Posts Tagged ‘Christchurch’

Christine and I decided this morning we would walk into town and try to find those of the murals from the Flare Festival which Stephen and I had missed last week. Down Manchester Street we found a display for Slap City, a recent Paste-up and Sticker Festival which I hadn’t known about.

Slap City display

Murals which had been only partly painted last week were now complete, and we were delighted to find this giant cat mural by Swiftmantis. It’s actually right outside the part of the Little High Eatery where Stephen and I had lunch last week, but we’d missed it. A passing woman kindly took our picture holding the cat’s paws.

Giant cat mural

Round the corner we found a 2019 mural by DCypher and OiYou showing local historical scenes including the McKenzie and Willis building, all painted as a negative film strip.

McKenzie & Willis building

By this time we needed refreshment and stopped at Lemon Tree for morning tea. This café is an old favourite and while the ambience inside is fascinating, I prefer to sit outside these days as a Covid precaution. (We got a passing dog walker to take our photo.)

Ruth & Christine at Lemon Tree

We found a further Flare mural at 87 Manchester Street but weren’t sure just what this one was supposed to be. I discovered later it is by Ikarus and shows an eclectic array of video games and cartoon characters.

Mural at 87 Manchester Street

Another Flare mural was at 198 St Asaph Street, painted by Meep, a local artist:

Mural @ 198 St Asaph Street

Heading down Colombo Street we had a chance to enjoy the bird mural on the South Frame which I’d often seen from the car, but not been close to before:

Bird mural

Near this was a portrait of Sir Ernest Rutherford by Jacob Yikes, DCypher, and Ikarus, which is part of the Flare Festival.

Sir Ernest Rutherford

So much to see on city walls
great street art work that just enthralls

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The site of St Luke’s Church on the corner of Manchester and Kilmore Streets has been a significant part of my life, although I don’t remember ever attending a service there.

My earliest memory, aged three, is of going to Play Centre in St Luke’s Hall. Later experience as a Play Centre mother leads me to believe that one of my parents must have accompanied me, but I have no memory of this. What I do remember is being served slices of apples and oranges at morning tea time.

St Luke’s corner is where my father suffered a fatal accident when I was just five. I recall seeing the motorbike he’d been riding lying on the road beside the church.

In the late 1980s PLEBS (Plains Exchange and Barter System) used to hold a monthly market in the Church Hall which we often attended. In the 1990s I was part of a group facilitated by Virginia Westbury where we discussed Goddess traditions. Virginia has a particular interest in labyrinths and she created one on canvas that was displayed at St Luke’s one Sunday afternoon each month. I frequently enjoyed this meditative journey. Sadly the canvas labyrinth was lost in the earthquake.

After the 2011 earthquakes St Luke’s Church was de-consecrated and demolished. Now the bell tower is the only part of the building that remains.

St Luke’s Bell Tower

A plaque on the seat at the bus stop outside the church site memorialises the women who have worked, lived, and died on the streets of Christchurch, and is particularly appropriate as this is an area frequented by street workers.

Memorial plaque for street workers

After the earthquakes a group of students constructed a brick labyrinth in the church grounds that is still there today.

St Luke’s Labyrinth

The building at the right of this photo is St Luke’s vicarage which was in use for over 125 years.

When the poignant 185 White Chairs earthquake memorial needed to be moved to make way for the new stadium it was fitting that it should come to the St Luke’s site.

185 White Chairs

The other significant aspect of this site is that it is believed to be the burial place of Tautahi, for whom our city is named Ōtautahi.

A while ago I heard there was a plan to build a community centre and Diocesan offices on this site, but I’ve heard nothing further. Do you have memories of this corner of Christchurch?

