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Reel Life in Canterbury


Thu 19 Sep 2013, 7:00pm–9:00pm

Where: St Patricks Basilica, Timaru Road, Waimate District, Canterbury

Restrictions: All Ages

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The Canterbury region’s spectacular past will come to life in cinematic splendor when the Film Archive and New Zealand Historic Places Trust partner to present a programme of films made between 1910 and 2011. The films will be screened in seven NZHPT registered heritage buildings.

The programme looks back on some of the enchanting and thrilling moments of life in Canterbury over the past 100 years. The films, which show people at work, at home and at play around the region, all showcase the creative spirit and adaptability of Cantabrians.

"Reel Life in Canterbury" will run from 14 - 22 September 2013, starting in Christchurch, stopping in Ashburton, Timaru, Waimate, Fairlie and Waiau, and finishing in Kaikoura. This listing is for the Waimate leg of the tour. For full tour details, visit

Local historians will introduce each screening and live accompaniment to the silent films on the programme will be provided by musicians Jan Preston and Mike Pullman. Preston, a pianist, has played at festivals and concerts throughout New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Europe and China. She tours her own shows internationally and writes music for films and television, including her sister Gaylene Preston’s film, "Home By Christmas" (2010). Pullman is a percussionist, who originally played wash board in Wellington jug bands.

The earliest film on the programme is a home movie made in 1910. The film shows the Hinge family enjoying time together in their home and garden at 10 Berry St, St Albans, Christchurch. This film is the oldest home movie in the Film Archive’s collections.

Also to be screened is beloved community comedy, "A Daughter of Christchurch" (1928). In this film a pretty new schoolteacher arrives in town, and is wooed by two suitors: Freddy Fishface, a shady journalist, and Bill Cowcocky, a handsome farmer. The plot is fast and furious with the men battling to outwit each other. It all culminates with a fistfight on the banks of the Avon.

One of the themes of the programme is Christchurch architecture. "Reel Life in Canterbury" features footage of several buildings that did not survive the 2011 Christchurch earthquake in decades past. Examples include The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament on Barbadoes Street, Sumner and Lyttelton residential areas, the Cathedral and the Works Department Building. Excerpts from the 2011 documentary "When A City Falls" will also be shown - this film presents the accounts of people who lived through this event.

As well as the Christchurch footage, films made in Fairlie, Lake Tekapo, Kaikoura, Timaru, Waimate and across the Canterbury region will be shown.

Among other films, "Off For Mount Cook" (1926), a government publicity film, shows views of Fairlie, Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. Tourists ski and make snowmen, then dance at The Hermitage, “New Zealand’s best tourist hotel.”

Notable Canterbury resident, Sir William Hamilton, the inventor behind the Hamilton Jet waterjet, features in home movie footage. Hamilton’s innovations during the 1950s revolutionised the boating world. The film shows scenes of Hamilton and his family at their Mackenzie Country station during the 1930s - including his children iceskating on a lake while wearing an elaborate horse costume.

Details for this film and architecture tour are as follows:

Entrance to all screenings $5, door sales only.

Saturday 14 September - Christchurch
St Michael’s and All Angels Church, 84 Oxford Tce
4pm and 7.30pm
Sunday 15 September - Ashburton
Longbeach, 1034 Lower Beach Road
Wednesday 18 September - Timaru
Landing Services Building, 2 George Street
Thursday 19 September - Waimate
St Patricks Basillica, Timaru Rd
Friday 20 September - Fairlie
Gladstone Grand Hotel, 43-49 Main St
Saturday 21 September - Waiau
Waiau Coronation Library and Hall, Cheviot St
Sunday 22 September - Kaikoura
St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, 11 Deal St and 104 West End