The Archives of the Diocese of Christchurch were formerly housed in a tower of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. After the 2011 earthquake they were transferred to Cathedral House (Washington Way).
The Archives consist of a varied collection of documents relating to property, personnel and events.
There is also a collection of close to 4000 photographs, as well as a number of other items. All inquiries should be directed to the Archivist. Public access to the archives is not currently possible because of lack of space.
The Photo Project
A small group of volunteers from time to time carries out project work and research in the diocesan archives. The major project they have carried out is to catalogue and safely store the photo collection. The catalogue consists of a series of folders with copies of all photos arranged under different classifications. The next step in this project is to distribute these folders to interested people in the various parishes throughout the diocese so some of the people, places and events in them can be correctly identified. This would involve showing the photos to older parishioners and others who may be able to identify them, recording the results and returning them to the archives. If you are interested in this work, please contact Michael Hanrahan or Merle Conaghan.
Index of Baptisms
The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch stretches from the Conway River in North Canterbury to the Waitaki River in South Canterbury, as well as Westland and the Chatham Islands.
Over 6 years from 1998 many people gave their time and energy in the work of transferring the Baptisms from the Parish Registers to a computer data base for the entire Diocese.
Permission has been given for the release of an Index on CD of the baptismal records of the earlier parishes of the Diocese.
If you are a family researcher of family history, this is a valuable finding aid. The alphabetical index includes the individual ID code, surname, christian name, date of baptism and parish.
Further information for a specific record is available by purchasing a copy of a Certificate of Baptism. This could include the birth date, mother's maiden name, residence, celebrant and sponsor's names.
The cost of the CD is $20. If people have the earlier version of the index, by trading in that index, the cost will be reduced to $10. (These prices include GST and postage). The CD is available from:
Archives - Baptism Records
Catholic Diocese of Christchurch
PO Box 4544
Diocesan Archives Group
The Christchurch Diocesan Archives Group is a very informal group of people interested in any aspect of the history of the Catholic Church in the Christchurch Diocese, under the leadership of Diocesan Archivist Father Kevin Clark. Its aim is to foster an interest in the history of the Catholic Church in the Christchurch Diocese, and to give some guidance as to the best way of keeping archival material.
The group has been operating since 2004, and has steadily grown in size, with several people living outside the diocese also having joined. An occasional newsletter is published and one or two special gatherings are held each year, usually at Cathedral House.
Some members of the archives group work on a voluntary basis, cataloguing and correctly storing material in the archives, especially the extensive collection of photographs. Other project work is underway, such as a project to obtain information about all the churches in the diocese, past and present.
The group's emphasis is on the history of the diocese as a whole, rather than on particular parishes, schools, religious orders or institutions. For that reason people from areas outside Christchurch are especially welcome to attend because of the realisation that brings to all of the scope of the diocese and the knowledge of the history of their areas that they can bring. There is no subscription to belong, but as there is a cost associated with newsletters and running events, donation is requested from those attending Archives Days.
People interested in becoming members can join by contacting Merle Conaghan, phone 03-358 8758 or email.
Since the earthquake, purposely designed archives rooms for records, storage and display of the Diocesan Archives have been built at Washington Way. In 2014 the small volunteer group commenced shelving and cataloguing the historical records of the Diocese. The material is being chronologically sorted and entered on to a data base for easier access to the records for research purposes.
The Archives will accept historical material of the Diocese including photographs.
An occasional newsletter detailing what is happening with regard to the archives is distributed free of charge to all those who have indicated they have and interest in the history of the diocese. If you would like to be on the mailing list for this newsletter, please contact Merle Conaghan. Click here to see the latest newsletter