Local Heart, Global Soul

September 18, 2018

History On The Rails…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The trams that run in the centre of Christchurch are vintage trams that have been lovingly restored to their former glory. 

I’ve been on them and both the inside and outsides are beautiful, and spotless. 

I see from the sign on one of them that it’s an Invercargill tram, and suddenly realise I have no clue which New Zealand cities had trams around the turn of the 20th Century.

I know that Christchurch had a tram system but then the rails were removed, now they are back (in a limited form) to take tourists around the city centre. Wikipedia tells us that:

steam and horse trams from 1882. Electric trams ran from 1905 to 1954, when the last line to Papanui was replaced by buses in 1954. A few lines were reopened in the city in 1995. The track is standard gauge, 1,435 mm (4 ft. 8 1⁄2 in).”

There is now a 2.5-kilometre (1.6 mi) central city loop heritage tram system, opened in February 1995 and running all year round, as well as a 1.4-kilometre (0.87 mi) extension opened in February 2015 and a tram museum at the Ferrymead Heritage Park with operating trams.

The extension is part of an additional loop planned and partially constructed during late 2000s, and a new strategy report by Jan Gehl commissioned for Council and published in early 2010 suggested an extension of the tram system (and integration of the trams into the general public transport system) as one of a package of measures aimed at reducing car-dominance in the city.”

“In response to the major earthquakes of 2010/11 the Central City Plan adopted by the Christchurch City Council calls for the establishment of a light-rail network in Christchurch.

Initially a line between the central city and the University of Canterbury would be built at a cost of $406m to trial the idea while a study would be conducted to assess the feasibility of extending the network to other destinations such as Christchurch International Airport, Hornby, Lyttelton, Northlands Mall, and New Brighton. Heritage tram services would remain in the central city but that operation is under review pending decisions on when it will be safe to repair the infrastructure and run services but also options for linking it with public transport services.”

The Wikipedia link at the bottom of this post documents every stage of the early Christchurch trams, well worth a look if you like trams and social history. These are beautiful carriages and I hope to see tram lines extended all over the city.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch_tramway_system
Wikipedia / Christchurch tramway system / New Zealand

September 13, 2018

This Artist Is Playing Mind Games…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Heading out of Cathedral Square towards Hagley Park, I discover yet another whimsical mural.

The creativity of New Zealand’s artists is amazing, and this one is no exception.

Even in the composition there are little tricks and whimsical elements. For instance, I thought at first that this mural had originally been much larger because figures and items get cut off at the top.

The closer you look however, the more it seems that this was purposely made to look this way.

A penguin hides around one of the top corners, other decorative elements are painted on other rear walls but can only been seen when viewed from certain angles.

The artist is having fun with the viewer, everywhere there are clues that the “incomplete” look has been done on purpose.

The main theme is that of various animals on bikes, every animal sporting a panel of geometric shapes, diamond, squares, brick pattern or in one case, clouds either in part or in whole.

The mural is large and contains many complex figures so I have divided it in two to hopefully do it justice.

Here we see a median strip, and a gorilla, sloth, ram ride all manner of bikes, the blue cloud figure possibly being a bear.

The brick patterned rhino sits at the bottom, with only the top half seen we don’t know if he is on a bike or not.

For some reason the walrus escaped the geometric pattern treatment, he tows behind his bike what looks to be a small trailer with record players and speakers. The empty space in front of it stretches from the old post office in Cathedral Square, along Worcester Street to the edge of the river on Oxford Terrace, so many buildings lost to the 2010/11 earthquakes. There were two cinemas, and multiple shops, all gone. Luckily this mural gives us a quirky mix of geometric figures on bicycles to bring a smile.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 8, 2018

Something For Everyone…

One thing that we couldn’t miss whilst visiting Cathedral Square in Christchurch, New Zealand, were the quirky seats dotted around the area. These were green (artificial) grassy cube shaped seats, a fun and colourful solution to public seating. On the site of several demolished buildings, a short distance away, the first barrier separating the footpath from the car park also doubled as a seating area. There were of course the older, traditional seats that form a square around each of several large trees too, and the “historic” seats in the general form of piano and it’s keys, that have been around as long as the giant chess set has been in existence, so in essence: something for everyone.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 7, 2018

Chalice… A Leafy Beauty.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

One thing that is impossible to miss is the large sculpture next to Christchurch Cathedral in Cathedral Square.

