Friday, May 8, 2009

Hagley Park


A walk through the park...

Today I am going to take you on a walk through Hagley Park retracing the bicycle ride I made each day on my way to and from High School.

High School or College in New Zealand, consists of five years of study from the age of 13 through to 18, although at the time I went to High School most students left after only four years and began at Teachers' College, University, Nursing Training or joined the workforce.

Hagley Park in the centre of the city of Christchurch
is a vast park of 165 hectares (407 acres) including
playing fields, tennis courts, netball courts, several lakes,
the most amazing botanical gardens (another 21 hectares)
and a small golf course.
Through the park meanders the Avon River.

My ride to school, come rain, hail or shine took about forty
minutes. It was made quicker by this short cut through the park.

The Christchurch Botanical Gardens were established in 1863
with the planting of an English oak tree. They now include
beautiful horticultural displays, several conservatories
and memorials.

Tourists feeding the ducks and swans on one of the park lakes.
Hagley Park has been said to be the best city park in the world.

The city founders envisioned Christchurch as an English utopia in the South Pacific. They planned an orderly tiered society with an aristocracy and the Church of England as its head.
They named the city after an Oxford college, Christ Church and laid it out like an English city with a cathedral, University and boys' school, Christ's College - modeled on Eton. The school boys wore straw boaters in the 1960s - as did the girls at my school, and possibly still do.

The gently flowing Avon is caressed by weeping willows
and populated by a great number of resident ducks.
Originally the river was named The Shakespeare
but was renamed after the Scottish Avon.

A handsome, but bashful friend I met on my walk.

The city Fathers need to be thanked for their foresight in
planning the city of Christchurch around such a
wonderful green haven of tranquility and beauty.



  1. Gosh! through SUCH beauty to High School every day? Wow!
    Yes, I think those city fathers truly had incredible foresight (unlike the Bangalore city corporation here).
    Beautiful...i can't quite get over this.

  2. Your home country is incredibly beautiful. I am sure that growing up in such a beautiful environment has given you an discerning sense of all things aesthetics.

  3. Lucky you, Delwyn! Such beauty as Priya said. I would imagine that it would set you up for a good day's work on the books. ;D

    Have a great weekend.xx♥

  4. Priya,
    It was a beautiful journey each day...through the different seasons.
    Happy days

  5. Stiletto - happy Friday to you,

    Funny thing is that it is only now that I really see the beauty in NZ. When I was young I found it very conservative and parochial and ordinary...
    Happy days

  6. Natalie,

    I hated school Natalie - found it so boring except for literature. I went to a staid girls' school and although I love learning it was not really encouraged there. No fun at all...
    Happy Days

  7. Delwyn, this is such a beautiful park. As a young person were you able to realize the beauty of your surroundings on the way to school or where you perhaps focused on occurrences of the day? The reason I ask is I wonder how aware I would have been of such beautiful surroundings at a young age. Whoops, I think you answered my question in your comment to Stiletto.

    I left two awards for you at my blog (One Lovely Blog and 2009 Friendly Blogger awards). You deserve each as the awards speak for themselves.

  8. Lizzy,
    you are a real sweetie. I have taken the awards with many thanks for the lovely comments and feel honoured that they have come through you.

    Happy Days

  9. Even before I read this last paragraph I wanted to say this looks just like England. It would be quite surreal sitting under that tree, knowing I'm at the other end of the world but everything looks so familiar... I wondered what it would look like if the English never tried to make it... English. Probably very similar given the climate!

  10. It's so interesting that we pack our visions of what "home" should look like along with our belongings when we move and then try to replicate the old place in the new place, regardless of change in terrain or climate. I think of the houses in the deserts of the American southwest that have grass lawns. Grass, requiring hundreds of gallons of water to stay green in the desert. Sometimes our embodied visions of home magnify the new place, sometimes they're just out of place.

  11. I have visited Christchurch and remember then thinking how reminiscent of England it was... your photos have just reminded me of that..

  12. Polly
    you are right, with the exotic vegetation you would think you are in old Blighty. Of course there are many other micro-climates and different geographical areas in NZ but CHCH tends to be very English.
    Happy Days

  13. Meri
    we are all guilty here of wanting the patch of green lawn and the tropical garden but with enforced water restrictions now being common place they become very parched. In my area while it can rain heavily and for a few months it can also be rainless for a few months over winter. We have a spear down into the sand for water but it is quite brackish and smelly however when needed it is there for irrigation.
    happy spring days

  14. Hello Catherine and welcome to the antipodies.
    It is nice to meet you.

    You must be having quite an adventure so far from home and such a vastly different culture too, not even thinking about the current health scare there. I see that things re slowing getting back to normal.
    I am coming to visit you shortly. I will bring a mask!
    Happy Days

  15. Delwyn
    The vegetation reminds me of Holland.. it reminds me of my school days when I had too walk through rain and shine! ( more rain then shine )..cold to the bone!

    Have a nice Avo xxx Mona

  16. Hi Mona
    the only good thing about that is that when we were children we didn't know any different, we had no comparisons so we wouldn't grumble like I do now when I am back in that cold wind that chills my bones.
    Did it snow in your home town?
    Thank goodness for Qld weather...
    Happy warm days

  17. Hi Delwyn..back to answer your question times it would get -/- 25 Celsius !can you believe walking to school in that kind of weather..but we were pretty healthy and as you say we did not know any better...but now I do!

    xxx Mona

  18. Mona,
    I can't imagine it...We couldn't go back to that could we?
    Happy sat

  19. Thanks for the walking tour...this looks like a beautiful place, dearly wish i could see it one day

  20. These pictures are beautiful! As you know NZ has been one of my dreams, when my friend relocated out there. It looks all so neat, beautiful and so English. Our Italian parks are in fact different, nature being rather moulded by man and not left intact as it is the habit in Anglo-Saxon countries. I checked the park, town andd region in Google Earth, and I admired the fact that the whole area seems not so heavily populated as it usually happens here in Europe. I also spotted wonderful mountains not so far. The (good-natured) misanthropist in me makes me long for such uncrowded vastness! Thanks for the nice walk, and I appreciated one could zoom in a bit on the pictures.

  21. Hi MoR
    Yes NZ has a population of a little over 4m and Christchurch only 350,000 so it is not densely populated. The Southern Alps stretch along the backbone of the South Island and can be seen from CHCH where they were already white last week. (moving into winter now) Flying over the Alps on the return to Aus is always a treat.
    Happy Days

  22. Tom,
    Now's the time to'll get $2 for every dollar...
    Even better buy a plot of pavlova paradise to plant your wee posies.
    Happy travelling


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