This site has seen so many things
let’s see just what the future brings

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Christine and I parked at Pioneer Stadium with the intention of doing the Somerfield and Hoon Hay Walk from the Council’s 1998 Walk book. The land on which the stadium was built was originally a worked-out shingle pit. The City Council purchased the land in 1937, and in 1950 the pit was filled, grass sown, and the area named Centennial Park to mark the Canterbury centennial. The stadium, which is a multi-purpose recreational facility was opened in 1978.

The highlight of our walk was the discovery of a Lilliput Library in Mathers Road.

Cabinets of books

What an excellent idea to use filing cabinets to house this. Presumably the householder (Pat?) puts books out on top in the morning and files them away at dusk or if it rains. One cabinet is labelled a Community Pantry, but there was no food in it today.

We passed lonely barking dogs, and saw several cats including this one that surveyed us from a gatepost.

Hoon Hay cat

The parks and reserves on our route all looked abandoned today.

Gainsborough Reserve

Perhaps that’s because the children have gone back to school. Time constraints prevented us doing the full walk, but we may well visit this area again.

The pantry had no food for cooks
but there were plenty of free books

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A vicambulist is someone who walks around in the streets. That’s definitely me, although I’d prefer not to be called a street-walker as that word has other connotations.

Today as I walked around I met a group of workers who were replacing the traffic light pole at the north-east corner of the Barbadoes/Kilmore Street intersection. It became bent when hit by a vehicle.

Replacing the pole

A night-foundered vicambulist is a street-walker (with or without other connotations) who has got lost in the darkness. This is definitely not me, as if I walk at night I stick to streets I know well. Are you a vicambulist too?

A call for help must needs be sounded
if someone walking is night-foundered

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Three days ago we were surprised to learn a developer is planning to build multiple townhouses at 14 Nova Place, just a few doors east of our cottage.  We were perturbed when we discovered that the developer is Williams Corp, who are ubiquitous within the central city, and not known for their consideration of neighbours.

14 Nova Place

I contacted the City Council  who told me no consents have been applied for but they had had an inquiry about water supply capacity for the relevant sections.  The planned 26 units are being sold off the plans before any consents are obtained, but consents will be needed before they begin construction.

Prices for the one and two bedroom units start at $425,000, and they are marketed as having on street parking, i.e. no off street parking. This is of particular concern as local on street parking is already in high demand for commuters during the day and Bridge Club patrons at night.  Plus it is often used by PIKO customers.  We are lucky enough to have a resident’s parking space (long may it continue!), and at a recent Christchurch City Council meeting to discuss inner city parking it was suggested that areas like ours should be time limited to deter commuter parking.  There is concern that with 26 new units, and potentially 26 additional residents seeking parks there will be no space available for tradespeople, health workers, etc.  It’s all very well for the Council to promote inner city living without car parking, but I don’t think many citizens have yet made the transition to a car-free lifestyle.

We have been warned by others with experience of Williams Corp that we will need to be aware of potential transgressions such as unsafe worksite practices, breaching District Plan rules, and illegally parked contractor vehicles.

According to the Williams Corp website there are only 19 units left, i.e. seven have already been sold.  I hope the buyers will be owner-occupiers, or offer long term leases rather than AirBnB investments.  I have heard that sometimes when Williams advertise a development as being fully sold some sales have been to an associated company.

We would be delighted to have 26 additional households in our community.  This is an attractive area to live in, and more residents will make nearby retail more viable.  We might even see the return of a local dairy.  Any disruption during construction will be worthwhile if we gain new friends nearby.

An influx of neighbours is coming our way
I hope they’ll be walkers and cyclists who stay




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There were new things to see on this morning’s trip to Turanga.

New mural

A new mural on the fence beside the Cathedral seems almost to invoke Julian of Norwich.

In Armagh Street the endangered black-billed gulls are nesting again.

Gulls on nests

The site owners weren’t quick enough to deter them so they’ll have to be left alone until breeding is finished.  I feel sorry for the people in quarantine in the Crowne Plaza opposite who can’t quite see the nests, unless some guests on the upper floors have strong binoculars.

