History of the Estuary — Part three


Following in the traditions of tangata whenua, the early settlers of Christchurch also used the estuary and the rivers for recreation. European settlers followed suit by establishing canoeing and rowing clubs around the estuary. Favoured sites for picnics, fishing and boating expeditions, the sheltered peaceful bays of the estuary provided an escape from life in Christchurch’s growing suburbs. From gala days at the beach resorts of Sumner and New Brighton to rowing regattas in the estuary, the value of the estuary as a resource was changing for Christchurch’s residents. The less the estuary and rivers were being used for trade and travel, the more they grew in value as a recreation spot. 


Regattas held by the Christchurch Yacht Club in the late 1890s and early 1900s included a wide variety of activities such as yacht racing, double sculls races, due hunting and tug-of-war in punts- all of which were accompanied by the rowing of 10 gallons of beer!!