13 Apr 2023

An upcoming exhibition showcases archaeological work in the 13 years since the earthquakes first hit Christchurch.

The exhibition is being curated by the Christchurch Archaeology Project in collaboration with Underground Overground Archaeology, and is titled “Three tales of one city.”

Exhibition organiser and archaeologist Katharine Watson says that archaeologists are often asked what their favourite artefact is, and they wanted to change this question up a little bit. “We decided to ask three archaeologists to share their story of their favourite site in Ōtautahi.

“One has chosen a site where, unusually, a lot of children’s artefacts were found. Another has chosen a site where the way bottles were broken reveals how and why they were discarded, and sheds light on the perils of importing beer to 19th Century Christchurch. The third is a site where a waiter was able to afford to commission an architect to design their house.”

Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says these sites all provide an insight into what life was like in a 19th Century colonial city. “This exhibition is a fantastic way to analyse the challenges and possibilities those who came here faced. The exhibition will feature artefacts from each of these sites, and will provide an opportunity for the public to dig a little deeper into the city’s history.”

Ms Watson says the sites were all investigated by archaeologists during the post-earthquake demolition and rebuild in the central city. “They were investigated because they were occupied prior to 1900.

“If someone is going to destroy or modify an archaeological site formed prior to 1900 in Aotearoa, they must first obtain an archaeological authority to do so.” These authorities are granted by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Toanga, and typically require recording archaeological information before the site is destroyed or modified.

“These legal protections exist because archaeological sites contain important information about our past that cannot be learnt any other way,” says Ms Watson. You can find out more about the process here.

The archaeological exhibition will be held between 21 to 30 April, on Tuakiri, Level 2, Tūranga. You can read more about the exhibition here.

Voices of Gallipoli

Hear the voices of Gallipoli, with three first-hand accounts spoken out loud as an act of remembrance.

Voices of Gallipoli is a collection of verbatim testimonies from veterans who fought at Gallipoli and lived to tell the tale. These stories were told to New Zealand author Maurice Shadbolt, nearly seven decades after the last shot in the campaign was fired.

Ms Robertson says “For many of the elderly soldiers, it was their first and last time to tell their remarkable tales of suffering and survival.”

Playwright Arthur Meek has created a format so that individual stories can be read aloud at events across New Zealand. “These moving testimonies are a chance to remember the lives of Kiwis at war,” says Ms Robertson.

Join us at Tūranga on Friday 21 April from 2pm – 3:30pm. To attend this free event, please book online. Find more information here.