The Kate Sheppard Memorial, by the Avon, commemorates just one of Canterbury’s historic stories

Exploring heritage and heroes

by Andy Bryenton

The history of Canterbury and Christchurch is one with many distinctive stories to tell — tales of courage through adversity and triumph over the odds.

From October 12–22 BECA Heritage week offers a closer look at some of those landmark moments, this year concentrating on the theme of courageous communities.

It’s not just the rise of Christchurch after the recent earthquakes which is in the spotlight, as more than 70 distinctive events, exhibitions and displays unfold across Selwyn, Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. The scars of World War One, the ‘Great War’ are explored 100 years on from the armistice, which silenced the guns on the Western Front. A closer look is taken at the struggle for a voice, and a place in democracy crusaded for by the brave suffragettes 125 years ago. This topic includes a compelling and diverse contemporary art display titled We Do This as well as an exhibition of media, photojournalism and more from the era when Kate Sheppard put New Zealand ahead of the world and led a successful campaign to make women’s voices heard in the halls of government.

It is a week steeped in history and one during which most of these events are free of charge. As they say, you must know your past to know yourself — so visit, find a gallery or museum, church or tour bringing history alive near you as we celebrate ‘strength through struggle’ and the unquenchable spirit of our ancestors.