Up Forest Creek Without a Chimney

Samuel Butler (1835 – 1902) was by no means a simple character. At the age of 24 he left his relatively cosy life in England behind and moved to New Zealand in order to increase his wealth through farming, and to get away from his Reverend father with whom he constantly argued. Samuel Butler did... Continue Reading →

The Somerset Hotel

Since the late 1800s, the same name has adorned each building that has occupied the corner of East and Burnett Streets on the northern side. Have you ever wondered how Somerset House, and the adjoining Somerset Grocer café got their unique names? It’s because the site was once home to the Somerset Hotel, built in... Continue Reading →

Gallery: Chertsey Views

This selection of photographs from in and around the Chertsey township might spark some memories for some of you, or perhaps pique your curiosity as to this little township's varied past. Do you have fond memories of living in or growing up in Chertsey? Do you have ancestors who lived or farmed in the area?... Continue Reading →

Early Urban Ashburton

Ashburton as we know it has been constantly evolving ever since the construction of William Turton’s first accommodation house along the Hakatere Ashburton River in 1858. Rural has become urban, paddocks have become suburbs and buildings have been built, moved, modified and demolished. Postcard image showing early view of Ashburton west side, looking along Cameron... Continue Reading →

Havelock Street: a century ago

Have you ever come across an original story or poem written by a friend, relative or partner? If you answered yes to my question, then here’s a follow-up: were they embarrassed? Such things are usually closely guarded and private, so I consider myself lucky to be able to share a poem from the archives of... Continue Reading →

Ashburton Museum through the years

The Ashburton Museum has come a long way since the Ashburton Historical Society first met on 30 October 1958. Individuals with a mutual interest in this district’s history came together with a common goal: to preserve and display materials that were deemed important to Ashburton’s past. 63 years and several Museum buildings later, the Ashburton... Continue Reading →

Gallery: Enterprising Ashburton businesses

The Ashburton District has had a long history of thriving businesses, of which there have been an impressive number and variety. Coachbuilders, factories, agents, retail stores, and many more enterprises, big and small, have played their role in supporting our local economy and communities. Let's take a look back at a selection of photographs of... Continue Reading →

Gallery: Historic houses big and small

Below you will find a selection of images from the Ashburton Museum & Historical Society Inc. collection, which showcase an interesting variety of houses from our District's past. The architectural styles, sizes, and shapes of these homes say something about the people who built them. Their ambitions, their self-perceptions, access to resources, and of course... Continue Reading →

The Components of the Humble Kiwi Villa

Throughout the closing decades of the nineteenth century, New Zealand was undergoing rapid population growth and huge urban development. Factors such as improved transportation and an influx of steam-powered woodworking equipment gave rise to a new kind of house: the iconic villa. A family sitting on the veranda of their lonely rural villa, somewhere in... Continue Reading →

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