History & heritage, Things to do  |  5 Oct 2021

Some of the city's most significant historical buildings will open their doors to the public as part of the Christchurch Heritage Festival.

The festival runs from 9 – 25 October and this year’s theme is “People and Place – our stories revealed.”

A number of buildings with historical, social and architectural significance will be open for visitors, says Christchurch City Council Head of Urban Design, Regeneration and Heritage, Carolyn Ingles.

“This is an opportunity to see inside the variety of built heritage we have here in Christchurch – we’re fortunate to have retained a wide range of significant buildings that reveal aspects of the cultural history of our city.”

Festival-goers can choose from an interesting mix of events:

  • Experience the history of a family home begun in 1856 with a tour of Riccarton House, home to the Deans family for 80 years, for a special price during the Heritage Festival.
  • The 1927 Arts and Crafts styled Nurses’ Memorial Chapel will be open 11am-3pm on 20, 23 and 24 October with a special 2pm talk on the Saturday from “Stand for All Time” author Anna Rodgers.
  • Tour the modernist house and garden in Richmond where artist Bill Sutton did much of his work, Saturday 9 October 2pm-4pm. It is the only purpose built house and studio commissioned by an artist, open to public view in New Zealand.
  • Visit the Knox Church Open Day, Sunday 10 October 1.30-3.30pm. View the elegant wooden interior and listen to the glorious music of the restored 1904 Jenkins pipe organ.
  • See the original tower designed by architect Benjamin Mountfort at The Christchurch Club, a private club dating from the late 1850s. The tower remained intact and was restored in its position when the club was rebuilt following the Canterbury earthquakes. 2pm-4pm Saturday 9 October.
  • Take a peek inside St David’s Anglican Church in Belfast – recently refurbished to retain the historic, architectural and spiritual significance of this Highly Significant scheduled building. 10.30am-3.30pm Sunday 10 October.
  • Enjoy the Old Stone House Open Day, 10am-3.30pm 16 October. Events include classical Indian dancing, music, talks and face painting. Learn about its beginnings as the living quarters for John Cracroft Wilson’s Indian workers, through to its current use as a community centre and event venue.
  • Bring a sketch pad to Ngaio Marsh House for an Artists' Workshop 'At Home,' 11-3pm 17 and 19 October.
  • Discover the history and treasures inside St Michael and All Angel’s Church with two knowledgeable hosts. Tours throughout the festival. 

Some events need to be booked and some are free of charge while others require a fee. Visit the heritage festival programme for further details.