A famous name hidden in the pages

Two visitors books from the UCSA archives

The Canterbury College Collection Survey project team has continued to add more fascinating artefacts from around UC to its database. While exploring the UCSA archives, the survey team found a historic book with the title “Students Club Visitors Book” embossed on the front. Visitors to the university, dating back to 1907, had signed their names and from where they had visited. Visitors were mostly from other Universities around Aotearoa New Zealand like Lincoln College (now Lincoln University) and Victoria University of Wellington. On the seventeenth page, however, a familiar name jumped out at us in unusual-looking block letters: “Helen Keller”.

Helen Keller’s distinctive signature

According to the details on the page, this Helen Keller visited Canterbury University College with one Polly Thomson on 9th August 1948. Following some quick research, we learned that the famous Helen Keller did indeed visit Christchurch in August of 1948 as part of her post-war tour of Australia and New Zealand. During the tour Miss Keller visited institutions to interact with the blind and deaf communities and offer messages of hope. As part of her tour she visited the Christchurch branch of the Blind and Low Vision New Zealand Institute on 30th July, and followed this by giving a public talk for staff and students at Canterbury University College a few days later on 9th August. Acting Rector at the time, Robin Allan, wrote to express his thanks the following day, noting that “Your wise words, and if I may be permitted to say so, the fine example of your courage will have an abiding effect on a group of students at a formative stage in their careers.”

Helen Keller (left) with her companion Polly Thomson (middle) in 1957.

It was an exciting discovery to find Miss Keller’s distinctive handwritten name across the page of the Visitors Book. Polly Thomson, whose name is written in the next entry, was Miss Keller’s close companion and, together with Miss Keller, visited over 35 countries on behalf of the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind. Finding Miss Keller and Miss Thomson’s names was another reminder for the survey team how valuable it can be to keep historical archives and material, as they can give us important clues to our history, while also providing moments of wonder.

Second Campus Power Outage 6 February 2021

We are conducting a second power outage test this Saturday 6 February from 8 – 9.30am.

This will affect most of the Ilam campus. During this period buildings will be closed to staff and students. If you are in one of these buildings during the outage you will need to use an emergency exit to leave.

If you have any concerns please email fmassist@canterbury.ac.nz

Power will be shut down to the following buildings during this period:

  • Te Ao Mārama
  • Macmillan Brown Pacific Studies
  • Macmillan Brown Library
  • Puaka-James Hight Library (closed for Waitangi Day)
  • Forestry
  • Forestry Workshop
  • Biology 1 and 2
  • Central lecture theatres
  • Rehua
  • Geography
  • Psychology/Sociology
  • Meremere
  • Karl Popper
  • Elsie Locke
  • James Logie
  • South Arts lecture theatres
  • Music (Ilam)
  • Fine Arts Blocks 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Beatrice Tinsley
  • North Arts Lecture Theatres
  • Psychology Staff
  • Pūtaiao Koiora
  • Julius Von Haast
  • ICT
  • Angus Tait
  • Matariki
  • Julius von Haast
  • Okeover
  • Alice Candy
  • Ernest Rutherford
  • Library warehouse
  • Glasshouses
  • University Bookshop (closed for Waitangi Day)
  • Café 101 (may be affected)

The UCSA Presents: O.Week 2021

Get ready for O.Week 2021: Presented by the UCSA! We’ve put together a jam-packed week with over 20 events to welcome you to UC. If freebies are your thing, there’s plenty to choose from, including lunches, movies and markets. Dive in!

And while you’re at it, follow us on Facebook and Insta to stay connected.

Postgrad BBQ

11 February, 5pm to 7pm at Haere-roa

Postgrads, join us for a free bite and a relaxed ‘mix and mingle’ at Haere-roa this O.Week. We’ll be serving all the usual BBQ faves.

Te Whiringa

16 February, 7pm to 11pm at Haere-roa

Co-hosted with Te Akatoki – Māori Students Association of UC

Tauti mai ki Te Whiringa – join us for a night of cultural festivities! Treat your tastebuds to a selection of free Māori and Pacific kai (food) – a steam-cooked hāngi meal and delicious panikeke lapotopoto (Samoan pancakes). Come connect with the whānau of UC Māori and Pacific on campus, enjoy cultural performances and demonstrations from our Māori and Pacific community, then sit back and relax to watch a home-grown movie at our outdoor cinema.

Everyone is welcome, GF & V options available, and please bring a blanket for the movie. Tēnā, nau mai!

Ori Market

19 February, 8.30am to 2pm at C-Block Lawn

What a way to get into Friday, the Ori Market has an array of treats in store. Learn your way around campus and enjoy a meander through the stalls. There’ll also be some great club entertainment and food trucks to feed your taste buds.

Pepsi Max Movie Night (R16)

21 February, 8pm to 10pm at Haere-roa

Come down from the high of O.Week with a free movie night! Grab your friends and join us for the blockbuster comedy Blockers, with free popcorn provided by The Edge.

Lunch on the Lawn

22 February, 11am to 2pm at Haere-roa

Start the uni year off with an O.Week must-do: Lunch on The Lawn. Grab a free snag or veggie patty hot from the grill, then relax under the sun with some live music. And if you’re keen, try your hand at one of our lawn games.

Clubs Day

23–24 February, 11am to 2pm at C-Block Lawn

Dive into the real social scene here at UC: Clubs. There’s something for everyone with around 160 different clubs and societies to choose from, including sports, social, arts and academic.

Joining up is a great way to meet new people, pick up a hobby, gain academic support, or get stuck into life on and off campus.

Want to do a bit of research before you come along? Check out our online database.

Summer Starter Expo

25 February, 10am to 2pm at Haere-roa

Get yourself along to Summer Starter to chill out, focus on your wellbeing and do a little ‘life admin’. There’ll be cute fluffy animals, wellness stalls, freebies and activities to keep you busy.

QCanterbury Welcome BBQ

26 February, 4pm to 7pm at the Haere-roa Ampitheatre

Join UC student Club QCanterbury for a tasty free BBQ. The group’s primary mandate is to be a safe and welcoming social place for the sexuality and gender diverse community to meet.

Where Canterbury students share their experiences.

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