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Green-fingered past coming to life at Christchurch Botanic Gardens

11 October 2004

Staff from Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens will adopt the manner, dress and persona of important people from the past as part of the city’s celebration of Heritage Week, which runs this year from 15-22 October.

Many of the people being portrayed played a crucial role in making the Gardens what they are today – with people paying more than 1.2 million visits a year -- or are famous people connected to Christchurch’s past who have parts of the Gardens named after them, such as suffragist Kate Sheppard.
As well as having staff dressed in the style of early settlers and gardeners, the people of note who will be portrayed include botanist Dr Leonard Cockayne, the first curator John Francis Armstrong, the first Government Gardener Enoch Barker, generous benefactor Charles Cuningham,  heiress and Mona Vale owner Annie Townend, British botanical artist Marianne North and explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

During Carter Group Heritage Week, the Botanic Gardens Information Centre and the signboards at the main entrances will have information about which historic figures are being portrayed each day. The main historical characters will be able to be encountered from 11am – 2pm each day and organisers say the characters are looking forward to meeting the people who are living in and visiting modern-day Christchurch.

Also on at the Botanic Gardens as part of Heritage Week is a Time Travel trail for children, a display about the Gardens history at the Information Centre and free one-hour heritage guided walks on Tuesday 19 October and Thursday 21 October, leaving from the Information Centre at 12.30pm.

Heritage Week, now in its 12th year, is core funded by the City Council with Carter Group as the principal sponsor. The annual event is organised to foster pride in Christchurch’s past by celebrating the city’s built, social and environmental heritage. This year’s theme is People, Places and Pursuits. The programme of events and activities includes open days, tours, public lectures, workshops and exhibitions.

  • For more information about Carter Group Heritage Week, look out for the free brochures available around the city or visit the website, at

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