Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Founder of Christchurch

John Robert Godley's statue, upturned in the earthquake, had a time capsule inside which the museum is going to carefully unfurl and read. We will have to wait for the results.

He spent two and half years as Canterbury Associates Settlement Scheme head and preceded the 3500 settlers the scheme had attracted. He was against squatters and was a free marketeer.

Reading the story of the Hay's of Pigeon Bay today  in the Freelance, August 13th, 1952, Douglas Cresswell said;
John Robert Godley was determined to make Canterbury an exclusive Church of England settlement and did his utmost to have the early Scottish settlers evicted from their holdings. However, after a great deal of trouble Mr Hay obtained written assurance from Sir George Grey, the Governor at the time, that they should not be deprived of their holdings, and Godley reluctantly had to give in.

The Hay's had arrived on the Bengal Merchant and had spent two fruitless years on the beach at Petone waiting for the fledgling government to open some land up for them. Taking matters into their own hands, they and two more families (Sinclairs and Deans), moved to the Canterbury region with the blessings of Colonel Wakefield in 1842.

Some of this information came from an online article by John Nimmo, journalist. who wrote it on the 9th of February 2011.


  1. See also my article, posted 2 March. We already know what the text of at least one of the time capsules (there are apparently two) says: ""This statue of John Robert Godley, executed by Thomas Woollier, R.A., was erected in the west side of Cathedral Square by the Provincial Government of Canterbury, and unveiled by the late Sir Charles Christopher Bowen, K.C.M.G., on August 6, 1867. It was moved to this site in March, 1918."

  2. I can't find that article but I had a very enjoyable time at your site. You write so well. I've subscribed so I don't miss any more of it.

  3. Hi Lyn. Thanks! The Timespanner article is in the link in my comment above.