7 May 1917: Canterbury Aviation Company makes first flights from Sockburn Aerodrome

C M Hill, Flight instructor

Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co. Ltd  was formed in August 1916, and purchased land for a flying field 3 months later. The Company was chaired by Sir Henry Wigram, who had tried to have a state-backed flying school established and when that attempt failed,  decided - along with his fellow directors - to establish their own. By the end of December that year, […]

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Sergeant Henry James Nicholas V.C., M.M

Statue of Sgt Henry Nicholas, VC

He was a carpenter, a sportsman - a boxer - went to Christchurch Normal School (local boy), his photos show a nice face, and he wasn't married. Just an ordinary kiwi bloke, maybe. But he did extraordinary things. Henry Nicholas enlisted in February 1916 with the 1st Canterbury Battalion, and landed in France in September 1916. With his Regiment was […]

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Armageddon – No, not the end of the world…


"Woo-hoo," I said to my friend "Armageddon's happening 11th and 12th March, yayee!" Inexplicably she looked worried, "But I'm not ready for the end of the world yet!" Ooh, we are obviously talking about two different events - the one I want to go to is the Armageddon Entertainment Expo which is happening in Christchurch at the […]

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Hagley Park and the Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Hagley Park

If you like trees then Hagley Park probably rates as one of your favourite "Go-To" places, just as it is mine. With 164 hectares to wonder around in, and 5000 trees in Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens there is always something new to see and enjoy, regardless of the weather, and it's never crowded […]

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Thanks Harry!

Harry Ell and Sign of the Bellbird

Thank you, Harry Ell. Without your dedicated work over many years, the residents and tourists in Christchurch wouldn't have the wonderful reserves of the Port Hills to walk, cycle and play in. Henry George Ell was a husband, father, soldier, stationer, politician, prohibitionist, conservationist, and was the driving force behind the establishment of the reserves […]

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Happy birthday, Christchurch City Libraries!

Old Library on Hereford St

My family and I moved to Christchurch at the beginning of 2009, and one of the first things we did - as you do - was go to the library and sign up for a membership. The staff probably cringed when they saw the five of us arrive, but they were so nice and helpful […]

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Captain Anthony Wilding – Wimbledon champion, killed in action 9 May 1915

Anthony Wilding

Captain Anthony Wilding was the first and - so far - the only New Zealander to win a Wimbledon championship. His record in the International Tennis Hall of Fame reads: Career Achievements Top Ranking World No. 1 (1911) Grand Slam Results 11-time major champion and 4-time finalist Olympics Bronze Medal in Men’s Indoor Singles at the […]

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The Bridge of Remembrance to reopen

Bridge of Remembrance

It's been a bit of a wait, but - fingers crossed ! - soon we will be able to stand on the Bridge of Remembrance again.  Of course, the surrounds don't quite look like the photo above anymore. The repairs, painstakingly carried out by SCIRT, to the Bridge and Arch were completed in September 2015, […]

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First National Council of Women, Christchurch, 1896

Kate Sheppard Memorial

Looking at this photo makes me very grateful that I wasn't born any earlier -  these Victorian clothes look so hot, so uncomfortable, and as for those fussy caps! Ugh! But what these women are wearing is about the least important part of the  photograph - this is the first National Council of Women, meeting […]

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Race Relations Day: Welcoming Diversity

Race Relations Day

Race Relations Day – 21 March 2016 New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse nations on earth. It is also one of the most peaceful.  Our biggest challenge is how we choose to live our lives and what kind of country we let New Zealand become. This Race Relations Day we are asking […]

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