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           Home >  History  > Preserving Treasures Of The Past  :

Book involvement brings city and peninsula heritage alive for UC photographer

Reprinted from the University of Canterbury's "Chronicle" -- 03/08/2007

UC photographer Duncan Shaw-Brown has developed a new fondness for Lyttelton's architectural heritage after photographing its historic buildings for a newly published book.

City and Peninsula: The historic places of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula was produced by the Christchurch and Akaroa civic trusts as a celebration of the varied historic heritage of the region.

The book, written by Canterbury alumnus Dr John Wilson, features well-known landmark sites and buildings, as well as residential and industrial buildings, cemeteries, churches and commercial structures.

Mr Shaw-Brown (Communications and Development) said he leapt at the chance to be involved in the book. Armed with a list of the city's heritage buildings he spent three months last summer photographing buildings around Christchurch and the Lyttelton Basin.


Dr John Wilson (left) and UC photographer Duncan Shaw-Brown celebrate the publication of their book City and Peninsula. They are pictured in front of Riccarton House, the home of the Deans family.
Photo source: UC Chronicle
Click here to view a larger version

The Akaroa area was covered by Akaroa-based photographer Kerry Walker.

"I've always had an interest in architectural photography and since I've lived in Christchurch I've taken the odd photo of buildings for the city council and for magazines. So when John contacted me about doing the book I was keen to be involved," Mr Shaw-Brown said.

While many of the area's heritage buildings were familiar to Mr Shaw-Brown he said some were new to him.

"The most interesting part for me was the Lyttelton area because I hadn't photographed the buildings there before. I'm quite smitten with Lyttelton now. It's quite compact and has a lot of character, both in its buildings and as a town," he said.

"Reading the histories of each building, as written by John, has also been interesting. I pass by some of these places everyday but that little bit of history adds more depth to them. They're not just buildings anymore."

Dr Wilson, who was recently made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to historical research, said the aim of the book was to make people more aware of the region's rich architectural heritage and the need to preserve it.

"Hopefully the book will broaden people's understanding of the city's heritage, that it's not all about monuments and landmark buildings. A cottage in Linwood is just as important to the heritage of the city as the Cathedral is."

Dr Wilson, author of Lost Christchurch, said while City and Peninsula showed there was a lot of "good stuff" left, the fight to preserve the region's heritage was not over.

"We have been given a terrific inheritance but we must continue to battle for these buildings for future generations to enjoy."

Fellow photographer Mr Walker said it was a privilege to be involved in the creation of such an important book.

"Anyone who picks this book up will see the huge amount of heritage we still have and realise how unique it is. What we have managed to retain is amazing and it's important for us to be aware of that."

Proceeds from the sale of City and Peninsula: The historic places of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula will go to the Christchurch and Akaroa civic trusts.

  • City and Peninsula: The historic places of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula by John Wilson, photography by Duncan Shaw-Brown and Kerry Walker, The Christchurch Civic Trust/Akaroa Civic Trust, June 2007, 208pp, paperback, colour photographs, RRP NZ$49.95, ISBN 9780473122393.

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