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Deputy Mayor Pauline Cotter Speech

Deputy Mayor Pauline Cotter giving her speech at the centennial lunch

Deputy Mayor Pauline Cotter

Deputy Mayor Pauline Cotter Centennial Speech
8 October 2023


Ko Pauline Cotter Ahau.

Thank you so much for the invitation to attend this wonderful Centenary Luncheon for the Canterbury Pilgrims & Early Settlers Association, it’s a great honour to be here among you.


I would like to acknowledge –

Patron Arthur Northcote,
President Beverley Bolland,
Father Peter Williams.
All Members of the Canterbury Pilgrims and Early Settlers Association.

Mayor Phil Mauger is very disappointed that he cannot be here today, due to another event commitment, and he will be especially disappointed missing out on this excellent fare! He loves his food! He has asked me to pass on his sincere apologies.

So, this is a very, very special day is it not?…. It’s 100 years TODAY since the formation of the association on the 8th Oct 1923 and I understand it was started by the surviving passengers from the first six ships to have arrived in Lyttelton. What foresight they had. And what courage they had, embarking on such a long and hazardous journey I am sure it wasn’t at all an easy journey, not in any way like the big fat luxurious ostentatious cruise ships we have today. No no no….it would’ve been rough as guts and dangerous even on a calm day, often with deaths of children and other passengers, sea sickness, disease, and it would have been absolutely terrifying in a storm! And then to arrive in a new country … the great unknown…. To carve out a new life for themselves and future generations… something I find hard to comprehend from the relative comfort of growing up in an established city.

My Maternal Great Grandfather, George Kemp, emigrated from Scotland arriving on the ‘Lord Auckland’ and arrived, not in Canterbury, but Nelson in 1842 and settled in Seddon.

My Maternal Great Grandmother, Margaret Muir emigrated from Scotland arriving in Lyttelton on the Chariot of Fame in 1863.

My paternal grandfather, Christopher Cotter arrived by ship in 1909 from Ireland, landing in Auckland but settling in Christchurch, and he became a prominent Christchurch businessman, starting up C.F Cotter Ltd, which is now Cotters Electrical and still in the Family at 4th Generation. Btw a Great place to get your vaccy bags, or your vacuum cleaner or coffee machine fixed ….. don’t worry I have no financial interest in the business now, although I do expect a small discount when I shop there!

I learned a lot of this only very recently, through the assistance of the team at Turunga, using the family and local history resources of the Tuakiri Floor. They are always keen to help residents trace their ancestry, and can connect people to the many organisations we have Like yours.
I think it’s fair to say that more and more people are showing an interest in their genealogy and history these days.

The preservation and promotion of the history of Christchurch and Canterbury’s early settlers is hugely important, and gratitude and appreciation must be shown to those that formed your society, and to all those who have continued to source, discover and preserve the stories, events, facts, the tragedies and sometimes the miracles that have become inter-woven to make the rich tapestry that is our History, and our backbone.
We all know how many historic buildings we sadly lost as a result of the devasting EQ in 2011, and this makes it even more important that our citys’ historic roots are preserved and protected, and that includes artifacts and knowledge contained in those structures.
It is a credit to the courage some have shown in embarking on the restoration of some of our significant historical landmarks, like ‘Our City Otautahi’, soon to be open after major works, Shands Emporium, the Trinity Church, and others being brought back from near death. And the continued value and preservation bestowed on significant homesteads of the past, such as Riccarton House, Kate Sheppard House and Avebury House to name just a few. And of course we are sitting in a great example here in Elizas Manor, built in 1861 by C.W Wyatt, and with the main staircase brought out in its entirety from Scotland. This Manor has seen a myriad of iterations in uses, from homestead, to boarding house, to hospital, lodge, and now as a luxury accommodation and function venue. I love the description on the web site, “with all the charm of yester-year, with the convenience of today.”
I’m actually finding today “ very convenient!”

Because these buildings remind us of the courage, determination, foresight and fortitude of those who built them, and lived in them, AND selflessly gave so much to their new Communities, and New Country. Today we are standing on their shoulders in a beautiful city that may look different in some ways, but the DNA of our forebears runs deep in our veins. There is no doubt about this when we see the innovation and creativity that emerges from Canterbury; we punch way above our weight!

Your diligence and Mahi in recognising our early history, expands and maintains our understanding of how this city began, which is a crucial element that enables us to continue reinventing what it means to be a City of Explorers.
We must know where we have come from, in order to move forward in a meaningful direction.

We are all richer for the stories we are able to continue to tell, because of organisations like yours – who are dedicated to remembering the pioneers who, alongside local Iwi, have laid the solid foundations for the city, and for region’s formation.
Your association and the City Council have always enjoyed a close relationship. I understand the first meetings were presided over by the Mayors of the time, and on behalf of THIS Council I would like to acknowledge and thank you for the various plaques you have provided for the city over the years.

So, again, on behalf of the Council, I would like to thank you for all that you do, in the name of passion and pride for Christchurch and its early settlers. I congratulate you on achieving 100 years of preserving our city’s history, and wish you all the very best for at least another 100 years!!

Ma Mua Ka Kite a Muri, Ma Muri Ka Ora a Mua

Those who lead give SIGHT to those who follow,
Those who follow give LIFE to those who lead.

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

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