This page looks at the important council events that took place between 1861 and 1880.

Year Date/Month Event

Christchurch City Council established. Population of Christchurch is about 3000.

1862 March 3

The first meeting of the Christchurch Municipal Council took place in the Land Office. John Hall is elected the first Chairman of the Municipal Council. John Hall later represented Christchurch, Heathcote, Selwyn and Ellesmere in Parliament and in 1879 he was appointed Premier of New Zealand.  He retired in 1882 and was created K.C.M.G. He later came out of retirement to accept the Mayoralty of Christchurch in 1906. However, Sir John Hall(external link) did not survive the term of his Mayoralty. He died in Christchurch on June 26, 1907, in his 83rd year.

Did you know?
Next time you see the Mayor of Christchurch wearing the Mayoral Chains, look closely  and you will see Sir John Hall’s K.C.M.G. hanging in the centre.  This was gifted to the Council shortly after Sir John Hall died in 1907 

1862 November

Christchurch Municipal Council is renamed Christchurch City Council by virtue of the Christchurch City Council Ordinance.  It was also known as Christchurch Borough Council between June and October 1868 in compliance with the Municipal Corporations Act passed by Parliament in November 1867. 

1863 22 January

John Ollivier (1863-1864) is elected the second Chairman of the Christchurch City Council.  According to Rice (1999:41) “The ‘king-maker’ of Canterbury provincial politics, he was a hearty, jolly man, intensely energetic, ready to take the lead in any good cause”.

Archives Reference: CCC/ARC/100/2 Christchurch City Council Minute Book 1862-1863, p72.

1863 5 March

Samuel Bealey(external link) is elected third Superintendent of Canterbury.

1864 9 July

Civic tree planting begins.  This is generally regarded as the beginning of the Botanic Gardens.  The first tree planted was known as the Albert Edward oak and was planted to mark the wedding of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, to Princess Alexandra of Denmark.  For more information, the Christchurch City Libraries Archives ‘The Burke Manuscript’(external link) mentions Mr Enoch Barker and his involvement in the planting of trees in Hagley Park.

1864 October

In January 1862 half an acre was purchased on the corner of Cambridge Terrace and Hereford Street.  A new building designed by Samuel Farr was selected and the new library(external link) was completed in October 1863.

1865 30 January

Isaac Luck(external link) (1865) is elected the third Chairman of the Christchurch City Council. Isaac Luck was a skilled builder. He arrived in Lyttelton on The Steadfast in 1851. He co-designed with his brother-in-law and business partner, Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort, the Canterbury Provincial Council Chambers between 1858-1865.

Archives Reference: CCC/ARC/100/3 Christchurch City Council Minute Book 1862-1863, p15

1865 21 November

Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings(external link) in Durham Street completed. The complex of buildings was designed by architect Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort who also designed Canterbury Museum and parts of the Arts Centre (formally the University of Canterbury). The foundation stone for the building was laid on 6 January 1858.

1866   The population of Christchurch is now about 6500 with an estimated 65 hotels.
1866 15 January

Edward Brenchley Bishop(external link) (1866-1868) is elected the fourth Chairman of the Christchurch City Council.  Before emigrating to New Zealand, Edward Bishop worked as a distiller in London for 21 years before immigrating to Canterbury in 1850 onboard The Charlotte Jane with his wife, two sisters and younger brother Fredrick Augustus Bishop.  Edward Bishop and his brother owned 100 acres on the Heathcote River.  He was a prominent member of the Farmers Club and the Canterbury A & P Association, and was involved with the Canterbury Rifle Volunteers.  He was Mayor of Christchurch from 1872-1873.

Archives Reference: CCC/ARC/100/3 Christchurch City Council Minute Book 1862-1863, p172

1866 April

Christchurch City Council virtually bankrupt because of a ratepayers protest.  Ratepayers withheld the rate payments, some street lights were turned off, Council workers dismissed and night soil collection was cancelled.

1866 21 May

Christchurch City Council abandons the vital city drainage scheme because of its financial state.  A large shipment of pipes which had just arrived from England had to be sold off, thus for the next 20 years, Christchurch earned the reputation as New Zealand’s most polluted city.

1866 30 May William Sefton Moorhouse re-elected as Provincial Superintendent.  This is his second term in office.
1867 6 August

Unveiling of the Statue of John Robert Godley(external link) in Cathedral Square.  This was New Zealand’s first public statue.

1867 9 December The Lyttelton Railway Tunnel opens which was a major accomplishment at the time.  It was the first in the world to be drilled through a volcano rim and it was New Zealand’s first tunnel, described at the time as one of the longest in the world.
1868 10 January

William Barber Wilson(external link) (1868) is elected the fifth Chairman of the Christchurch City Council.  William Wilson was known as a forcible speaker and took a very prominent part in local politics. He was president of the Christchurch Horticultural Society and Chairman of Municipal subcommittees responsible for the first landscaping of the River Avon in 1862. 

Archives Reference: CCC/ARC/100/3 Christchurch City Council Minute Book 1862-1863, p372

1868 22 May

William Rolleston(external link) elected as the fourth and last Provincial Superintendent of Canterbury.

Did you know?
The four Superintendent’s of the Canterbury Provincial Council have been remembered in the names of the city’s Four Avenues, previously called the Town Belt.

1868 10 June William Barber Wilson (1868) is elected as the first Mayor of Christchurch. He was the last Chairman of the Council.
1868 December

John Anderson(external link) (1868-1869) is elected the second Mayor of Christchurch.

1869   Andrew Duncan (1869-1870) is elected third Mayor of Christchurch. Andrew Duncan emigrated to New Zealand as a young man and quickly became a highly respected member of the Christchurch community.
1870   James P Jameson (1870-1871) is elected as fourth Mayor of Christchurch.
1871   Henry Sawtell (1871-1872) is elected as fifth Mayor of Christchurch.
1872   Edward Brenchley Bishop is elected as sixth Mayor of Christchurch (also in office as Chairman in 1866)
1873 27 January Christchurch Domains Board constituted. Michael B Hart (1873-1874) is elected as seventh Mayor of Christchurch.
1876   The population of Christchurch is approximately 12,815 within the Central City and an estimated 10,000 in the surrounding suburbs. Lyttelton had a population of approximately 3224.
1876 4 January First meeting of the Christchurch Drainage Board.
1876 29  October

October 29
Sydenham Borough Council formed. Henry Thomson (1877-1878) is elected as tenth Mayor of Christchurch.

Did you know?
Elections for Christchurch City Council were held annually. The Councillor’s elected one of their group as Mayor at an annual meeting unlike today where Mayoral position is voted by the public.

1876 1 November

Provincial Government abolished(external link). The first Counties Act of 1876 divided the country into 63 counties.

James Gapes (1876-1877) is elected as ninth Mayor of Christchurch.

1878   Charles Thomas Ick (1878-1880) is elected as eleventh Mayor of Christchurch.
1880   James Gapes (1880-1881) is re-elected as Mayor of Christchurch (had previously sat in office in 1877).