Christchurch turns 156 today. Happy Birthday.
Christchurch became NZ's first city in 1856
Your ChristchurchIt's Christchurch's 156th anniversary today:
On this day 156 years ago, Christchurch became a city by royal charter from Queen Victoria, making it the first official city of New Zealand.
The royal charter was given by the Queen so Christchurch could be the seat for a bishop. At Christmas 1856, Henry John Chitty Harper was enthroned as the first bishop of Christchurch.
Other key Christchurch dates:
- On February 16, 1770, Captain James Cook in his ship the Endeavour first sighted the Canterbury peninsula. He thought it was an island and named it Banks Island after the ship's botanist, Joseph Banks.
- Christchurch was founded in 1850 with the arrival of about 800 settlers from Britain.
- Local government began when the first Christchurch Municipal Council meeting was held on March 3, 1862.
- The city's first library opened on August 4, 1859. It was a single room at the Mechanics Institute.
- The Press was founded as a weekly paper by James FitzGerald and a syndicate of investors in 1861. It became a daily in 1863.
- Bees were introduced to the region from Nelson in January 1852.
- The first bridge over the Avon River was built in March 1852.
- The first cricket match, married men versus single men, was held in April 1852 at Hagley Park.
- A typhoid epidemic in 1875, which lasted until the following year, caused 152 deaths in the city.
- The first airport opened in Christchurch in 1917.
- 1947 Ballantynes fire; 41 people die.
- Christchurch hosts the 1974 Commonwealth Games.
- September 4, 2010: Christchurch battered by a magnitude-7.1 earthquake. No fatalities.
- February 22, 2011: Christchurch devastated by a magnitude-6.3 quake, killing 185, injuring 6000 and destroying most of the central city's buildings.
Source: Christchurch City Libraries
- © Fairfax NZ News