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"City and Peninsula
The Historic Places of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula
Otautahi and Horomaka"

Reviewed by Dorothy -- 2/11/2007

This book, City and Peninsula - The Historic Places of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula - Otautahi and Horomaka provides readers with a visual feast through the photography of Duncan Shaw-Brown and Kerry Walker and the interesting text written by the experienced and skilled historian John Wilson.



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This book was published by the Christchurch and Akaroa Civic Trusts. For over forty years they have been making every effort to preserve historic buildings and slow the moves by property developers to pull down old buildings which are a significant part of our heritage. Luckily as a result of their work key buildings from each phase of the area's development have survived, and are represented in this book.

As the Maori names of the areas in the title indicate, the early Maori history of the area is not forgotten with chapters entitled The Peninsula's Maori Traditions and History and The Maori Past of Lyttelton Harbour.

The subjects of the photos cover a wide range. Some sites are included because of their historical importance such as Onawe Peninsula where Te Rauparaha inflicted great loss of life on the Ngai Tahu people in their pa. Some buildings are chosen because of their age like a building at French Farm erected in 1843. There are many pictures of buildings of architectural beauty including a good representation of Gothic Revival buildings in Christchurch. . The photos include schools, churches, industrial workplaces, shops, bridges and cemeteries. However the historical record goes beyond public buildings noted for their age or their beauty and includes the homes of the people - h the wealthy citizens and the working class families.

I have lived in Christchurch for many years and have enjoyed finding pictured in the book many familiar places, but have also been spurred to go walking or driving to look afresh at many buildings to which I have in the past given only a cursory glance. Frequently I have discovered the intricate craftsmanship of the upper storeys which I had ignored. For instance I have stood waiting for the traffic lights to change at the intersection of Colombo, Hereford and High Streets without noticing the ornate features adorning the upper storeys on the building where Hanafins business has operated for many years.

I plan in NZine articles before the end of the year to write about walks and drives in the area which readers can enjoy to the full using City and Peninsula as a guide. The photos in the NZine articles will be of general areas in which the buildings are to be found. The photos of individual buildings will be found in the book, and we will not compete with the professional photographers who have given such a comprehensive gallery of the area's buildings for us to enjoy.

I strongly recommend readers to purchase this book.

*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

Editor's comment
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