From personal tales passed down through generations to documented histories of particular places and moments in time - history can teach us so much not only about the present and how we ended up where we are today but also about the future. Reflection is a powerful tool. Join us as local historians share their research, their stories and their reflections on different historical moments, places and people both near and far.


21 Feb   Dear Alison - Tales from a New Zealand POW with Dr Simon Pollard

“My great uncle Dudley Muff wrote a 55 page diary to his young niece while he was a prisoner-of-war in Germany during World War Two. This is his story.” Dr Simon Pollard is a spider biologist, award-winning writer and photographer and Adjunct Professor of Science Communication at the University of Canterbury.


28 Feb   Exceptional in all ways: Marie Curie with Professor Katie Pickles

Marie Skłodowska Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Find out about her incredible life from Feminist Historian and University of Canterbury Fellow, Professor Katie Pickles.


7 Mar     The Pollard Opera Company & the 8th Mayor of Chch with Dr Simon Pollard

“Both sides of my family settled in Christchurch during the nineteenth century and led lives with interesting twists and turns. Thank goodness or I wouldn’t be here!” Join Dr Simon Pollard as he shares some of the fascinating stories of his family history. Dr Simon Pollard is a spider biologist, award-winning writer and photographer and Adjunct Professor of Science Communication at the University of Canterbury.

14 Mar   William Morris:  artist, writer and socialist with Martin Crick

William Morris was a revolutionary force in Victorian Britain; he inspired the British Arts and Crafts Movement, played a significant role in the early Socialist movement in Britain, founded probably the finest of all private presses, the Kelmscott Press, and was also a successful businessman. His work as an artist, designer, craftsman, writer and socialist dramatically changed the fashion and ideas of the era, but his ideas are still strikingly relevant today.  Local historian Martin Crick was formerly course leader in Arts Education at Bretton Hall College, University of Leeds and Vice-Chair of the William Morris Society as well as author of ‘The History of the Social-Democratic Federation’ (1994) and ‘A History of the William Morris Society’ (2011)

21 Mar   English Quakers and the campaign against compulsory military training in New Zealand and Australia 1909 – 1914 with Martin Crick

Compulsory military training for young boys aged 14 and above was introduced in both Australia and New Zealand in 1909. It aroused fierce opposition in both countries, and it was seen by many in Great Britain as a trial run for the introduction of conscription there. The Society of Friends sent members to both colonies to oppose the training, raised large sums of money to support the campaign, and campaigned vigorously at home to alert the public to what they saw as the looming threat of conscription.

28 Mar   Lost Addington with John Wilson

Join us for a fascinating look at the history of Addington told through some of its lost structures and buildings. Local historian John Malcolm Wilson has recently published a book all about this intriguing Christchurch suburb and will share with us some of the highlights of his research.