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The death of Nelson Mandela is a great loss to humanity. He sought no revenge for his many years of unjust imprisonment after merely making a stand for what he believed. As president of South Africa he worked to unite a country divided by race and economics. We can be assured his passing after a…

November 27, 2013 It was a great day for Christchurch with the official opening of the Christchurch Tramway this morning. A delightful event was held in Cathedral Junction in which Mayor Lianne Dalziel cut the yellow ribbon. The Wizard of New Zealand cast, hopefully, kindly spells and set off some fireworks. Then the trams were…

  … if  I was a visitor to Christchurch what would I want to do? My wish list quickly assembles: • Hear about the effects of the earthquakes. • Visit the Botanic Gardens one hears so much about. The venue attracts 1,000,000 visitors annually. • Have some sort of boating experience on the river. • View Christchurch,…

What a great time we are all having again in our beautiful New Regent street.  Over the weekend the Street was so very busy with many familiar faces of returning local visitors.  Tourists from everywhere and the bus depot travellers as well all contributed to a very successful weekend. Everyone just loved the Trams being back…

Word had got out and they were eagerly waiting in Cathedral Junction to see the trams towed out ready to resume public services, the first since the devastating earthquake forced the tramway closure on February 22, 2011. November 21, 2013 turned out to be a significant day for our Christchurch Tramway.  The newly-restored Birney No…

Thursday November 14, 2013 Spanking No. 11 ventures into New Regent Street for the first time in almost three years – or 1000 days as our MD Michael Esposito says. The occasion is recording an item for that evening’s  TV-3 Campbell Live. Motorman Ken Henderson is already on first- name terms with camerman JB and …

If you have $400.000 to spend on your next vehicle and are able to provide around 24,000 hours of paid and voluntary labour, then you, too, could be the proud owner of a magnificently restored heritage tramcar. Those stats are basics for the Birney No.15 Tramcar soon to be let loose, splendidly, on the re-opened…

News of devastating bush fires in Australia is an annual event.  This year, fires sweeping Blue Mountains rural regions west of Sydney have claimed one life and 200 or so homes.  Part of the tragedy is that it is another four months to high summer when such natural disasters are typically anticipated. Us Christchurch people…

Down at the Tram Barn in FerrymeadHeritagePark last week I spotted a mammoth tramcar restoration project in its initial stages – the Hills car No.24.  The Tramcar was built in 1912, one of 13 trams eventually assigned to the new route up Hackthorne Road to the Sign of the Takahe terminus opened in May that…

The best part of three years have passed since the Christchurch Tramway was derailed by violent seismic events, principally those of February 22, 2011.  Along with the tramway much of the central city was wantonly trashed, including our much loved Anglican Cathedral that for a little over a century was the city’s proud centrepiece. The…

Like proficient Boy Scouts, a team of devotees is ensuring the tramcars will be smart and ready for the Christchurch City Tramway re-opening presently expected during this October.  As well as the Invercargill Birney No.15 making its debut on city tracks, the existing fleet is getting a makeover.  Some work involves a thorough tidy-up.  Other…

Christchurch Botanic Gardens was transformed into a multi-coloured wonderland on the first of the leafy nights light up.  The event, TV 2 Kids Fest coincides with the Botanic Gardens 150th anniversary.  Flame throwing entertainers greeted those arriving after dark.  A series of innovative tree light-ups and lights forming the shape of a tree hut followed…

Caterpillar Garden tour guides will tell their riders that the founding of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens is anchored to the planting of the Albert Edward Oak, by Government gardener Enoch Barker, on July 9 1863. The planting commemorated the wedding of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, to Princess Alexandra of Denmark. One hundred and fifty…

I discovered this photo gem while looking for something else (that was never found). A blast from the past, it recalls the early days of Punting on the Avon, instigated in 1986 by Geoff Ellis who developed the riverside Edmonds Band Rotunda Restaurant. This scene quickly became one to identify Christchurch. The trick was to…

A light up leafy event promises to be spectacular in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens during the July school holidays. It will be part of the Botanic Gardens 150th celebrations this year. The event also coincides with TVNZ Two’s Kidsfest. It will be a rare treat to see our magnificent Botanic Gardens presented this way in…

Many Welcome Aboard people will remember a key staffer Annelies Vranken, responsible for functions and all manner of added value programmes.  She was also great with her computer skills.  Her position was taken over by the outgoing and very capable Sharon Sharpe (ne McKey) when Annelies departed to support her fiancé’s Ph.D. studies.  They spent…

Along at the Ferrymead Tram Barn a team is busy sprucing up a fleet of heritage trams in preparation for the opening of the city tramway, presently scheduled for October. No.11, the cute box car has been repainted following extensive wood repairs.  Nearby, its powered bogie truck is being rebuilt.  The Brill, No.178, is getting…

It is still autumn, just, but the first winter snow has transformed the Gondola summit.  It became a magical fairyland as the sun shone following a day of blizzards.  For me, there are no better views near Christchurch – the snow covered Alps with the quake-sculptured Castle Rock dominating the foreground.  The shattered Castle Rock…

Cruising around Christchurch by bicycle, I paused at the so-called Anglican transitional cathedral.  It’s looking great with most of the coloured glass windows installed.  I believe it will be completed within a few weeks.  Not for the first time I felt regrets at becoming a lapsed Anglican.  The idea for utilising cardboard tubes in the…

Overdue for my autumn fix I headed to our Christchurch Botanic Gardens last week.  I had left it a tad late in the season but found some great colours.  The maples were at their peak and there were some spectacular autumn oaks.  The new visitor centre is progressing and I was pleased to see one…

A maple tree exhibiting amazing shades of oranges and reds outside my window has me thinking about a previous autumn experience, in the Kansai district of Japan.  It was an impressive autumn shared with a long-time Osaka photographer colleague.  81-year-old Tatsuro san is a brilliant photographer with a love of New Zealand.  His exhibitions in…

Gordon Kirk was my neighbour.  That was many years ago.  I thought of him during Mike Esposito’s Speech at the official re-opening of our Welcome Aboard Gondola. Gordon Kirk had a long-time passion for the Port Hills.  Aged in his 70s, his long stride was hard to match when walking on the hills.  I once…

So goes one of the outstanding comments by Welcome Aboard Christchurch Managing Director, Mike Esposito, at the official opening of the Port Hills Gondola attraction on April 19. The Council-contracted geotechnical engineer who presented a report following the February 22, 2011, seismic event advised the Gondola attraction would never re-open.  It was recommended we take…

I am a guy who prefers to travel in the slow lane, hence my passion as a one-time motorman on the Christchurch Heritage Tramway, and a mega bicycle traveller in far countries.  Not surprising then, last week I elected to take a 12-hour trip from Wellington to Christchurch.  Flying time is little more than 30…

Sandra and Jurgen Bohme were delighted to re-visit the Port Hills Gondola yesterday on the last day of their six week New Zealand visit.  From Nottingham in England, they had visited the attraction on February 22, 2011, also on the last day of a New Zealand visit.  They had been in the Summit Café when…