The 18th of January 1894 was an unseasonably wet day for those who gathered for the opening of the New Brighton Pier. The ceremony was led by General Governor Lord Glasglow as he took shelter under an umbrella.
Talks about the need of a pier started amongst New Brighton residents as early as 1888. The Pier Company was formed and worked started in May 1891. The Pier was made of native Kauri.
A year later, the pier was purchased by Charles Agar. He introduced a fun arcade to the project, even supplying a phonograph to play music to the public via a hearing horn. As most people hadn’t heard music delivered in such a fashion, a seating area was soon provided for the crowd of music lovers and the whole area was very popular right into the 20th century.
By 1965, the lack of funds for a very much broken down pier brought on its demolition. From 2am in the morning, bull dozers followed the tide out, knocking the pier down as they went.
In 1989, with funds already raised and grants from other sources (including the C.C.C) the dream of a new pier began to take shape. On the original site, work began in 1995. Our current pier was opened with limited access on 1 November 1997 by Mayor Vicki Buck.
It is the biggest ocean pier in Australasia.
*Image courtesy of the Alexander Turnbull Library – New Brighton beach, Christchurch, with the pier in the distance. Smith, Sydney Charles, 1888-1972 : Photographs of New Zealand. Ref: 1/2-047403-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23161389