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Library Subject Guides

Ōtautahi - Christchurch: Home


Welcome to the Christchurch Subject Guide

This guide provides an introduction to some of the resources we have on a small selection of topics on Christchurch history. Contact us for more details and for resources on other topics.

Click on the tab for each subject to see the range of topics we have within each.
For information on the many different types of resources we have- art, achives, books, journals, newspapers, ephemera, maps and more, click on the  How To Find tab.


1. Migration and Settlement

  • Ngāi Tahu
  • Early Ngāi Tahu
  • European colonisation
  • Land acquisition by settlers and Ngāi Tahu response to colonisation
  • Ngāi Tahu in the city today

2. The Natural Environment

  • People and the landscape
  • The Garden City

3. The Built Environment

  • Architecture and buildings
  • University of Canterbury campus
  • Suburbs
  • Transport
  • Industries and commerce

4. Society

  • Christchurch as a peace city
  • Workers and unions
  • Music
  • Drug cultures
  • Youth culture and moral panic
  • Sports and recreation

5. Transitional Christchurch

  • Community initiatives post-quake
  • Council and Government plans and organisations
  • The urban development strategy


6. Sickness and Health

  • Covid!9
  • 1918 Influenza epidemic
  • Leprosy
  • Mental Health: Sunnyside Hospital
  • Deinstitutionalisation: Templeton Centre


These books all provide a good introduction to Christchurch and cover many of the topics in this guide.

More can be found on the library's catalogue under Christchurch (N.Z.) -- History.

In addition the online resource Contextual Historical Overview for Christchurch City produced for the City Council provides an overview of the "heritage values and items" of Christchurch.

Contact me for help

Caroline Syddall's picture
Caroline Syddall
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Macmillan Brown Library.

My hours of work are Monday-Thursday 8.30-5.00
03 3693883 or x93883