I find out from the Christchurch City Council website that:

https://www.ccc.govt.nz/culture-and-community/heritage/heritage-in-the-city/chalice “Chalice” is a piece that celebrates the new millennium and 150th Anniversary of the founding of Christchurch and Canterbury by the Canterbury Association. 

Designed by Neil Dawson, sculptor of international standing, The commission was to produce a major contemporary, public artwork for Christchurch.

Chalice has a primary hexagonal steel structure and a solid steel conical base. Native leaf patterns are cut from aluminium sheet, welded to custom-made triangular beam structures, and then bolted into position on the frame.

The exterior of the conical structure is painted silver using a durable automotive paint. The interior of the sculpture, seen through the perforated shell, is painted metallic blue.

A dark band of black pearl granite in six segments surrounds the foot of Chalice making a circle just over 3 metres in diameter. 18 metres high, 2 metres in diameter at ground level and 8.5 metres in diameter at the top, its shape mirrors the spire of Christchurch Cathedral.

With a solid steel base up to approximately three metres above the ground and a perforated network of 42 aluminium shapes represent the leaves of native trees that previously grew in the city area.

The leaves depicted are mapou, kowhai, mahoe, totara, karamu, titoki, ngaio, maratata and koromiko. The leaf patterns – complex constructions made up of computer routed shapes – reflect the geometric features of the Cathedral architecture, windows and tiles. As the leaves become larger, higher up the sculpture, they become more detailed and less dense.

The open texture of the artwork allows views into and through it.

The official lighting ceremony was held 10 September 2001 and Chalice has since been lit at night with one floodlight situated inside the base of the cone and one spotlight aimed at the exterior of the structure from the pavement.

Neil Dawson was born in Christchurch 1948, and went on to receive a Diploma of Fine Arts (Hons), Canterbury University 1970 and a Graduate Diploma in Sculpture, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne 1973. He was also awarded an Arts Laureate by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand in 2003.”

I think that “Chalice” is an excellent choice for the Square, and I like this piece a lot. The fact that it looks as good at night as it does by day is a bonus, but the piece manages to combine the feeling of lightness and a certain fragility within a massive size.

The leaves manage to look delicate and even as the leaves join up and get smaller at the base, everything is still very recognisable, quite a feat for the artist to pull off. And pull it off he does, this has now to be my favourite sculpture in Christchurch, I am sure it has quickly become an icon of the city, a distinction richly deserved.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 6, 2018

John Robert Godley Is Back On His Feet…

There is a large bronze statue standing in front of the Anglican Cathedral in Cathedral Square, Christchurch New Zealand. This statue of John Robert Godley, most famously toppled off it’s plinth during one of the big earthquakes that shook the city in 2010/11 and landed face down on the tiles below. In doing so he became the much photographed face-plant and one of the many iconic images of the quake.

Wikipedia    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godley_Statue
John Robert Godley Statue  , tells us:

The Godley Statue is a bronze statue situated in Cathedral Square in Christchurch, New Zealand. It commemorates the “Founder of Canterbury” John Robert Godley and was the first statue portraying a person in New Zealand. The statue fell off its plinth in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake and time capsules were discovered inside the plinth. It was four years before the statue was returned to its position.

In November 1847, Godley had a fruitful meeting with Edward Gibbon Wakefield over two days. The founding of the Canterbury Association was an outcome of this. He arrived in Lyttelton in April 1850, eight months before the first settlers arrived through the scheme of the Canterbury Association, and acted as the ‘Resident Chief Agent’.

