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Timeline: Christchurch

September 1863

30 April 1886

  • Amy Bock is convicted of obtaining goods by false pretences (Christchurch). Link: Papers Past

22 January 1896

  • Poet Walter D'Arcy Cresswell is born (Christchurch). Cresswell was later shot by Charles Mackay, mayor of Wanganui. Links: Te Ara,

9 February 1903

  • Writer James Courage is born (Christchurch). Link: Te Ara

12 October 1923

  • Hector Froggatt is sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for indecent assault on boys (Christchurch). A medical man giving evidence at the trial said Froggatt suffered from "homo-sexual abnormality". Link: Papers Past

August 1924

  • Effie Pollen and poet Ursula Bethell begin living together (Christchurch). Links:, Te Ara

22 July 1929

  • The Evening Post reports on a recent presentation entitled "The Adolescent Girl" (Christchurch). Speaking to members of the Christchurch branch of the Parents' National Education Union Dr Jessie Scott talks about how girls between 11 and 16 experience a homo-sexual period. They "showed great affection for members of their own sex, often for women much older than themselves". This is followed by the heterosexual stage. Link: Papers Past

8 November 1934

  • Effie Pollen dies (aged 55) (Christchurch). Pollen is buried at Karori Cemetery in Wellington. Link: Probate

15 January 1945

  • Poet Ursula Bethell dies (Christchurch). Bethell dies in Christchurch and is buried in the Rangiora cemetery. Links: Te Ara,

22 April 1953

  • Charles Farthing is born (Christchurch). Farthing would later become a pioneering doctor specialising in the early recognition and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Links: New Zealand Medical Journal, Wikipedia

22 June 1954

23 January 1964

  • Charles Aberhart is beaten to death by a group of teenagers in Hagley Park (Christchurch)

11 May 1964

  • The six teenagers accused of killing Charles Aberhart are all acquitted by a jury (Christchurch). Those acquitted were Zane Leslie McDonald, Anthony Dennis O'Connor, Frank Leicester Reynolds, Raymond Clive Neither, Brian Francis Johns and Roger Malcolm Williams. Links: Spinoff,


  • The University of Canterbury Gay Activists Society is formed (Christchurch). The group is later renamed Gay University Students' Society (GUSS)

23 May 1972

  • Gay Liberation Front Christchurch holds its first meeting (Christchurch). Ngahuia Volkerling (Te Awekotuku) had earlier visited Christchurch (2-10 May) and then Wellington


  • The group Sisters for Homophile Equality (SHE) Canterbury Inc. is formed (Christchurch). S.H.E. was one of the earliest specifically lesbian groups to emerge from Gay Liberation
  • The University of Canterbury Gay Activists' Society is formed (Christchurch)


  • The Women's Centre opens (Christchurch). The Centre is established by radical feminists, members of SHE and the Socialist Action League

23 June 1974

  • Gay Pride Week takes place in Christchurch (Christchurch). The week includes: GAS Teach-In at USCR 7.30pm on Thursday 27 June, Gay Pride March on Friday 28 June (assemble Victoria Square 6.45pm) - "Support Homosexual Equality - March for Gay Rights", Gay Pride Dance on Saturday 29 June at Hagley Hall, 22 St Asaph Street


  • The Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) is formed (Christchurch). In 1980 CHE moved its operations to Wellington

February 1975

  • Members of SHE Christchurch help organise the first Women's Refuge conference (Christchurch)

May 1975

  • The Dorian Society Christchurch is formed (Christchurch)

November 1975

  • Robin Duff stands in the General Election as an openly gay candidate for the Values party (Christchurch)


  • Befriend is formed (Christchurch). The group was earlier known as Gays-An and was one of the earliest counseling services in Christchurch
  • Gay Teachers and Students Union is formed (Christchurch). The Union is later renamed Gays in Education in 1981
  • Labour MP Gerald O'Brien is charged with molesting two boys (Christchurch). It was alleged that O'Brien asked them back to his motel room for a drink. The charges were thrown out at a depositions hearing. Later O'Brien commented it was an "attempt by my political enemies to get rid of me.". Links: Wikipedia, Stuff

16 December 1976


  • Lesbians demand and get the removal of male reporters from the United Women's Convention (Christchurch)

March 1977

  • Christchurch Women's Liberation Collective is formed (Christchurch)


  • Gay Liberation Front Christchurch ends (Christchurch)

August 1979

  • Ascent Christchurch is formed for gay and lesbian Catholics (Christchurch)


  • The Gay Information Centre is established (Christchurch)
  • The play Blood of the Lamb by Bruce Mason premieres (Christchurch). The play focuses on a lesbian couple with child

July 1980

  • The Gay Information Centre opens (Christchurch)

September 1980

  • Gays and lesbians are banned from the Cantabrian Hotel (Christchurch)


  • The Gay Welfare Conference is held (Christchurch)

27 April 1984

10 August 1984

  • AIDS Awareness roadshow continues in Christchurch (Christchurch). Bruce Burnett from the newly formed AIDS Support Network continues a one person roadshow to educate at risk communities about HIV/AIDS. The roadshow lasts a month and covers Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Palmerston North(?), Rotorua and Auckland

6 November 1984

  • The Christchurch Gay Task Force is formed (Christchurch). Link: LAGANZ

23 November 1984

  • Television: The AIDS crisis has lead to an upsurge of blood donors in Christchurch (Christchurch). ref: TZP127987. Link: Nga Taonga Sound and Vision

