Time travel around central Christchurch

Movement might be restricted right now, but with the Postcards from the Past online exhibition you can time travel into Ōtautahi Christchurch’s past.
While significant built heritage was lost in the Canterbury earthquakes, a lot of new archaeological and historical information about central Christchurch came to light. To share some of the newly discovered stories, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga curated an exhibition of postcards, each of which told a story, as part of the Beca Christchurch Heritage Festival in 2019. These are all now available digitally. 

Click on the postcard of an old bicycle crank found in the Avon River to find a story about the city’s network of rivers, the reasons for the scarcity of Māori artefacts in the central city, and the popular pasttimes of riding and stealing bikes. 

Or check out the mysterious Colombo Street Furnaces, which were likely part of the Atlas Foundary, which manufactured stoves, street lamps and locomotives. 

Often the postcards remind us of places long gone: the Colosseum Skating Rink, which covered the entire block that is now New Regent Street, or the No. 1 Fire Tank site on the corner of Tuam and High Streets.  

Click on each postcard image and you’ll discover more stories and links to other online resources. All the postcards relate in some way to findings from post-quake heritage research and archaeological investigations.

- Rosemary Baird