Photo Hunt 2021 – People and Place: our stories revealed

It was great to be able to run the 2021 Photo Hunt despite some of the Covid-19 restrictions. 2021 marked the 13th Christchurch Photo Hunt and over this time over 3000 images have been submitted and added to our digital heritage collection.

This year’s theme was People and Place – our stories revealed, which is aligned with the Heritage Festival theme. We received over 600 entries, they have all been uploaded to the  All the images are also available on the Discovery Wall in Tūranga - as well as at the Mobile Discovery Wall

A total of 645 entries were received and an overall winner was selected along with winners and highly commended for the categories of People, Places and best Collection.

View all the 2021 Christchurch Photo Hunt entries.

Filling the gaps in our collection

Dr Christine Whybrew from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga was our guest judge and joined us in selecting the winning images. It’s always exciting to see what is submitted and yet again we received some wonderful images that tell a story and fill a gap in our collection. Christine’s unique perspective drew her to images that told an incidental story. The shops or activities in the background that gave another level of meaning. The social history that was incidental to the focus of the photo. Thank you Christine for your assistance. These new additions continue to help us tell the story of Christchurch through the eyes of local people. See all the 2021 winning entries at

The judges commented that this year’s entries give an insight into previous generations. The incidental stories in the background of the images provide layers of interest for everyone. The living room behind the people, the buildings in the background, and the cars in the street all provide added details.

Special mentions go to the New Brighton zoo images that many people can remember from their childhood. The collections of photographs from Yvonne Dixon of the Abernethy family and the McKee family album are not only precious family photos but also tell important stories of Christchurch and Canterbury.

To the person who handed in photos at South Library, thank you and it would be great to hear back from you with more information about your photos.

The winning and commended photos came from a variety of libraries with many from libraries that don’t often have entries, including Aranui, Hornby, South, Papanui, Upper Riccarton, New Brighton and many more were uploaded to the Discovery wall

Christchurch Photo Hunt is very well supported by library and the wider council staff. We received 289 entries from staff.

You can contribute to our collection anytime by signing up to the Discovery Wall website, or we can scan photographs and return them to you. Contact us at for more information.

Overall Winner: Balloonist in Lancaster Park, 1899 Contributed by Lynda Sadler

Balloonist in Lancaster Park. 1899. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CCL-PH21-LySa-005

Balloonist in Lancaster Park at turn of Century. The flight ended in disaster when Captain Lorraine was blown out to sea and downed. This photo was developed by my father from a glass plate found in the garage of our family home at Tai Tapu.

This image was selected as the winning entry as it is an unusually high quality image of a well-known event. The detail is incredible. The number of women and children viewing the event is interesting and they aren’t aware that they are being photographed. This photo has an interesting social element depicting a big event in Christchurch.

“Capt. Lorraine (Real name: David Mahoney, of Auckland) was giving a parachute display from a balloon at Lancaster Park on 3 Nov. 1899 when his parachute came adrift from the rapidly ascending balloon. The parachute fell off and Capt. Lorraine was left clinging to the balloon which headed over the Port Hills and out to sea. Signalmen at the Port Levy lookout saw the balloon land in the sea about 10 miles from Lyttelton and a boat was launched from the Harbour Board station hut. However, there was no trace of Capt. Lorraine's body and he was presumed drowned” (

Winner of the Antarctica category:

Big lines for the C-17 at the Antarctic Air Day. 29 September 2018. Contributed by Wei Li Jiang

Big lines for the C-17 at the Antarctic Air Day. 29 September 2018. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. CCL-PH21-DW-137621

“Crowds waiting to enter the C-17 Globemaster III at the Antarctic Air Day.”

As part of this year’s Day’s of Ice festival we had a special Antarctica category. Wei Li Jiang’s Big lines for the C-17 at the Antarctic Air Day was selected as the winning entry.

Judge’s comment “We like the composition of the photo with the C-17 tail rising up in the foreground and the way Wei has captured the ‘flying’ clouds”.