Whilst he only stayed for two days before leaving for Wellington, he stopped expenditure to address mounting debt. Godley was back in the port town for the arrival of the First Four Ships, and was then in effect governor for the Canterbury settlement. He was outspoken, scrupulous and an accepted authority. He was a strong advocate for settler self-governance.

He left the colony in December 1852, only two years after the settlers arrived. Godley died in 1861. The statue was erected in 1867 and is listed as a Category 1 historic place by Heritage New Zealand. The  statue is located in Cathedral Square, the heart of Christchurch, to commemorate the “Founder of Canterbury”.

The statue, by English sculptor Thomas Woolner, was cast in the Coalbrookdale foundry in Shropshire in 1865. It was unveiled by magistrate Charles Bowen in Cathedral Square on 8 August 1867.

In 1904, a Christchurch City Councillor advocated for the statue to be moved, as the soon to be built trams would not leave enough space around it. In 1907, the City Council gave permission for the erection of a tram shelter to be built that completely hid the statue from view from the Cathedral. In 1917, the situation was made worse by the construction of underground toilets right next to the statue. Finally, on 5 March 1918, the statue was shifted to a new position to the north of ChristChurch Cathedral.

The tram shelter was demolished in 1931 and the statue was moved back into its original location in April 1933 after the removal of some trees from this part of the Square.

The statue fell over during the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake. In the following days time capsules were discovered beneath its plinth by a crane driver, one a damaged glass bottle containing a parchment and the other a sealed metal container. The two capsules were placed in the care of Canterbury Museum for examination and preservation. The time capsules were to be opened once the Museum’s lab was operating again sometime in April 2011.

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker said in late February 2011 “the first thing that we will do in this city is put back up on that plinth the man whose vision it was.” After a conservation process that included the strengthening of the bronze, the statue was put back on 18 February 2015, “just shy of four years since he tumbled from his plinth.”

On 2 April 1985, the statue was registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I historic place, with the registration number being 3666. The statue is significant, as it is the only known work of Woolner in New Zealand. It demonstrates the link between the settler community and the Canterbury Association. It was the first portrait statue that was unveiled in New Zealand, and for almost 20 years, it was the only one.”

Personally I think that after a four year absence, it’s nice to see John Robert Godley in his rightful place and back on his feet…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 5, 2018

Ssshh…Nothing To See Here!

I wish we had had a little more time in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. This intriguing blue box is something that will apparently take you on a tour of various city artworks.  If I understand it correctly it is sort of an arty puzzle or treasure hunt. This very blue box tells us: “nothing to see here“, so maybe the casual passer-by would assume that it’s just here to make you think, or at least wonder, is this a practical joke, or something more? I think that it may be a play on words, there might be nothing to see here, but plenty to see all around the city. I regret not looking at this more carefully, and not following up on where a push of a button may have taken me.  I rushed past this one without investigating fully. I will add the photographs, and leave you to make up your mind… is this a puzzle, or a treasure-hunt guidebook to arty treasures?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 4, 2018

Is This The Midnight Train To….?

Checking out the current state of Christchurch’s central city, I find yet another grand piece of artwork to document. There is a blue mural on the side of a parking building, close to the building that I would call “Noah’s hotel’. It’s changed its name long since to Rydges, but since I no longer live in Christchurch, or even New Zealand, I’ve never gotten used to using the new name and my brain still registers the name as Noah’s as the default setting. Apologies to Rydges.  The blue colour of not just this wall but also the car park is vibrant and immediately catches your eye, my only beef being that I can’t get close enough to zoom in and get some proper detail. Making do with what I can get, will have to do. It’s a stunning mural and credit to yet another artist who is helping make the city as beautiful as possible even as buildings have been being demolished, repaired and rebuilt all around it.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 3, 2018

A Cairn To Inform, So That Rocks Do Not Build Into Walls To Divide Us…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My father is a fisherman, well sort of a “semi-retired’ one these days since he no longer goes out very much, but one thing I have heard him complain about for years is the amount of irrigation water farmers do and want to take more of, from the big Canterbury rivers each year, regardless of how high or low the river levels are.