A fine waka is moored on the river near the Manchester Street bridge.


Commercial waka rides are due to start soon, and will be an unusual experience.  I’ve been on the Otākaro in a canoe and in a punt, but a waka will be a novel experience.

A mural, birds, and waka too
each day we can see something new

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One of the new frames that are part of Gap Filler’s Chch Changes Project has been erected in Cathedral Square.  Depending on which way you look, you can either see the old:


or the new:

Te Pae

From either side there is a view
of central city old or new

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My parents and me on the lawn at 400 Manchester Street, c. 1953

The large house at 400 Manchester St in which I spent my first ten years had originally been rented by my grandmother Ethel who let out rooms.  At the time of her death in 1945 Phyllis, George and Bruce were also living there.  They took over the lease and then sublet when they moved to the North Island for several years.  When they returned with me as a very young baby their sub-tenants refused to yield possession (possibly quite within their rights if they had a fixed term lease), and for some months our family lived in the small sleep-out that was later to become Bruce’s bedroom.  Presumably they shared the bathroom and kitchen facilities.  I can only hope that my mother Phyllis found these arrangements an improvement on conditions in Pukekohe.

Bruce enrolled at Christchurch Boys’ High School, but the family remained poor.  Bruce told me he never accepted invitations to social functions because the only pair of shoes he possessed were his school ones.

Looking back, the house seems more like an institution than a home.  During my infancy it was run as an accommodation house, and advertised as

For comfortable accommodation
Private Home : Handy to city
–Children welcome—
Dinner, Bed, & Breakfast 13/6
Bed & Breakfast 10/6

I wonder who provided the meals as my mother was a notoriously bad cook.  By the time I was three or four the house had become a “Convalescent Home for Male Patients” and there were always a dozen old or infirm men living there.

The house was a wooden bungalow, built around 1920, owned by someone in England and administered by the Public Trust.  A large unlined attic filled the roof space, and the ground floor rooms all opened onto a wide L-shaped hall.  All the rooms (except the kitchen and bathroom) were numbered.  The sitting room, formal and hardly ever used, was Room One. This room faced west, but always seemed dark – perhaps the blinds were left partly pulled, or bushes outside obscured the sun.  I remember little china models of Japanese buildings on an occasional table.  There was a desk where stationery was kept – all custom printed (my father always ordered good stationery for any of his business enterprises).  One time when I’d been naughty, Mother shut me in this room.  Seeking revenge I took scissors and cut a tiny corner off every one of the elegantly printed envelopes, then climbed out the window.  She never mentioned the mutilated envelopes, but must have noticed.

We also had a piano and a radiogram with lots of old 78’s.  I loved to play and dance to the one of Doris Day singing “The Black Hills of Dakota”

There may have been armchairs in this room but I don’t remember them.  In fact I don’t remember seeing anyone actually sitting there, except perhaps Mother at her desk.  Looking back I guess in fact my mother never had time to just sit.  Any sitting was done at the kitchen table, or in chairs beside the patients’ beds, or on the verandah.

Room Two was enormous.  There was a bay window, which also faced west, but this time the light streamed in.  Six patients lived in this room, each with a hospital-style iron bed and a wooden locker.  The furniture throughout the house was painted in a pale shade known as lettuce green.  I had the impression that this was the correct colour for hospital furniture.  There were easy chairs and a window seat in this room which also served as a patients’ lounge.  I spent many hours sitting with the old men, chatting or playing simple games such as snap or draughts.

The long north-facing verandah opened off Room Two and had a couple of couches as well as easy chairs.  When one of these couches finally deteriorated beyond use, we broke it up and burned it on a bonfire in the back yard.  As we pulled it apart we found many coins and other objects which over the years had slid out of patients’ pockets and down between the back and seat.

