Set number 50 of Godley Gifts was presented to the Lyttleton community last weekend

The sharing of gifts

by Ann van Engelen

More 100 people joined with members of the John Robert Godley Memorial Trust at the presentation of a copy of a Godley Gifts book set to the Lyttelton Heritage Museum to share the area’s history.

“John Robert Godley was the founder of Canterbury and the trust gifted book set number 50, to commemorate 1850, to the Lyttelton community, in St Saviour’s Church at Holy Trinity, on the site of the original Holy Trinity Church, that John Robert Godley officially opened,” says trustee Haydn Rawstron.

“Godley Gifts was created to open people’s eyes and help them to appreciate the qualities in which our forebears brought with them to Canterbury. The warmth of friendship peaks out vigorously from its pages. The storyteller FitzGerald well deserves to be remembered, also, as an excellent water-colourist, an extraordinary friend, the creator of New Zealand’s first extant children’s book and, above all, as the fine artist and craftsman that he was.

“Reproductions of all 66 watercolours are here on public display, for the first time ever. It is an opportunity for us all to renew our awareness of the refined beauty with which our earliest Canterbury immigrants were able to express themselves. If we know how to appreciate such qualities in our forebears, it is just possible that we can also subsume some of their spirit and enrich our experience of Canterbury.

“It was a fantastic turnout, and we had many enthusiastic comments — the event was a total success. Ruth Dyson, MP for Banks Peninsula, spoke a few words as she received the book set on behalf of the Lyttelton community, before handing it to Dr Kerry McCarthy of the Lyttelton Museum.”