Christchurch City Council for $260,000. At the end of May, 2008 the Council announced plans for spending a further $250,000 to fund necessary conservation and stabilisation work.

Satellite view of the building's location
geo:lat= -43.601916
geo:lon= 172.719294

Christchurch Mayor Proposes Suburban Rail Reinstatement

Bob Parker has seized on the Government's agreement to repurchase the rail network as a chance to kick start passenger rail services connecting the city centre to Lyttelton, Rangiora and Rolleston on existing tracks.

If the proposed extension to the inner city vintage tram line could be integrated with a reinstatement of the 1867-1970 passenger service to Lyttelton and thereby to the proposed $30 million cruise ship terminal, then significant benefit would undoubtedly accrue to the city.

Sixty-four thousand cruise ship passengers visited the port in 2008, with that number forecast to grow to one hundred and ten thousand in the following year.

A vintage passenger train and/or tram link between the cruise ship terminal and the city's cultural precinct could be a major tourist attraction.

Related Links

Commuter rail network mayor's goal - The Press, 7 May 2008

New cruise-ship berth for Port of Lyttelton - The Press, 29 March 2008

May 6, 2008

Opposition to New Brighton Redevelopment

Brighton Beach 1927

From a city where the more salubrious suburbs are near the airport and sea frontage properties are the cheapest in the developed world comes further example of the cognitive inflexibility that's impeding regeneration of the once popular seaside suburb.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust and the New Brighton Residents' Association (no web site or email contact) oppose plans for apartment buildings up to ten stories high along the sea front.

Opinions are polarised between those who believe the taller buildings will regenerate the declining suburb and allow sea views above the dunes and those who believe they will create a barrier between residents and the sea, destroying the suburb's increasingly bland character.

Tussle over taller buildings - The Press, 06 May 2008

May 5, 2008

Podcast: A Decent Burial

Hindsight is the only feature program on Australian radio devoted exclusively to social history. Hindsight offers new perspectives on and insights into the past, through stories that may be well known, or may have been ignored, or erased from the public record.

Contrasting the cultures of Sydney and Melbourne, this discussion is relevant to the Canterbury experience, which like New South Wales was a Church of England dominated settlement. The ongoing similarities are even more pertinent where there is diversion from the original subject.

The 55 minute program examines changing attitudes to the dead and their burial, from the ad hoc early days of the penal colony in Sydney through to the late nineteenth century and the creation of the very grand Rookwood Necropolis.

Throughout the colony's early history there was an ongoing tussle between church and state for control of bodies of the dead, exacerbated by the struggle between church and church as Protestants and Catholics accused each other of impiety; while underlying all this was always the thorny question, 'What do we do with the bodies of the poor?'

Download the 25 Mb mp3 audio file

Podcast: C. K. Stead Interview

From the ABC Book Show

Poet, novelist and literary critic Christian Karlson Stead is one of New Zealand's most distinguished literary figures.

Stead was awarded the C.B.E. in 1985 for services to New Zealand literature, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1995, and received an honorary doctorate in letters from the University of Bristol in 2001.

His most recent book of poems is The Black River and he has also published a collection of essays and reviews called Book Self.

Podcast: The Literature of New Zealand

The author of fourteen books, Norbert Elliot is Professor of English in the Department of Humanities at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

In this eleven minute lecture Dr Elliot refers to the following works:

Allen Curnow, The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch
Janet Frame, The Day of the Sheep
Patricia Grace, And So I Go
Witi Ihimaera, His First Ball

Download the 7.8 MB mp3 File

May 4, 2008

Canterbury Maps

All links open in new windows. This index will be continually updated.

Akaroa Harbour, Surveyed by Commander Owen Stanley (1811 – 1850) and James S. Hill of HMS Britomart, 1840

Map of the land sold by the tribe of the Ngaitahu to William Wakefield for the New Zealand Company, done at Akaroa on the 12th day of June 1848

Akaroa Harbour, surveyed by Captain J. L. Stokes, etc. H.M.S. Acheron, 1849-50

Birds eye view of proposed Christchurch Canal, 1906

Canterbury Land District. No. 6 plan shewing pastoral runs in Canterbury N.Z., 1889

Chart of Banks' Peninsula, taken by the officers of the Corvette Le Rhin, in 1844 & 1845

Christchurch, surveyed and published by Charles Edward Fooks (1829 – 1907), Architect & Surveyor, 1862

Christchurch area, 1963, showing swamps & vegetation cover. Compiled from Black Maps of 1856

Christchurch International Exhibition, plan of the site, showing levels, etc., to accompany conditions for competitive designs. George McIntyre, Surveyor, 1905

Christchurch, compiled from data supplied to the Christchurch City Council and District Drainage Board ; Thomas Stoddart Lambert (1840-1915), 1877

