Civic events  |  12 Sep 2023

Christchurch’s long-running Heritage Festival is back for 2023, offering a calendar packed with walks, talks, performances, exhibitions, cemetery tours, and more.

The theme of the festival, which runs from 6 October – 23 October, is ‘Our stories of living and learning’.

John Higgins, Christchurch City Council Head of Planning and Consents, says this year’s theme recognises the legacy of learning and education that has shaped the communities of our district.

“Included in the programme this year are events which explore the different ways we have learnt from the past and how those who came before us learnt, both formally through educational institutions and through the ways knowledge has been passed between the generations.”

“The Christchurch Heritage Festival is a time to share the stories of the past that link us to our communities."

The theme this year coincides with the 150th anniversary year of the University of Canterbury.

A sample of the exciting festival events connected to the history of the University include:

Radicals guided bicycle ride: Enjoy a guided cycle ride around places in the central and east of Christchurch associated with radical educationalists, sex reformers, and ‘peaceniks’.

University of Canterbury 150 years: From Gothic to Modern: A lecture by Dr John Wilson who has recently completed the 150th anniversary official history of the University of Canterbury.

Christchurch 1948: The friendship of Sturm and Pearson: Hear Paul Millar discuss the friendship and emergence of literary figures J.C. Sturm and Bill Pearson.

Nuclear Reaction: Peace Heritage in Ōtautahi Christchurch: An annotated film evening journeying back through Ōtautahi Christchurch's nuclear-free movement.

Convivium - classics at Canterbury: This convivial event will explore the lives and careers of four fascinating characters who influenced classical education at Canterbury.

The Christchurch Heritage Festival has been running since the mid-1990s and is an annual festival to celebrate and share the heritage of the district.

Mr Higgins says many talks during the festival will focus on heritage restoration and a variety of aspects of heritage, including heritage engineering, a critical look at colonial architecture, how to record oral histories, adaptive re-use of heritage buildings and family history.

Among the events which relate to this year’s theme are:

Memory Map of Learning: Do you remember learning something new as a child? Share where and when these spaces for learning occurred on our Memory Map of Learning to create a collective record of childhood learning experiences across the city and beyond.

Hīkoi ki Kāpūtahi - Take a walk on the wild side: Enjoy a day of culture, experiential learning, and ecological heritage. Wood carving, weaving, walks, art and ecology.

Nursing Education: 1923 to 2023| A Century of Change: The Nurses' Memorial Chapel is part of nursing's heritage. Come along and discover the story of the Christchurch School of Nursing from 1923 to modern times.

For the full calendar of festival events, visit  What's On.