River levels are partly determined by rainfall in the Southern Alps, partly by small springs and the rest by snow melt, but as everyone knows, weather patterns have not recently been what they were a century or even half a century ago.

I had thought that this was an old issue and one that had been long since sorted, until I heard about the sharp rise of dairy farming in the South Island.

Historically most of the South Island’s dairy industry has been located in Southland, at the bottom of the island where copious rainfall grows lush grass for the livestock, so I assumed that expansion had taken place here.

Instead I was horrified to hear that it was taking place in the Mckenzie Country, where sunshine hours abounded but in the driest area of the South Island. Where was the water coming from for pastureland? It’s being taken from the rivers.

It’s being taken not just in small quantities either, it appear that the farming industry is hell-bent on using every last drop of water if they see a short term profit in it.

For me this goes deeply against the grain, my ideology here is very much aligned with that of Maori; we should stewards of the land and not masters of it. We should surly use resources wisely and leave the earth in good shape for future generations, or most preferably; in even better shape.

Not only is the McKenzie Country area one of outstanding natural beauty, it also an important one for tourism and furthermore has it’s own ecosystems, flora and fauna, and weather patterns that it is famous for.This is the area of New Zealand closest to my heart and the thought of it being messed with like this makes me very angry. It was therefore to my horror that I read the messages attached to this cairn in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. I can but hope that the environmentalists and people supporting them can persuade the government to overturn this policy in farming that can only harm the natural landscape and the countries long term future.

I’m not sure if readers find the text on the plaques easy to read or not: I’ve written it out in typed text to make it easier for anyone who may find it difficult.

‘In order to advance the massive irrigation schemes proposed for the Canterbury Plains, the hard won conservation orders on our headwaters have been disestablished, our elected Enironment council have been diembodied, and our right to appeal to the Environment court has been removed. Indeed, Cantabrians are now subject to laws seperate fom any other province of our country: This is a breach of the Bill of Rights and its principles of natural justice. It is the will of the people who built this cairn that it remains here until democracy entire is returned to us.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A visiting tour group getting information about the history of Canterbury, Cathedral Square etc…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

” A cairn by tradition is a mound of stones at the edge of a river by which travellers in the high country indicate a place of departure and a place to regain the shore. This cairn is constructed of boulders from the Rakaia, Selwyn, Waimakarari and Hurunui rivers and has been placed here by citizens concerned that democratically evolved protections of these waterways have been broken. This cairn is a marker, it marks the river of unease that presently flows through our community, a river whose turbulent waters threaten to divide us.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 2, 2018

Evolving With The Times…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next of the information panels set in the center of Cathedral Square talks about the structural changes that have gone on here over the history of the Square.

This central area has had to make changes to keep up with technology, be that the early trolley busses or the later cars and busses.

I vaguely remember hearing that there were issues with the Cathedral due to the rumbling of vehicles in front of it, the vibrations they caused and also pollution problems. I’m not sure where I picked up this snippet of information or how valid it is but if correct it might explain quite a few things.

I also do not know at what stage the network of “One way streets” was introduced around the perimeter of the central city but this may have been an answer to the knock on effect that city traffic was having.

There are four One Way corridors running North/South and East/West, forming a box-like shape around the central city. Each of these One Way streets has a counterpart One Way street over that runs in the opposite direction so you get a box-within-a-box effect.The traffic lights on the One Way streets are synchronized so it is possible to get to the other side of the city reasonably quickly no matter which side of the city you start out on.Traffic lights on One Way streets get priority above surrounding streets, unless it’s an intersection with another One Way street.

