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 18, 1881
- Christchurch Boys High School (designed by W.B. Armson) opens in Worcester Street. The school moved to the present Straven Road site in 1926, and the old building is now part of the Arts Centre.
- May 18, 1940
- Harewood Airport officially opens. It was soon to be taken over by the RNZAF for the duration of the war.
- May 19, 1910
- Halleys Comet visible by telescope in night sky. Prophesies of doom and superstition abounded while the comet was visible.
- May 19, 1945
- Severe flooding throughout city.
- May 20, 1861
- Gold discovered in Gabriels Gully, Otago. As with other discoveries, the ensuing gold rush depleted the city of its more adventurous young men.
- May 21, 1865
- First news telegram sent over the new line from Bluff to Christchurch.
- May 21, 1866
- City Council abandons the vital city drainage scheme because of its financial state. A huge shipment of pipes which had just arrived from England had to be sold off. This guaranteed Christchurchs reputation as New Zealands most polluted and unhealthy city for another 20 years. It is interesting to compare the transport cost of these pipes from Glasgow to Lyttelton - £882 - with the cost from Lyttelton by lighter and cart to Christchurch - £400!
- May 22-25, 1988
- Snow falls in Central City for first time in 10 years .
- May 22, 1868
- William Rolleston becomes the fourth (and last) Superintendent of Canterbury. The 4 superintendents have been remembered in the names of the citys "four avenues", previously called the Town Belts.
- May 22, 1989
- First significant rainfall in 22 months breaks drought in Canterbury.
- 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.
- This resource includes images from our photographs collection - clicking on the image will take you to a larger version of that image.
- This resource links to various other local history resources on our website.