Cashmere history alive

This post relates the history of Cashmere, from ancient lore through settlement, to today.

Kahukura / Uenuku (in south / north island NZ) – the rainbow god – symbolically

Te iringa o Kahukura is the original name for Cashmere, which was not so much a staying place as a route of passage – through the swamplands surrounding Pūtaringamotu and Ōtautahi kainga (habitations, preceding Christchurch) then up and over the ‘port hills’, to the harbour settlements Ōhinetahi and Rāpaki. The higher, drained land under Colombo Street met the track that would become Dyers Pass Road at this climbing point. Once up on the volcanic ridgelines, travel east would reach Te Tihi o Kahukura – ‘Castle Rock’ and ocean.

Cashmere characterised as significant thoroughfare thus has deep roots. Through traffic remains a top concern of the neighbourhood.

Climbing Dyers Pass Road, you will find the Cashmere ‘Village Green’ next to Macmillan Ave. This resting place hosts a memorial plaque, to the 18th-century tribal skirmish between new northern invaders Ngai Tahu and the previous century’s settlers, Ngati Mamoe. Matuku-Takotako is named, as a cave nearby where battle was met and Ngati Mamoe lost an ariki (chief). Territorial sway was in transition.

But 19th-century growth of trade and metal weapon imports spelled disaster for Ngai Tahu. The “Kaihuānga”, or “eat relation” feud of 1810-1820s grew into civil war, weakening the iwi; such that northern raids by Ngati Toa in 1827-1836 forced its centre of gravity south.

1840’s Treaty of Waitangi signing tour gave local ariki opportunity to reassert their mana (authority). Land then changed hands cheaply with arrival of the Canterbury Association into the plains, Kā Pākihi Whakatekateka a Waitaha, December 1850. Waitaha was the name for the aggregated original inhabitant peoples before Ngati Mamoe.

Christchurch city was founded as provincial capital for New Munster, briefly, then for Canterbury, beside Ōtautahi’s Ōtākaro river trade hub. It sprouted new industry and housing all around, in time reaching south, past the 1876 ‘model borough’ of Sydenham towards the hills. A horse-drawn then steam-driven tram pushed access on from 1882 and trailed electrification of services in 1905.

High on Cashmere hill, Victoria Park began life as a 189-acre quarry reserve in 1870 – supplying the Christ Church Cathedral build etc. In 1883 it was constituted recreation space under a governance board, who opened it in 1897. Apart from walking and riding tracks, Rhodes Memorial Convalescent Home was the only other hillside amenity there, from 1888. Suburban development was soon going to begin.

Graphic from Ogilvie, Place Names of Banks Peninsula and The Port Hills, p.49.

Cashmere suburb emerged from the break up of large farm estates allowing smaller private investments in housing. Named after…

Beckenham was developed from ‘Fishertown’ in 1906. by…

…Watch for future edits.

Bibliography (draft)

Gordon Ogilvie, Place Names of Banks Peninsula and The Port Hills, Canterbury University Press, Christchurch, 2017, pp.47-51, 158-159.

Gordon Ogilvie, The Port Hills of Christchurch, Phillips & King publishers, Christchurch, 2009, pp.208-233.

Sydenham The Model Borough of old Christchurch, Pegasus Press, Christchurch, 1977.

Can any good come from spite?, Karyn Hay Presents: Queen’s Birthday, 7 June 2021.

© Copyright – CRA 2021.

By Rik Tindall

Hi, a community, environment & free/open software advocate from Otautahi/Christchurch, Aotearoa/New Zealand, liking world politics 4 equity, justice & societal quality of life 4 all, sustainable peace & truth

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