The beautiful grid-pattern that the city planners in England provided for Christchurch quickly became a nightmare to negotiate as soon as cars became plentiful, earning the city the reputation of “city of a million traffic lights”, ergo the need for constant traffic redesigns. It seems that Christchurch has spent it’s entire history …evolving with the times.

The information board reads:

‘Evolving with the times.’ ‘ From when it was first laid out in 1850, Cathedral Square – the heart of the Central City, has undergone many changes. Its look, feel, and function have evolved from a muddy thoroughfare in the early days to a more formal, pedestrian-orientated place for hosting civic and social gatherings.’

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

‘Early layouts focused on defining the extent of the Cathedral site and the Godley Plot while allowing traffic along Colombo Street to pass in front of the projecting Cathedral frontage.’

‘In the late 1900’s, redesign was focused on increasing the size of the pedestrian areas and reducing the presence of vehicular traffic. Recommendations for new activities and attractions included the Four Ships Court, feature lighting and new planting to compliment the re-paved area and it generally “furnish” the space.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

‘The early 1970’s design, finished in time for the Commonwealth Games being hosted in Christchurch, introduced pedestrianised areas in front of the Cathedral by closing off the direct Colombo Street connection and south-western parts of the Square to traffic. Bus stops and taxi stands were confined to the outer edges.’

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 1, 2018

Heritage Is Now History…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another information board in the Square details many of the historic buildings that used to stand here which were lost in the 2010 earthquake, damaged beyond repair.

Not so long ago” “Prior to the earthquakes in 2010/11, Cathedral Square was ringed by buildings of various styles and ages.

These included offices, hotels and banks, as well as entertainment venues such as an aquarium, cafes and bars, the information centre and a cinema”

“The Press building was designed by Armson, Collins and Harman and opened in 1909”

The Press building was a particular favourite of mine (The Regent Theatre, The Press Building and old Post Office being my “top three”).

I’ve included a link to the Wikipedia site for it. I went there twice in my late teens to place adverts in the Saturday newspaper to sell the copious amounts of walnuts the tree at my parents house used to produce.

Yes, in the days when you went to place a “for sale” advert at the office, in person! You also paid per word so my Father was very strict on how efficiently he could word it.

He would say: “after all, we have to sell (“x”) amount of walnuts first just to cover the cost of the advertisement!”. I remember that building was beautiful inside, and that impressed me.

Sadly in those days film was expensive and so were the developing costs so we used our little rolls of 24 shots sparingly.

I never photographs the inside. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Kids these days could not imagine having to “ration” a roll of 24 photographs, or how happy you would be if you got 25 or (gasp) 26 photographs off a roll!

“The Press Building, Christchurch”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Press_Building,_Christchurch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Many of the Square’s well-known heritage buildings were demolished, including Warner’s Hotel, The Press Building, The Regent Building, and the former Lyttlelton Times Building”.

“ The former Government Building was designed by J.C. Maddison. Completed in 1913 it was converted to the Heritage Hotel in the mid-1990’s”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Regent Building (above) was designed by the Luttrell Brothers and constructed in 1904-5. The Former Chief Post Office was designed by W.H. Clayton and opened in 1879”.

Glamour of the Cinema” “During the heyday of the cinema in the mid 1930’s, eight picture theatres on or very close to, Cathedral Square competed for business. Many had elaborate architectural fascades, reflecting popular modern styles of the day.”

“Savoy Theatre, circa 1958, north-east corner Cathedral Square. In 1953 the Liberty Theatre was redesigned by H. Francis Willis and became the Savoy Theatre until it closed in 1993. “ “Paul Pascoe. Sketch of the exterior of the Tivoli Theatre in the 1930’s. Formerly “Everybody’s Theatre”, the Tivoli later became the Westend.”

(Photographs taken by) “ Robert Percy Moore (1881-1948), Christchurch New Zealand 1923. No.1 (view of Christchurch city from the cathedral tower), 1923.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.