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- | A New Zealand GenWeb Project. - | -
Dedicated to indicating some Genealogical resources present in North Canterbury & Mid Canterbury.
This site follows the policy guidelines set down by the WorldGenWeb and New ZealandGenWeb projects.

This site and the other NZGenWeb Regional Projects, aim to collaborate on, or share, genealogy source information, knowledge and experience of local resources, with national and international researchers. If you would like to host a provincial New Zealand site, please contact Leith Hutton, NZGenWeb Coordinator.


All sites follow the policies set by WorldGenWeb & NZGenWeb Projects.


NEW ZEALAND - a small country of three major islands in the South West Pacific.
SOUTH ISLAND - the largest, middle, island, with big mountains up to 3764 metres, (12,349 feet).
CANTERBURY - Central eastern province of South Island.
CHRISTCHURCH - the biggest city of Canterbury (& Sth Is.) [The GARDEN CITY].
LYTTELTON - the shipping port for Christchurch. The landing place of many of Canterbury's immigrants.
November 1850 - The recognised establishment date of Canterbury & Christchurch.

North Canterbury - an area that extends from south of Marlborough Province at the Conway River to Waimakariri River.
Central (MID) Canterbury - extends from the "Waimak" to Rangitata River. This area contains the major part of New Zealand's greatest pastoral plain.
Mid & North Canterbury also has two of the three passes through the alps to the West Coast; being LEWIS PASS in the north to Westport and ARTHURS PASS, centrally located, to Hokitka & Greymouth.
South Canterbury, NZGenWeb Project - From Rangitata River to Waitaki River, North of the Otago Province.

Canterbury, in general, is a pastoral region, specialising in grain on the lowlands & sheep & cattle in the inland areas back to the edge of the mountains. It is this setting that attracted a diverse range of folk from the greater United Kingdom to establish this land with a distinctly Church of England flavour. While there are few natural resources in the way of forests, or minerals to lure those with the idea of quick riches, as was the case for the Otago & West Coast gold fields, there was ample work establishing a new, self-sufficient life away from the unkind conditions of the homeland.

After the crew of Governor Bligh put ashore in 1816, continuous European contact began in 1835. These were early settlers, working from around AKAROA and the peninsular in the way of whaling & timber milling around Banks Peninsular. AKAROA is heavily influenced by the French contingent there who just missed out on making it a colony of France in 1840!

In June 1850, the Canterbury Association, first conceived by Edward Gibbon WAKEFIELD in 1843, after setting up and advertising for emigrants, sent four ships to Lyttelton: the Charlotte Jane, the Sir George Seymour, the Randolph, & the Cressey. These arrived, first on Monday 16th December, the last on 27th December, 1850. The lists of these 773 'Canterbury Pilgrims' are written on bronze plaques set into the pavement in Christchurch's square and at the time, doubled Canterbury's population.

Ten years before, however, The DEANS brothers from Riccarton, Scotland came to Wellington and after a time in Taranaki & Nelson, both were well established at Riccarton, later to become a suburb of Christchurch, by 1845. They joined GEBBIE & MANSON families there. During the late 1840's, Captain Joseph THOMAS made several trips to N.Z, and surveyed the Lyttelton (Port Cooper), Sumner & swamp areas, and built roads, wharves & accomodations in preparation for "The New Zealand Company" arrivals in December 1850.

A great may ships arrived over the next 60 or so years, bringing specific trades and skills necessary to set up a an 'English city', its port and service the farming & exploration activities.
One should not forget the sheep, cattle & other farm & domestic animals, plants, hedgerow plants, weeds, birds, pests, and game that was brought with these folk to enhance the lives of people in a land completely barren of such animals, especially of mammals.
Rail & roading and civic infrastructure were rapidly developed with labour & materials & machines coming in from homeland, in order to support local manufacturing and trade growth.

While LYTTELTON was a major immigration port, significant migration occurred in & out of the region via West Coast, Nelson, Timaru && Dunedin ports. The depression of 1880's to 1908 caused a lot of population transfer to the 'greener pastures' of the North Island, especially those from outlying areas such as ASHBURTON.     ASHBURTON is the only other significant town in the North / Mid Canterbury region, which has many smaller towns & villages.
Places like LEESTON & KILLINCHY were established by strong concentration of Irish families and many 5th generation descendants still reside there.

"Christchurch Star", Christchurch, Dec 1972.
"The STAR", Christchurch, Dec 27th, 1984
"The Encylopedia of New Zealand"

> HELP <

I need information to fill these pages.

If you have something from that North or mid-Canterbury towns, like School Reunion booklets, Contacts of local museum or History Society, Some famous or infamous local identity, Church Records or events, Shipping, - HERE is the chance, (and a place) for YOU to have your area put on the Genealogical Intenet.
If you live in the region and are able and willing to help enquirers, please let me know, then I can publish the list on these pages.
Should you find anything that you consider, incorrect, inappropriate, require adding, would like to see, like to contribute, PLEASE, do eMail Webmaster (below).
I am particularly interested in obtaining research resource information from North & Mid Canterbury areas, regions, towns, & localities outside Christchurch city. YOU can be effective in putting your locality on the Genealogical Internet!
If you are a member of NZSG, would you please mind adding your number to correspondence so I might gauge extent of interest for the society.
Note:- I am not available to perform research for you, although, via email, I might be able to advise on opportunities & places to go.

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Last updated on 26-01-2002 -       Previous change 04-06-1998
Copyright © 30-05-1998 - - B. E. PYCROFT. (Webmaster), Christchurch, New Zealand. NZSG #8530.