Room Three held another two or three patients, but Room Four was tiny and held only one.  At some stage during my pre-school years I was allotted this room for myself, the only time until I was thirteen that I didn’t share a bedroom with my mother.  However, my occupancy was short-lived and certainly from the time my father died my mother and I always slept in the same room.

Room Five which was a generous size despite being under the stairs was for some time occupied by my father’s mother who was confined to a wheelchair.  The only time I remember my father chastising me was when as a three or four-year-old I poked out my tongue at my grandmother.  Later the room belonged to whichever live-in housekeeper we had at the time.  Room six, at the north-east corner was the one mother and I shared, with plenty of room for two large iron beds, wardrobe, chests of drawers and space to play.  The iron bedsteads were high – as a small girl it was an effort for me to clamber up, but the iron railings at the end doubled usefully as monkey bars and I frequently hung upside down by my knees.

On the south side of the house were the wash-house, bathroom, kitchen, and the old dining room which had now become Room Seven and held two or three patients.  All the rooms had a high stud, but for some reason the back door was not as high as the others and my father, who was six foot six, had to stoop as he went through.

The wash-house, which was actually outside the back door held the usual old-fashioned tubs and copper, but in the mid-fifties finances were sufficiently good for us to acquire a Bendix washing machine.  This was a front-loading device with spin drier which was concreted into the wash-house floor.  What a difference it must have made to my mother when she no longer had to put everything through the wringer before pegging it out on the washing lines which straddled the backyard, supported by old-fashioned clothes props.  The wash-house was also home to many families of kittens over the years.

The bathroom was primitive, with one bath and a hand basin serving a household of at least sixteen.  There was a zip hot water heater, and in those days a weekly bath was considered ample.  My mother and the current housekeeper somehow managed to lift each patient (and some were stoutly built) in and out of the deep old bath.  The single lavatory, off the bathroom, also had a door to the outside, very necessary when nature called while the bathroom was occupied.  For the less mobile patients there were commodes, and barely adequate screens to provide a modicum of privacy.

It was just simply home to me
this house where dwelt my family


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I hadn’t previously noticed the sign labelling this small lane off Gloucester Street as Nurseryman Lane, and wondered whether it might be a reference to Cabbage Patch Wilson.  The Otakaro site says it refers to the nursery that once stood on the site of the Innovation Precinct, and a couple of other sites give this lane as being between Lichfield and Tuam Streets in the South Frame (rather than the East), so I’m confused.

The other end appears to be called Huanui Lane (meaning trail or highway) and the lane, under whichever name, leads towards a 16 metre tall sculpture in Worcester Street.

Vaka A Hina

Vaka A Hina combines Pacific Island culture with a striking geometry to embody the uniqueness of all the different people who make up our community.  The name translates to Vessel of Hina.  She is a Tongan Goddess who lives on the moon and frequently travels back and forth to earth.  The artist is Semisi Fetokai Potauaine.

This sculpture honours a goddess
which pleases me as you may guess

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This garden shop is a wonderful place to visit and meet new plants.  Luckily we don’t have much space in our garden, so it was easy to withstand temptation, plus I’m wary of new plants that will need constant watering.  Most of our garden is trained to survive with little water (except the vegetables, of course).

We bought a punnet of petunias to replenish the hanging basket, and also tarragon and coriander which we will nurture on the kitchen window sill.  I’ve tried growing coriander outside, but never had any success.   We saw a woman buy a small lemon tree with one enormous lemon hanging on it.  I wouldn’t have minded a new geranium, but the prices seemed high and I can thriftily beg cuttings from friends.

Luckily we’d managed to park in a shady spot, and after stowing our plants in the boot we went to the Terra Viva Cafe for refreshments.  This is a popular spot, with a delightful conservatory area.  On a hot day this shaded airy place was just perfect.  I enjoyed an apricot and ginger scone with a berry smoothie – dietary regimes don’t apply when one is eating out!

Terra Viva Cafe

It is a lovely place to stop
the Terra Viva garden shop

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