John Robert Godley (1814 – 1861)

John Robert Godley was a man who everyone seemed to have an opinion about. One man would say “he was a King amongst men’ where another called him ‘a whale in a duck pond’. Both descriptions paint an image of the man who founded Christchurch. Born in Dublin in 1814, he grew up in the …

Captain Joseph Thomas (1803 – ?)

Captain Joseph Thomas is easily the most forgotten man in Christchurch’s history. Born in 1803, Joseph was educated at the Royal Military College – so naturally he spent the beginning of his working life in the Army. He served in India and the West Indies, retiring in 1830. He travelled to South America where he …

Lincoln’s Abandoned Corner

For years and years, the corner of James Street and Liffey Close, Lincoln was an unkempt wasteland. As time trickled on and the old timers either moved away or died, those left behind as well as the Selwyn District Council just assumed that the lot was Crown land. In the early 1960’s, Lincoln was in …

The Hay Family – Annadale – Pigeon Bay

Ebenezer Hay upset an entire family when he fell in love with Agnes Orr. Anges lived just two miles away from the Deans and McIlraith’s families at Annadale Farm in Ayrshire, Scotland. No one suffered more from this union of Ebe and Agnes than her father who was alarmed to learn that his favourite daughter …

Godley’s Farewell Spot

On the right hand-side as you drive into the Riccarton Ave carpark of Hagley Park (by the tennis courts) sits this historical gem. The memorial tablet acknowledges the departure of John Robert Godley from New Zealand, the founder of Canterbury in 1852. This breakfast event was set up in a spacious marquee, catered by the …

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796 – 1862)

Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796 – 1862) could roll with the punches! Born in London, he was a politician who took a keen interest in colonisation, firstly with South Australia.Before all the drama started, Edward eloped with a very rich Eliza Pattle; his eyes not so fixed on his new bride but the £70,000 she came …