County of Waimairi, District Scheme. Planning maps, 1974, Part 1

County of Waimairi, District Scheme. Planning maps, 1974, Part 2

County of Waimairi, District Scheme. Planning maps, 1974, Part 3

County of Waimairi, District Scheme. Planning maps, 1974, Part 4

County of Waimairi, District Scheme. Planning maps, 1974, Part 5

Extract from the French Government chart of Banks' Peninsula, 1845

Geological map of the Provinces of Canterbury and Westland, by Julius von Haast, Ph.D., F.R.S., Principal Geologist, circa 1866

Geological sections of Lyttelton and Christchurch railway tunnel, by Julius von Haast, Ph.D., F.R.S., circa 1875

Mandeville and Rangiora Road District, probably by Thomas Cass, Chief Surveyor of Canterbury District (1851-1867), 1864

Maori place names of Banks Peninsula, from sketch plans supplied by Canon James W. Stack, with additional names by W.H.S. Roberts & Others. Insets: Coastline from Lakes Ellesmere to the Rakaia River, rough sketch plan by William Deans of Banks Peninsula & part of the Plains in 1845 showing the whaling stations & Riccarton, 1894

Maori reserve north of Kaiapoi, circa 1850

Map of Banks' Peninsula showing roads and physical features, circa 1924

Stone's Map of Christchurch, circa 1930

Map of Christchurch, Supplement to The Press newspaper, circa 1930

Map of Christchurch, supplement to The Press, July 11th, 1912

Christchurch and suburbs, includes advertising at top and bottom of the map, 1922

Map of Province of Canterbury, by Thomas Cass (1817-1895), 1866

Map of surveyed districts, Canterbury, drawn by A. Wills from the original map by Joseph Thomas, Chief Surveyor to the Canterbury Association, 1852. Part 1

Map of surveyed districts, Canterbury, 1852. Part 2

Map of surveyed districts, Canterbury, 1852. Part 3

Map of surveyed districts, Canterbury, 1852. Part 4

Map of surveyed districts, Canterbury, 1852. Part 5

Map of surveyed districts, Canterbury, 1852. Part 6

Map of surveyed districts, Canterbury, 1852. Part 7

Map of the city of Christchurch, 1929. Part 1

Map of the city of Christchurch, 1929. Part 2

Map of the city of Christchurch, 1929. Part 3

Map of the city of Christchurch, 1929. Part 5

Map of the city of Christchurch, 1929. Part 6

Map of the city of Christchurch, 1929. Part 7

Map of the city of Christchurch, 1929. Part 8

Map of the city of Christchurch, 1929. Part 9

Map of the colony of New Zealand from official documents, 1844

Map of the Cust Road District, 1866

Map of the Heathcote Road district, 1879

Map of the Mandeville and Rangiora Road District, circa 1880

Map of the Mount Cook Road District, 1878

Map of the Oxford Road District, 1883

Map of the Port Hills' Akaroa Summit Road and reserves, circa 1918

Map of the Province of Canterbury, New Zealand shewing the pasturage runs, circa 1860

Map of the Riccarton Road District, 1879

Middle Island, 1850

New Brighton, Christchurch, building allotments, 1899

Map of the North and Middle Islands, General Survey Office, 1889

New Zealand : Te Anau Lake to Milford Sound : tourist foot road, 1904

New Zealand : the Southern Alps : Eastern slope of Mount Cook, 1904

Part of city of Christchurch, 1926

Parts of Canterbury and Nelson, shewing the route to Hanmer hot springs, 1900

Plan of a portion of the plains of Canterbury, 1865

Plan of Christchurch and suburbs, 1879

Plan of sections in blocks I and II, Lyndon Survey District, Hanmer Plains 1899

Plan of subdivision of rural sections no. 217 and 218, circa 1903

Plan of the city of Christchurch, 1874

Plan of the city of Christchurch (Selwyn County) Canterbury, N.Z., 1883

Plan of the Lowry Peak Run, in the Amuri District, province of Nelson, circa 1854

Plan of the town of Akaroa, 1878

Plan of the town of Ashburton, 1879

Upper Waimakariri and Lake Coleridge Road Districts, circa 1880

Plan of town of Ashbourne, circa 1883

Portion of West Coast of Middle Island, New Zealand, showing route from Nelson via Buller to Hokitika, and Otira Gorge route circa 1900

Road map of the province of Canterbury, New Zealand, circa 1910

Sketch map shewing railways, South Island, 1887

Sketch of Middle Island (New Zealand) shewing the East Coast as laid down by Captain Stokes, 1850

Sketch of the harbours of Port Cooper and Port Levy November, 1842

South Westland and central portion of Southern Alps, New Zealand, circa 1900

Taununu's Pa, Ripapa Island, Lyttelton Harbour, 1872

The central portion of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, 1892