12 January 1985

  • A lesbian camp is held (Christchurch)

9 April 1985

  • Television news report: haemophiliac man found out he has antibodies for the HDLU3 virus which has been linked to AIDS (Christchurch). ref: TZP129047. Link: Nga Taonga Sound and Vision

12 April 1985

  • Television: National Council of Churches executive meeting will discuss homosexual law reform (Christchurch). ref: TZP129576. Link: Nga Taonga Sound and Vision

14 April 1985

  • Television news report: anti gay rally held by Coalition of Concerned Citizens in Cathedral Square, Christchurch (Christchurch). ref: TZP129399. Link: Nga Taonga Sound and Vision

2 January 1986

  • Artist Leo Bensemann dies (Christchurch)

21 October 1988

  • Media reports that the Ettie Rout Clinic opens in Christchurch (Christchurch). The clinic is the third AIDS clinic to open and is run by the New Zealand AIDS FOundation. The Clinic carries Rout's name until 2003. Link: Nga Taonga


  • The Rock of Life Ministries is formed (Christchurch). The group is formed circa 1989 (exact date unknown)

5 June 1989

  • A South Island lesbian conference is held at Christchurch Polytech (Christchurch)

2 June 1990

  • A lesbian gathering and conference is held (Christchurch)

10 May 1991

  • Television news report: a Christchurch philanthropist offers refunds on empty packets of condoms (Christchurch). Michael Sherry wants to promote safe sex by offering refunds on empty packets of condoms. Nightline, ref F104366. Link: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

1 July 1995

  • A day-long seminar takes placed called Exceptional Lesbian and Gay Lives (Christchurch). The seminar is advertised as a "one day affirming seminar" and features Robin Duff, Kathleen Quinlivan, Brent Skerten, Ross Palmer, Andrew Carstairs McCarthy, Linda James, Sue Lovelock Marshall, Jo Drayton and Jane Ferrier. It takes place in the Elizabeth Kelly Room above Annies Wine Bar in the City Arts Centre. Link:

2 December 1995

  • The first Freedom dance party takes place (Christchurch). The event is held at the Ministry for "lesbians, gays, bisexuals and their friends.". Link:

23 December 1995

  • The Dyke Ball takes place (Christchurch). Link:

August 1996

  • Gays and Lesbians in Business (GLIB) is formed (Christchurch). Link: Queer History

21 September 1996

  • The Riding the Rainbow '96 conference takes place (Christchurch). The Pink Health conference's theme is self esteem. Link:

12 October 1996

  • Tim Barnett (Christchurch Central, Labour Party) is elected in the first MMP General Election (Christchurch). Barnett, who is openly gay, would subsequently introduce the Prostitution Reform Act (2003) and was heavily involved in the passing of the Civil Union Act (2004). Links: Wikipedia, Parliament

4 November 1996

  • Bryan James Gardner murders David Shore in a hotel room (Christchurch). Gardener is sentenced to life imprisonment in May 1997. Link: Sensible Sentencing Trust

14 December 1996

  • Teaser, a pre-Freedom dance party is held (Christchurch). The party is held at Bar Particular on 14 December 1996. Link:

1 February 1997

  • The second Freedom dance party takes place (Christchurch). The party is at the Civic of Canterbury on Manchester Street. Link:

26 May 1997

  • Bryan James Gardner is sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering David Shore in November 1996 (Christchurch). Gardner tried unsuccessfully to use the homosexual panic defence. Link: Sensible Sentencing Trust

3 October 1997

  • A Christchurch Rainbow branch of the Labour Party is established by Tim Barnett (Christchurch). The first Rainbow branch was established in Auckland by MP Chris Carter on 17 March 1997. The establishment of the branches marked the birth of Rainbow Labour. The Rainbow Sector Council within the Labour Party was formed shortly afterwards, which gave the branches a nationwide focus and co-ordinating body

7 February 1998

  • The Freedom festival and dance party take place (Christchurch). The Freedom dance party takes place on 14 Feburary at the Civic of Canterbury on Manchester Street. Various other events take place: an art exhibition 3 - 21 February, a film festival 7 - 13 February, a picnic on 8 February, a cocktail party on 9 February and Bar Olympics on 12 February. Link:

10 May 2008

  • The documentary Through Rainbow Coloured Glasses premieres (Christchurch). Link: Production website

27 September 2013

  • Paul Findlay resigns as a board-member of youth group Q-topia. (Christchurch). A sexting conversation was publicized in the media allegedly between Findlay and a person identifying themselves as a fifteen-year-old. Links: NZ Herald, GayNZ

18 July 2017

  • Johnny Lumsden admits in court to endangering the health of three men by criminal nuisance (Christchurch). After lying about his HIV status, Lumsden has unprotected sex with three men he met through social media. Link: Stuff

15 March 2019

  • The Christchurch mosque massacres take place (Christchurch). 51 people are killed after a gunman opens fire at two mosques in Christchurch during Friday prayers. Subsequently, numerous public events throughout the country are either cancelled or postponed - include a number of high profile Pride events in Wellington. Link: Wikipedia

12 December 2021

  • The first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant was identified in New Zealand (Christchurch). Link: RNZ

17 June 2022

  • Christchurch Pride takes place (Christchurch). The festival runs 17-28 June. Link: Express