Christchurch: a chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

Go to a year between 1700 & 1989

Begin at the beginning Start here

This week in history

October 30, 1857
Tunnel advocate William Sefton Moorhouse elected as the provinces’s second Superintendent. He resigned in 1863 because of personal financial mismanagement, but later served a second term of office from 1866 to 1868.
October 30, 1979
University of Canterbury gives old university site to the Arts Centre Trust Board.
October 30, 1985
Mid-Canterbury farmers slaughter 2,500 ewes in protest at the low prices they are receiving for their sheep.
October 30, 1985
Writer-in-Residence at Canterbury University, Keri Hulme wins internationally prestigious "Booker McConnell" prize for her novel "The Bone People".
October 31, 1912
Opening of Queen’s Theatre, the city’s first purposebuilt picture theatre. The building is now the M. W. Arcade.
October 31, 1913
National waterfront strike affects Lyttelton.
October 31, 1979
USN Starlifter crash lands at airport - no-one hurt.
November 1, 1876
Provincial Government abolished. The 9 provinces were replaced by 64 counties under the first Counties Act.
November 1, 1881
Christchurch Cathedral (still uncompleted) dedicated.
November 1, 1900
Canterbury Jubilee Exhibition opens in the new Canterbury Exhibition Hall, Manchester Street. See 1924.
November 1, 1903
Christchurch to Invercargill rail express service begins.
November 1, 1906
New Zealand International Exhibition (the biggest in the country to that time) opens in Hagley Park. Over 1 million people visited the exhibition during the next few months. A branch railway line was built across North Hagley Park to service the exhibition. The attractions included New Zealand’s first professional symphony orchestra [conducted by Alfred Hill], and the first Dominion pipe band contest which was won by the Dunedin Highland Pipe Band.
November 1, 1921
Woolston Borough joins City.
November 1, 1960
New railway station opens. The building had been designed before W.W.II.
November 1, 1963
Airport runway extensions begin.
November 1, 1969
Ministry of Transport takes over traffic enforcement from City Council.
November 1, 1989
New Christchurch City Council established by amalgamation of the old City, Waimairi District, Riccarton Borough, Heathcote County and parts of Paparua and Eyre Counties.
November 2, 1899
Balloonist "Captain" Lorraine lost at sea after an ascent from Lancaster Park.
November 2, 1906
Foundation stone laid for the Technical College (now Christchurch Polytechnic).
November 2, 1914
Riccarton (Deans) Bush presented to the city by the Deans family.
November 4, 1876
Second Theatre Royal opens. Built in only 17 weeks on the same site as the first, the new theatre was claimed to have the largest stage in New Zealand.
November 4, 1897
Night cycle races held at Lancaster Park. The experiment was not a success - the gas illumination was completely inadequate.
November 4, 1986
23 week old Mary Ellen Foulds becomes the youngest baby to be born at Christchurch Womens Hospital (normal gestation is 40 weeks).
November 4, 1989
Record crowd of 60,000 at Lancaster Park to see Irish Rock Band U2.
November 5, 1886
New Zealand Kennel Club inaugurated in Christchurch.
November 5, 1913
"Battle of Featherston Street" in Wellington as strikers try to stop racehorses being shipped to Christchurch.
November 5, 1979
Regent Theatre gutted by fire.
November 5, 1984
The Christchurch Civic Trust Board buys the Mt Vernon property for a public park.