The colony of New Zealand, between 1887 and 1889

The Islands of New Zealand, 1838

The provinces of Canterbury and Westland, New Zealand during the great glacier period, circa 1875

Topographical map of Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, Westland, New Zealand, 1911

Town of Lyttelton, circa 1860

Town of Waiau, before 1866

Town, village and suburban sections Port Robinson, suburban sections Gore Bay, & parts of Blocks IX & XI, Cheviot survey district, 1894

Township of Ashburton, between 1874 and 1880

Township of Rakaia, 1874

Trigonometrical and topographical survey of the districts of Mandeville and Christchurch, 1850

Wairau plain and valley, 1849

Podcast: The Human Tissue Bill

From Australia, All in the Mind is Radio National's weekly foray into all things mental – a program about the mind, brain and behaviour.

The Maori believe the body is derived from the earth, and returns to the ancestral earth at death—complete. The flesh, and all its bits, are sacred.

The new Human Tissue Bill has provoked debate over who owns your body at death—you or your family?

The Maori Party argues the legislation is Western-centric and racist. And, a young Maori scientist working with post-mortem brain tissue is breaking new ground, to keep her lab life 'culturally safe', in consultation with her tribe. Transcript

Note this podcast and streaming audio ONLY stays online for 4 weeks from 3 May 2008, so download while you can!

May 3, 2008

Podcast: Escape to New Zealand

In the nineteenth century the Utopian dream attracted immigrants willing to turn their backs on the tragedy of their own failing culture in return for a new start.

In the twenty-first century environmental refugees seek a home somewhere on the planet where the predicted global changes can, perhaps, be weathered.

A 23 minute documentary from the archives of the BBC World Service.

May 2, 2008

Earth Hour: Christchurch After Lights Out

At 8pm on the 29th of March, Christwegians were among the millions of people who switched off for Earth Hour.

Christchurch saved 12.8% electricity during Earth Hour - a result which WWF-New Zealand's Executive Director Chris Howe says is "a fantastic achievement. People in Christchurch and across New Zealand really got involved in Earth Hour and made it a success. Research showed 64% of people in Christchurch took part, which is brilliant."

May 1, 2008

Early Inner City House Identified

Without its Edwardian neo-classic cornice and arcaded pediment and beneath layers of paint, what has become a relatively undistinguished building on the South side of Hereford Street between Liverpool Street and Latimer Square hides a secret.

Behind the century old former Christchurch Drainage Board offices is a substantial 1863 house.

Bricklayer and Plasterer Patrick Foley (1835-1905) immigrated to Christchurch in 1856. Three year later he was joined by his two brothers and two sisters. Patrick and John Foley (1829-1899) had set themselves up as plasterers at Hereford Street premises by 1860. Prominent in the Loyal Order of Foresters Lodge and a founder of the Mechanic's Institute (now the Christchurch Public Library), John also became well known in local music circles.

In October 1862 John Foley acquired Town Section 813 further along the same street. A two storey house was erected on the site and 30 year-old John and Elizabeth Ann Foley made it their home from early 1863. Built of Terracotta brick in the Late Georgian style, the simple facade featured stone masonry window surrounds.

The Foley's house is seen in the above image to the Right of the Family Hotel (subsequently known as Collins' Hotel and then as the Occidental Hotel from 1889, the 148 year-old building is derelict in 2008).

The brothers' business flourished and in 1866 they were commissioned to undertake interior decoration of the new Canterbury Provincial Council Chamber. Unfortunately John's commercial acumen did not match his vocal skills, declared Bankrupt in February 1868, the Foley's home reverted to the Provincial Trust & Loan Association.

The 1870s were a boom period for the province and the inner city commercial district expanded to engulf the house, which became the offices of New Zealand Insurance Company. Overlooking the yard of Cobb & Co, a large sign was painted on the Western wall (above).

Five years later the offices of the Christchurch Local Board of Health and the Christchurch Drainage Board were opened in the former home. The legal practice of Acton-Adams & Kippenberger were also in the building from 1887, from where Phillip Kippenberger acted as Consul for Germany.

In 1908 the Christchurch Drainage Board built adjoining offices in what had been the front garden of the house.

Although the ceilings in the later extension are entirely plain, there is one exception, that being what was probably the first floor Board Room. Its ceiling is elegantly decorated with mouldings in the Rococo style (below), which might appear to indicate that they originally graced the reception rooms of the Plasterers 1863 home.

The combined buildings served as the Drainage Board's offices until 1989. Subsequently occupied by the Surveying, Civil Engineering and Town Planning partnership of Davie and Lovell-Smith, they have been the premises of the 198 Youth Health Centre since 1995.

Google Map of the location (geo:lat=-43.532224 lon=172.640952)