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Christchurch goes retro

16 October 2008

Christchurch will go retro from this weekend, hosting events jam-packed with nostalgia, music and colour at its Beca Heritage Week.


The themeRetrospective: Christchurch Life, Architecture and Design 1940s-1970s” will focus on reminiscing with photographs and films, dressing up and dancing, commemoration and tributes to the decades.


Apart from the annual events (debate, quiz and heritage dash) Heritage Week will host exhibitions galore – with the Art Gallery, CoCA, Christchurch City Libraries and Our City O-Tautahi offering film, photography, and display models on buildings, events, industry, sports and fashion.


Christchurch City Libraries’ Iconic photo competition is calling for photos from the public on everything from fashion, transport, buildings and streets, events, sports and recreation, occupations and everyday life. Our City – O-Tautahi will showcase Woolston’s industrial reputation with a photographic exhibition while the Canterbury Museum will display historical photographs from The Press.


The Museum will also host a talk from designer Karol London on the fashions of the era: Silhouettes and Fashion in Canterbury 1940 - 1970.


Photographic and artistic representations of iconic buildings, display models, and audio commentaries from architects, make up the exhibition “Constructing the modern city: Post-war Canterbury Architecture 1945-1970” at the Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA) Gallery. The exhibition opened October 15 and is accompanied by an afternoon of lectures on the theme by Professor Ian Lochhead and architectural historians Jessica Halliday and Jenny May during the course of Beca Heritage Week .


The NZ Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga will present footage from the NZ Film Archives Collection – Christchurch Architecture from the 40s – 70s at the Art Gallery Auditorium on October 22 including a 16 minute film produced specifically for Heritage Week, Four Houses in Four Decades: Christchurch post-war domestic architecture.


Local stars will shine during Beca Heritage Week: songstress Flip Grater will perform one of her last gigs here at the Week’s opening on October 17 (she leaves for her Europe Cookbook Tour 2008 shortly after) and Keith ‘The Numbers’ Preen will host the Heritage Quiz on 22nd October at Bailies Bar.


Bailies Bar will also host a tribute to the Big Band Sound of the ‘40s with ‘The Delta Swing Hot 5’ on October 24 while the Christchurch 50s Up Brass performs its 14th annual ‘Spectacular Brass and Variety Show’ at  the Town Hall Auditorium on October 20.


Peter Williams from Max Merritt and the Meteors will speak about the music of the ‘60s at the Addington Heritage Evening at St Mary’s Church on October 21. Listen to real stories with the Christchurch City Libraries’ event Hearing it First Hand, which includes excerpts from a collection of taped personal experiences, local reminiscences and memories going back to the ‘40s.


Walktologist Graeme Stanley, a veteran of a 1000 guided walks around the city, will take ramblers on three appreciation tours on October 20, 21 and 23. The walks, all free, will focus on the legacy of Christchurch architects including Sir Miles Warren, Peter Beaven and Don Donnithorne, and the late Charles Luney, builder.


  • The legacy of Architect and Building Icons Sir Miles Warren and the late Charles Luney.

Two hour walk by the Avon, Appreciate Christchurch by Night

Meet Antigua Boatsheds, 2 Cambridge Terrace

Monday 20 October 6.30pm – 8.30pm.


  • Three living treasures: Architects Peter Beavan/Don Donnithorne/Sir Miles Warren: From Gothic revival to Modernist Meander 

Exploring the Carlton Mill/Merivale precinct – starting with Peter Beavan’s Chateau on the Park. Explore works of Don Donnithorne, Peter Beavan and Sir Miles Warren. 

Meet by 20 Darvel Street, Riccarton

Tuesday 21 October, 1.30pm – 3.30pm.


  • Brutalism in Christchurch Architecture – University of Canterbury Crawl 

Ilam Campus – starting with Warren & Mahoney’s Christchurch College and including the University’s sculpture trail and the Ilam Gardens.

Meet – corner of Dovedale Avenue and Waimairi River angle parks, Dovedale Avenue, Ilam

Thursday 23 October, 6pm- 7.30pm


The Ferrymead Heritage Park will showcase 1950s-style leisure and pleasure in fashions, designs, music, dance, theatre and photographs of the period as well as displays of cars, trams, buses, diesel electric locomotives, fire engines, planes and tractors from earlier times.

50 Ferrymead Park Drive, Heathcote

Sunday 26 October, Monday 27 October

10am - 4.30pm


 The Old Stone House (c1870) in Cashmere will house fashion and styles of the 1940s - 1970s, including wedding gowns, table settings, food and recipe books of the era.

Old Stone House, Shalamar Drive, Cashmere

Sunday 19 October, 11am - 4pm


Lyttelton Museum celebrates its 40th anniversary by highlighting the port town’s notable people and events. These include the 1951 Waterfront Lockout and the passenger ferry service to Wellington that ended in the 1970s.

Lyttelton Museum, Gladstone Quay, Lyttelton

Saturday 18 October, Sunday 19 October

Saturday 25 October, Sunday 26 October

Noon - 4pm



Also in Lyttelton, at the Harbour Light Theatre, Christchurch band Emeralds and Greenstone and friends present Lost Treasures Found: The Revival of Traditional Music, an invitation to the journey into musical heritage.

The Harbour Light Theatre

London Street, Lyttelton

Friday 24 October, 8pm - 10.30pm


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