Beca Christchurch Heritage Festival

Beca Christchurch Heritage Festival brings together a wide range of community events and activities from 7 to 28 October 2019. This year’s theme is "Encounter Our Stories".

Christchurch Photo Hunt

The Christchurch Photo Hunt is our annual heritage image competition. It runs from Tuesday 1 October to Thursday 31 October. Winners will be announced on Monday 2 December.These photographs will help to create a picture of our city’s heritage. You can bring in your photo to your local library and we will scan it and return it to you or you can submit online. Your photograph will be uploaded to the Discovery Wall where it can be viewed on the website, on the large wall at Tūranga, or on the mobile Discovery Wall that will be at South Library for the month of October.

We are proud partners with Beca Christchurch Heritage Festival 2019. Thank you to our supporters Spark, who are providing the prize for the overall winner of the 2019 Christchurch Photo Hunt and to Star Media.

Beca Christchurch Heritage Festival events at libraries

Illuminate: Unearthing treasures from our collection (until Sunday 27 October)

To celebrate our 160th birthday, we've gone deep into our vaults and rummaged our shelves to bring you some of our favourite gems. Stunning, unexpected, extraordinary, curious - come and find your favourite! Tūranga Te Pito Huarewa / Southbase Gallery, Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2.
View photos on Flickr

Christ Church Cathedral - make your own rose window Friday 11 to Sunday 13 October

An opportunity for children aged 5 to 10 to discover the story behind the iconic Christ Church Cathedral rose window. Bookings required.

Family History Fun Day Saturday 12 October 10am to 4.30pm at Tūranga

The all-day activities include colouring in with a local history theme and a scavenger hunt using our Discovery Wall’s heritage images. Also take a moment to visit Illuminate: Unearthing treasures from our collection – the latest exhibition in the Te Pito Huarewa/Southbase Gallery showcasing treasures from Christchurch City Libraries. Research your whakapapa with our Māori Services specialists - more details to come! No bookings required, except for the Dead End Club.


  • 10:30am: Bring the kids along to a special inter-generational themed Storytimes on Hapori | Level 1.
  • 11am: Be enthralled by local storyteller Margaret Copland bringing local stories to life on Tuakiri | Level 2.
  • 1pm to 2pm: Take a tour of the Christchurch City Libraries’ archives, view the collections and get some advice on how to preserve your family papers and photographs on Tuakiri | Level 2.
  • 2pm to 3.30pm: Get to grips with DNA testing for family history with speakers Dr Rob Cruickshank and Fiona Brooker in Tautoru/TSB Space, Hapori | Level 1.
  • 3.30pm to 4.30pm: Join the Dead End club, share your family history dead ends and work together to break down those brick walls on Tuakiri | Level 2. Limited space, bookings required. Email or phone 03 941 7923 to book.

Our Heritage, Our Stories, Serving the Chinese Community for over 85 years Saturday 12 October to Saturday 19 October at Tūranga

Come and see a display of the New Zealand Chinese Association's publications on the history of Chinese people and settlements in New Zealand.

Paderewski - Polish Music Imprint on NZ's Soul Saturday 19 October 3pm to 5pm at Tūranga

Come to the launch of the book 'Ignacy Jan Paderewski - A Pianist Amidst The Geysers' by Jacek R Drecki.

True Life Tales: Encountering each other Sunday 20 October 1pm to 3pm at Tūranga

Hear true life tales of personal encounters across cultures, language and time by members of our culturally diverse Ōtautahi Christchurch community and be part of a simultaneous live radio broadcast on Plains FM96.9. Enjoy the storytelling of singer-songwriter Lisa Tui. Stay for refreshments and a chat with the opportunity to record your very own 'encounter story' with the Plains FM team. Suitable for 12 years and over.

Join us as we weave the strands of our various heritage narratives together through performance and conversation.

1pm to 2pm: Storytelling and live broadcast.
2pm to 3pm: Community conversation and record your encounter story.

Honestly Sharing the Stories of Our People Sunday 20 October to Sunday 27 October 2019. Opening 20 October: 6pm to 8pm, 21 to 25 October: 9am to 8pm, 26 to 27 October: 10am to 5pm at Tūranga

Humans of Christchurch Ōtautahi is a volunteer group made up of photographers and storytellers, who have been honestly sharing the stories of people in our community for two years. To celebrate their 50th story they are hosting an exhibition to share these stories with the wider community. Join them at the opening of the exhibition on Sunday 20 October in the TSB Space at Tūranga. This is a ticketed event due to the limited capacity at TSB on Level 1 of Tūranga. The exhibition will then be open to view from 21 to 27 October.

Young Writers: Encounter Our Stories Monday 21 October, Friday 25 October 9.15am to 2.45pm

Young writers will become microfiche detectives to investigate the stories of places and people they connect with. They will then be guided by expert tutors from WRITE ON School for Young Writers to write their own stories, poems or personal thoughts in response. For kids years 7 to 10, $20. Bookings required.

Beca Christchurch Heritage Festival

View the full programme of events, exhibitions, and activities including:

Wombledon Open: Explore and Archaeology Office Friday 11 October 7pm to 9pm

Womble your way around Underground Overground Archaeology's lab and see the things that everyday folks left behind.
Location: Underground Overground Archaeology, 95 Wordsworth Street, Sydenham
Bookings required.

Biketober post-quake heritage building cycle tour Friday 11 October 10am to 12noon; Saturday 26 October 1pm to 3pm

Join a guided cycle tour of the Central City to see some interesting heritage buildings.
Location: Margaret Mahy Playground, Corner Armagh and Manchester Street, Christchurch Central
Bookings required.

Behind the fences of ChristChurch Cathedral Monday 14 October, Wednesday 16 October, Saturday 19 October 10am to 11am

A special opportunity for small tours to see Christ Church Cathedral from inside the construction fences.
Location: Cathedral Square
Bookings required.

He whare, he taiao ... Kia matapopore...! Tuesday 15 October 5.30pm to 6.30pm

As we move deeper towards an uncertain future, city makers and thinkers are reimagining how we live and how the environments we create can be better integrated with natural ecological processes. Matapopore Charitable Trust, in collaboration with Boffa Miskell’s Craig Pauling, presents a discussion on why integrating Māori narratives and values into the shaping of our urban environments could help guide us towards a more respectful and meaningful way of living cohesively with our natural environment.
Location: The Arts Centre, 2 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch Central
No bookings required.

Tātarikihi: the Children of Parihaka Saturday 19 October 7pm to 9pm

See this 2012 documentary by award-winning producer/director Paora Joseph and executive producer Gaylene Preston.
Location: St Albans Baptist Church, 64 McFaddens Road.

McLean's Mansion - Open for viewing Saturday 26 October to Monday 28 October

Come and see what is happening with the major restoration of McLean's Mansion, a Category 1/Highly Significant heritage building and one of the nation's largest timber buildings.
Location: 387 Manchester Street.
Bookings required.

Find out more about Christchurch heritage

Our heritage resources provide you with information about Christchurch’s history, its people and places and also help in finding out about your own heritage and family history.

More information

Previous Heritage Week celebrations

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