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Christchurch - NZ's first city - turning 150

Media Release 24 July 2006

Christchurch - New Zealand’s first city - turning 150

To mark Christchurch turning 150 years old, a birthday party will be held in Cathedral Square on Saturday, 29 July, from 11am-6pm.

As a show of city-wide pride, Christchurch will wake on the day to a sea of red and black, with many statues, bridges and buildings throughout Christchurch and Banks Peninsula dressed in red and black ribbons. Among the structures to be bedecked are the Arts Centre, the Victoria Street clock, Christ Church Cathedral and the Time Ball in Lyttelton.

At the party, there will be bands, buskers, clowns, a bouncy castle and a 150m-long cake for the residents of Christchurch made by Divine Cakes and Desserts.

Christchurch officially became New Zealand’s first city when Queen Victoria signed the Letters Patent (or Royal Charter) on 31 July 1856. It was signed so that Christchurch could be the base for a bishop. On Christmas Day, 1856, Henry John Chitty Harper was enthroned as the first Bishop of Christchurch, which means this year is also the 150th anniversary of the city’s Anglican Diocese.

To celebrate both anniversaries, a civic service will be held at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, 30 July at 10am.

Another event marking the city’s 150th is a Celebrate Christchurch promotion being run at Central Library from 14-27 July, with different themes on each floor.

In case of inclement weather, the Cathedral Square party will be moved to the Christchurch Convention Centre, opposite the Town Hall on Kilmore Street.


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