When I returned to New Zealand in June of 2003, it was the first time I
had been home in two and a half years.
This is a long time to be away from your homeland. A very long time.
Many things had changed, and I decided that I should make a record of what was there at the time that had been a part of my life, before it changed even further.
This is the result, hopefully, ever changing and updating from now on, to cover my life like a memoir in photographs.
There are many thumbnails, they'll take a while to load. Some of the pictures they link to can be up to 500kB in size - be prepared that they may take some time to load.
(Left) My father grew up in Christchurch New Zealand, in a house on Gleneagles Terrace. My Grandparents lived in this house until the late 1980s when they decided they didn't need such a large house. (See below).
(Right) My Nana's (Fathers side) parents ran a farm for many years until, I believe, the late 1970s, when they chose to move to the city. My great-grandfather (Grandpa) Philip Thompson built this house, in Ryland Ave, by hand.
(Left) From when I was born until I was 4 years old I lived in Halls Road, later renamed Halls Place.
(Center) My parents actually met at a draughting firm, Andrews & Beavens, over the road from where my house was! This is now Trimble, a GPS firm.
(Right) This is the section where my house was. We relocated the house in 1985, literally lifting the house up and transporting it 10km across the city from the industrial zone it was in, to its new location. (Below). "Steve's Joinery" was next door to us as I was growing up, it is the only remaining building on this road.
(Left) This is the house now at Withells Road. The house is white, to the right of the yellow block and wood fence. As you can see, it's now thoroughly hidden by the native New Zealand foliage my parents planted when we moved sections, and the huge iron gate.
(Centre/Left) This is the back of the house. There was no deck when I lived there. The back yard used to have an oak tree that I planted myself, at the age of 3, at the original section. The acorn was brought from Hanmer Springs, picked by myself, and when we moved sections my father uprooted the tree and brought it with us. The subsequent owners of the house had My Tree cut down and removed.
(Centre/Right) Along the side of this parking lot, where the white building is, was a row of very tall Poplar trees when I was here. I recall on not one, but two, occasions of older boys in these trees, high up, and throwing stones at me because they didn't want me to be bothering them. I was hit, both times, on the head, and ended up having to stumble across the road half-dazed to my house. I recall my father rushing back across the road and threatening them with grevious bodily harm if he ever caught them in the trees again with stones.
(Right) This church was built not long before I left Christchurch. I recall climbing onto the steep steel roof of the church and climbing the yellow cross.
(Left) This was the nearest park to where I grew up, Crosbie. My friend Terry and I were here frequently enough. The housing behind the park wasn't there until not long before I left Christchurch. Originally it was a vast paddock that farmers grew peas and beans in, amongst other things. Later right beside the park became a tree nursery, but that didn't last long.
(Centre/Left) This drain was put in while I lived here. The drain goes all the way through to the housing section behind the park. The drain is actually larger the further in you go, and as children we used to crawl for great distances in the dark in this sewage pipe before it was properly hooked up.
(Centre/Right) This was the tree in which Terry and I adopted. I'm sure many other children used it too, but it was the only one we really liked.
(Right) Getting into it was more interesting than I remember. Maybe I'm getting old?
(Left) This is the primary school I went to in Christchurch, Merrin School. The school was a half-kilometer down the road from my house, easy walking distance for a little one.
(Right) Most of the play equipment has changed, except the three in this picture. Nice to know some things don't change in 20 years.
(Left) When my grandparents moved from Gleaneagles Terrace, they decided they should be practical with what they were building. Not only for them, but for my Nana's aging parents, who were well into their late 80s. My grandparents built this house first, on Thurlstone Place, and then moved into it, while a house right behind it was built.
(Right) This house was on a different street, but they shared the same back fence and had a gate inbetween. When the house was finished in Grahams Road, my grandparents moved from one house to the next, and my great-grandparents moved out of their home in Ryland Ave into the Thurlstone Place house.
My father has always been a hoarder. Genetics, I suppose. This factory which literally sold the peel from citrus fruit, was vacant, and my father rented a couple of rooms in it to store his junk. Originally this junk was in a huge "shed" on the original Halls Road property, but a few years after moving house, the shed was set on fire and burnt to the ground, damaging and destroying a lot of its contents. The St Clements Peel factory was said contents' new home, in Rangiora, north of Christchurch. I remember coming here as a child on weekends to tend to the collection.