Uncovering Christchurch’s hidden history in photographs

Christchurch City Libraries' annual Photo Hunt competition runs again in October

Every place has a history. Every person has a story. Both can be captured in photographs.

But many of these lie forgotten in old photo albums, shoe boxes, or in the modern era, on memory cards and hard drives.

Christchurch City Libraries’ annual Photo Hunt is an opportunity to uncover these hidden treasures and glimpses of the past, and to share them with the wider community.

Now is the time for Cantabrians to comb through their photograph collections and do their bit to preserve a little bit of local history in line with this year’s Beca Heritage Week theme, Hidden Histories – Our Stories Unearthed.

As well as helping to fill gaps in the photographic history of our region, all entrants have the chance to win either a tablet or a Kobo glo eReader.

“Our city has changed so much in recent years that it’s easy to forget what used to be there – there’s a history of our city and suburbs that’s in danger of being forgotten if we don’t preserve it. Homes and businesses, family outings to places that have changed beyond recognition, weddings in churches no longer standing – we’re hoping that people will help us unearth some of these memories and stories,” says Christchurch City Libraries Content Manager Anne Anderson.

Images will be carefully scanned and returned, and then uploaded for viewing online at Kete Christchurch, thereby preserving a photographic record of Christchurch for future generations.

Entries are open from Saturday 1 October until 5pm Monday 31 October, and can be submitted at any Christchurch city library or online.

Winners will be announced Friday, 25 November 2016.

Christchurch City Libraries' Photo Hunt is part of Beca Heritage Week, which returns from 14 to 24 October in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. A wide variety of free events are on offer, including a family fun day, talks, crafts, tours and much more.

Photo Hunt categories

  • Your People – How we lived
  • Places - Your landmarks in time

Judges’ biographies

Doc Ross

Christchurch photographer Doc Ross has been capturing the essence of the human environment around the world since the 1980s. On moving to Christchurch in 1998, establishing his studio and small exhibition space Gallery 464 where he has worked and exhibited ever since, Ross has been one of the city's most intimate biographers capturing fleeting social and urban transactions with a flâneur's eye. Ross' work and photo-books are held in public and private collections worldwide. His work has appeared in a number of significant exhibitions including Sotheby's New York USA, Contemporary Photography from Australia and New Zealand (2002).

Tim Veiling

The cornerstones of Tim J. Veling’s photographic practice are the psychological landscape and social-political environment. His work is a subtly evocative blending of the genres of fine art and documentary photography. At its core, his work is an ongoing exploration of concepts of home and belonging, informed by personal connections to family and place. He is currently engaged in the production of several bodies of work documenting the aftermath of Christchurch’s devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Tim is a Senior Lecturer in Photograph at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts.