Local People, Christchurch
Born in Liverpool to Scottish parents Kate Sheppard was a good keen lass who believed that a woman should be active in all parts of her life. She was amongst the first female cyclists in Christchurch (at a time when this sort of thing was frowned upon due to a belief that women were too frail) and led the Women's Sufferage movement in New Zealand. Her work with the Temperence Society and Women's Sufferage movement culminated in the historic event of women being allowed the vote in 1893. After a couple of earlier goes, Sheppard got approx 32000 signatures on her petition to allow women to vote - the number may seem on the small side but this represented almost 1/3 of the total adult female population of the time. Her work is commemerated with a sculpted piece beside the Avon River at the Worcester St Bridge. Definately worth a look from a historical and a women's pride perspective.
People in Christchurch are usually very friendly and accomodating to foreigners asking strange or stupid questions, but here's something about the way they are friendly among themselves so to speak:
When people get off the bus, they say thank you to the driver. Not only a silently mumbled thanks when they happen to pass the driver at the front, and only the driver can hear it, no, when they get off at the back door, people will yell it to the front and maybe even do a hand wave. Cool!
So, usually, you say thanks or thank you, and the bus driver goes cheers mate, or you go cheers and the bus drivers says thanks.
I like this custom. Everybody does it, young and old, except maybe for foreign students. It's weird, but it makes me smile every time.
People are extremely friendly here, extreeeeeemly. Don't get that in Norway. Even my first impression, the customs officer, let alone the MAF people screening and searching my luggage for food at arrival and seizing the sausages I had brought with me from Singapore, they did it with a smile. I didn't even feel like I had been caught doing something I shouldn't have. If you've ever been to the US lately, you will know the difference.
Now, I've heard different tales from other parts of NZ, but as far as Chch goes I am really taken aback by all the friendly people around here.
I almost would like to move here, if it weren't for the trouser thing, as explained in this forum posting.
If you feel bored or want to make some new friends, go to Cathedral Square and see if you can play a game of chess with the locals. Some of the pieces are rather big, so if you have little kids, just replace some pieces with them and you might be able to cheat and win, by telling them to move around the board in your advantage ;)))
It's like a local thing that has become custom but when getting off a Bus after a journey everyone usually says thanks to the driver. This makes for a very friendly atmosphere on the bus service.
The driver generally welcomes you onto the bus and also often waves goodbye. This is a really nice thing about Christchurch - I haven't been to another city where this happens - and the thanks are all genuine.
The people of Canterbury or Cantabrians are known for being very one eyed when it comes to sport and any of their sports teams. From the Crudsaders to the Wizards your Cantab in the street will only see the good performance of his/her own team and nothing else. The Cantabs team is always the best - please note that this is not arrogance, this is just self assuredness from many years of doing well at the national games of rugby & cricket. (and a self preservation system when the team has a bad run........)
This old english method of having a bloke yelling the news pre newspaper days was trialled a few years ago as a tourism stunt - and it stuck. The Town Crier of Christchurch screams a few items of interest using a very random schedule. When he isn't doing the yelling thing he wanders about the Cathedral Square to chat with visitors and provide a few photo opportunities for those searching for that unusual shot for the trip album.
Nothing upsets the people of Christchurch more than graffiti, also called tagging. You can read letters to the editor about it in the Press on a nearly daily basis. And wherever you look in the city centre you will spot spraypainted walls, fences, power boxes, and street signs. Just a week or two ago some people of Christchurch’s most affluent suburb of Fendalton were surprised that a tagger had sprayed their fences, and wondered how the taggers dare to not respect their million dollar homes LOL As if only poorer people were allowed to become victims of crime!
There are endless discussions about selling spraycans only to people who are willing to get registered, like buying drugs in the pharmacies.
Perhaps the discussion would not be so fierce, were the graffiti artistic and spectacular. But unfortunately Christchurch seems to only have untalented sprayers who are not interested in anything but damaging other people’s properties, and public places. Many tags are not even readable. So which sense does tagging make if there is no message in it?
It costs Christchurch more than NZ$ 1 million per year to get rid of the graffiti – and just days after the clean-ups new graffiti appear on the walls and fences. Senseless lives, like those of the car hoons.
As taggers want their work of destruction be displayed I restrain from posting a photo of it. Instead see another kind of destruction that happens in the city on a regular base. And LOL … Some taggers are silly enough to post their graffiti on the internet, and they can be recognised easily, so the police can investigate and charge them.
Update 29 Jan 2008
Isn't it crazy that just the other day a 50 year-old business man in Manukau City stabbed a tagger to death? I do not excuse this, of course not - but it shows how fed up the people are with tagging.
This outdoor chess board is on Cathedral Square, and there's always someone playing it, even at night.