Renting a flat can be a massive headache – challenges often come in many forms such as appalling flatmates, black mould, inadequate insulation, and so on - but none of these come close to the hardships faced by early European settlers. Polynesian settlers, upon their arrival in New Zealand, quickly utilised their prior knowledge of... Continue Reading →

  When the team at Ashburton Museum began planning an exhibition on Tekau Knitwear, there were only a handful of garments and images held in the museum’s collection and archives. Yet we knew this was an important story to tell. The business was widely known and renowned. Not just in Ashburton – where the business... Continue Reading →

Just a little over 200 years ago, on Christmas Day, 1814, Reverend Samuel Marsden conducted what is widely regarded the first formal Christmas sermon in New Zealand’s history. His was not the first Christian service to take place in New Zealand on Christmas Day. Both the voyages of Abel Tasman in 1642 and James Cook... Continue Reading →

The highly respected Robert Galbraith was Ashburton mayor from 1915-1931. It was his misfortune to be the sitting mayor during and after The Great War. His story is linked to how the War Memorial in Baring Square came about. It is a classic story of debate, intrigue, politics, delay and money. Letters to the Editor,... Continue Reading →

People walking over Ashburton’s railway overbridge might notice blue plaque, which was unveiled last year to commemorate that structure’s 100th birthday. The present bridge replaced a 1911 one, which as located slightly further down the line, and built in connection with the first railway station. With the erection of a ‘new’ station (demolished in 2013)... Continue Reading →

Our last post focused on the establishment of Ashburton’s first hospital, and the other smaller nursing homes and private hospitals that existed in Ashburton district. This week the focus is on the illnesses and treatments that occurred at Ashburton’s first hospital. Much of the data for these articles comes from the original Ashburton Hospital Admission... Continue Reading →

Among the extensive archive collections at Ashburton Museum is the original Ashburton Hospital Admission Register. Covering the period 1882 to 1908, it contains over 3500 entries that shed light on patients, treatments, lives (and deaths) of many people from Ashburton. A major project has been to transcribe these records, now that enough time has passed... Continue Reading →

What do you do for Halloween? Quite possibly you don’t buy decorations or festoon your home with pitchforks and slime. You or your children perhaps don’t wear a mask or scary costume to roam the neighbourhood, but perhaps you do get prepared and purchase lollies for other adventurous trick and treaters. It does seem, that of... Continue Reading →

Deciphering stories from certificates

Since the 1840s New Zealand’s land transfer and title records have been paper or parchment based. It was not until 2002 that records of land transfers and titles were electronically managed. In Ashburton Museum’s archive, local land transfer records date back to the 1860s. There are also some land title documents, usually associated with personal... Continue Reading →

I was working on a series of clipping files pertaining to local businesses. Amidst the modern articles about openings and closures, I came across an envelope with photocopied photographs of the Bank of Australasia – a building which still stands on the corner of East and Tancred Streets. I was especially interested a series of... Continue Reading →

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