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The murder house

Maurice shares his worst memory of growing up in Lyttelton. Image: Dental nurse giving a boy treatment at the Dental Clinic. Pascoe, John Dobree, 1908-1972 :Photographic albums, prints and negatives. Ref: 1/4-001117-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22639915


Explore the old Scout Den or look out towards Quail Island
Memories of being a Sea Scout in Lyttelton.

Bottle Collecting

You can listen to this one as your walking past the the old West End dairy on Simeon Quay.
The kids found a clever (and naughty) way to get free lollies.

Guy Fawkes

Listen in the grassy above the school.
Guy Fawkes used to be a bit wilder affair than today. Andrew remembers huge bonfires in the grassy.

Fish & Chips

Fish and chips was a big deal! People share their favourites.

Crane Collapse

Standing on the bridge on the way to the Ferry Terminal you'll have a good view of the current cranes.
A memory of this incident from February 15, 1985.

Dry Dock

Standing on Britain Terrace, looking down on to the Dry Dock.
Like the rest of the port, the Dry Dock used to be completely open. It was even used for school swimming races. Kids also worked at the dry dock and would even race down the stairs for a special reward.

The legend of the Goat Man

Listen to this story strolling the Anglican cemetery at the top of Canterbury Street or wandering Lyttelton by night!Myth, legend or real? The goat man story survived many decades to scare local children.

Grass sliding

Listen on the grassy hills above Lyttelton. An old Lyttelton tradition. Kids would make sledges or use a cardboard box for this Lyttelton pastime.

Pictures at the Harbourlight

Stand at the empty site at 24 London Street
The Harbour Light Cinema and then theatre stood for 83 years on this site. It was demolished after the February 2011 earthquake. Saturday pictures was a regular treat for kids growing up here.


Listen on Voelas Road. And always be careful when rescuing hedgehogs on steep Lyttelton streets.

Crab Rock

Miriata Couch of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke grew up at Rapaki. She remembers gathering kia moana as a child, including crabs.

HIde and seek

Listen to this while walking along Norwich Quay
A giant game of hide and seek that you wouldn't dream of today.

Lunch at home

Lyttelton Primary School, Oxford Street
A memory of going home for lunch - because mum was always there...

Paper routes

est experienced on the streets of Lyttelton.
Spare a thought for these kids who couldn't use bikes like their city counterparts (pictured) and had the steep hills of Lyttelton to tackle every morning before school.


Mariata Couch of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke shares a story she was told as a child - warning her to stay out of the hills when the mist rolls in.

King Billy Island

Mariata Couch of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke tells the story of the original name for King Billy Island.

Swimming at corsair bay

A memory of days when kids would head out in the morning and not come home until the evening.

A gift of coral

Looking at the wharves
A memory of visiting the wharves and having a special gift dropped down.

Storm of 74

Stand on the Gaol steps looking over the town.
A huge storm left strong memories of damage for lots of kids.

Up the flagpole

Head to the Recreation Ground. Click map view for directions.
The "Rec" or Recreation Ground was the sports field but also a venue for fireworks and festivals, including this extreme and memorable fundraiser.

The Day the Tank Exploded

Stand on Britain Terrace at the bench and look down onto the tanks. This was a day that no one has forgotten.

Te Poho a Tamatea

The maunga (mountain) that overlooks Rāpaki is Te Poho o Tamatea (the breast of Tamatea) and is named after the explorer Tamatea Pōkai Whenua who is said to have climbed this peak to recite a karakia asking a tohunga to send fire to warm his people. Mariata Couch tells the story.


London Street
Greasy Greeks was the nickname for a mainstay fish and chip shop on London Street


Listen in the old gaol overlooking the school.
The school and the gaol were neighbouring buildings.

Train Stories

Stand on Norwich Quay above the train tracks and tunnel entrance.
Lyttelton had the first tunnel cut through volcanic rock. It opened in 1867 and helped make Christchurch a viable export economy. Until the road tunnel opened in 1964, the train was the main connection between the port and the city. For school kids, it was part of their regular commute to school.

Tunnelling from school

Stand outside Lyttelton Primary School.
Lyttelton Main School used to stand on this site. It's rival, Lyttelton West was across town on Voelas Road. This story is a memory of Lyttelton Main school kids and their great escape plan.


Mariata Couch of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke tells the story of the original name for Lyttelton Harbour and the way her ancestors surprised early settlers.

Homemade bikes

The steep streets of Lyttelton made biking something extra special for kids.

Ō Kete Upoko The Basket of Heads

Mariata Couch of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke shares the story of the Basket of Heads and of the women, children and elders who were slaughtered by Te Rangi-whakaputa and never given a proper resting place.

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