Thank you to the International Antarctic Centre who have very generously donated an Ambassador Membership as a prize and support from the Christchurch Antarctic Office.

Category Winner – People: Fernglen House at Purau Bay, 1922. Contributed by Anne Ogilvie

Fernglen House at Purau Bay. 1922. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CCL-PH21-AnOg-001

Anne Ogilvie has been one of our regular submitters and has entered many photographs that show varying aspects of Christchurch. This image has won the People category as it shows how some things never change. It may be a photo of young people from the 1920s but it could be a group of girls hanging out together, mucking around with their hair in a hundred years later in 2021.

People – Highly commended: Christchurch Central Fire Brigade Family Christmas Picnic, December 1953. Contributed by Hayley Wall

Christchurch Central Fire Brigade Family Christmas Picnic. December 1953. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. CCL-PH21-HaWa-001

A great photo of a Christmas work do. Families in their best clothes with father Christmas on the fire engine.

People – Highly commended: Working Bee Weekend at Ripapa Island, 1962. Contributed by Michael Horgan.

Working Bee Weekend at Ripapa Island. 1962. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. CCL-PH21-MiHo-001

This was a working bee weekend at Ripapa Island with Sea Cadets from TS Cornwall Redcliffs and TS Philomel Montreal.

People – Highly commended: P&D Duncan Building, Christchurch, 1920s. Contributed by Lynda Sadler

P&D Duncan Building, Christchurch, 1920s. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CCL-PH21-LySa-006

"P&D Duncan Building, Christchurch [foundries and engineering works] staff photo. My grandfather did his engineering apprenticeship and worked there in early 1920s."

Category Winner – Places: New Regent Street, 1968. Contributed by Dave Brown

New Regent Street. About 1968. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. CCL-PH21-DaBr-002

This colour photo of New Regent Street from the 1960s is unusual. The buildings aren’t the familiar pastels and cars are packed either side of the street. The details of the shops and cars and buildings that are no longer here make it a historically significant photograph.

Places – Highly commended: Cathedral Square, July 1919.

Cathedral Square. July 1919. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CCL-PH21-027

Cathedral Square looking west showing the arches built for the Peace celebrations.

This is an unusual night shot of Cathedral Square. The peace celebrations were held to mark the end of WWI.

Places – Highly commended: Schneideman and Sons Ltd, November 1923. Contributed by Chrissy Brizzell

Schneideman and Sons Ltd, November 1923. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CCL-PH21-149

The opening sale for the Christchurch branch of Schneideman and Sons Ltd in November 1923.

This image is of a busy CBD and buildings that are no longer there. We don’t have any photos of these particular buildings in our collection so this will assist future research.

Places – Highly Commended: Canterbury Aero Club buildings at Wigram, late 1930s. Contributed by Peter Hosking

Canterbury Aero Club buildings at Wigram. Late 1930s. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CCL-PH21-PeHo-001

"My father took this photo of the Canterbury Aero Club buildings at Wigram in the late 1930s. The two biplanes were Gipsy Moths. The registration numbers on the other two planes help to identify them. The one on the left was a Miles Hawk and the other a Percival Vega Gull. I don't know who the two boys were”

Collection - winner: Peter Basire.  Para Rubber building fire collection, 20 December 1966 (30 photographs). Contributed by Barbara Newcombe

Crowd control during the Para Rubber fire. 20 December 1966. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. CCL-PH21-203

These detailed photographs of the little documented Para Rubber building fire, 20 December 1966. While the images of the fire and firefighters are documenting the event it’s the details in the background that make these photo so important. The incidental story of the buildings that have gone, the shop names and even the uniforms all give another important historical layer. Search the full collection.

Staff Pick - Winner: New Brighton playground, circa 1990. Contributed by Gail Cook

New Brighton playground, circa 1990. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. CCL-PH21-147

Christchurch Photo Hunt isn’t just for the public. Each year we encourage staff across Christchurch City Libraries and the wider council to enter their photographs. This year we received a total of 247 staff entries on topics ranging from native birds, cultural events, those taken during the Covid-19 Lockdown and of public art.

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