A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.
Go to a year between 1700 & 1989
This week in history
- May 23, 1861
- Fire destroys brewery and shops in Cashel Street.
- May 23, 1960
- Tsunami (tidal wave) causes water level range of nearly 6 metres in 2 hours at Lyttelton.
- May 23, 1968
- Visit by Duke of Edinburgh.
- May 24, 1940
- Centennial music festival presents 10 days of music to large audiences. This was the New Zealand Centennial. For Christchurch Centennial see 1950.
- May 25, 1861
- Christchurch Press appears. The first editor was ex-Superintendent James FitzGerald, a bitter opponent of the proposed Lyttelton-Christchurch railway tunnel. He and supporters began the paper to air their views.
- May 25, 1903
- Statue of Queen Victoria unveiled in Market Square, and the area is renamed Victoria Square.
- May 25, 1966
- Steering committe set up to plan Ferrymead Historic Park.
- May 25, 1969
- First pair of one-way streets (Lichfield and St Asaph Streets) in operation. With traffic signals eventually controlled by a computer, this was the beginning of New Zealands first area traffic control scheme.
- May 26, 1859
- Public Library begins as the Mechanics Institute in Town Hall.
- May 26, 1906
- Statue of William Rolleston (outside the Canterbury Museum) unveiled.
- May 27, 1949
- New Zealands first commercial aerial topdressing on Banks Peninsula.
- May 27, 1986
- Court Theatres 15th anniversary celebrated with two week season of Steven Sondheims play "Sweeney Todd" in James Hay Theatre.
- May 28, 1840
- Major Bunbury on HMS Herald visits Akaroa collecting signatures of Maori chiefs for the Treaty of Waitangi.
- May 28, 1866
- George Dobson (brother of Arthur Dudley Dobson) murdered by the Burgess and Kelly gang in the Southern Alps. The gang mistook him for a gold courier.
- May 28, 1955
- First parking meters installed.
- May 28, 1983
- Visit of Professor Zhu Xuanren, Vice Governor, Gansu Province China.
- May 29, 1886
- First trotting meeting held at Lancaster Park.
- May 29, 1926
- New Zealands first sports broadcast - a rugby match from Lancaster Park. Commentator Allan Allardyce was soon to pioneer broadcasts of racing, cricket and hockey for station 3YA. He also gave live coverage of Kingsford-Smiths landing at Wigram in 1928.
- May 29, 1967
- Opening of the new Bank of New Zealand building in Cathedral Square.
- Information for this resource was based on the second edition of John Densem’s Christchurch chronology: a history of settlement. Environmental Policy and Planning Policy Unit, Christchurch City Council, 1990.
More about the Christchurch Chronology.
- This resource includes links to various other local history resources on our websites and images from our photographs collection - clicking on the image will take you to a larger version of that image.