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Published: 08 April 2022

By Andy Ross

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The Mill is Kaiapoi

Kaiapoi is a small township in the South Island, near the city of Christchurch. 

Originally the site of a Ngai Tahu pa, a Maori fortified settlement, the area has been fortunate enough to have been recorded in watercolour in 1855 and then in a photograph in 1900, the first showing the river and pa, and the second a tall chimney and factory buildings of the Kaiapoi Woollen Manufacturing Mill. These two images are reproduced at the beginning of a series of foldouts in a small publication about the Mill, called The Mill is Kaiapoi, that reveals, in poetry and pictures, the story of the area through its many ups and downs. 

It is a charming idea, this foldout book. It has been illustrated with photos of artefacts, old documents and pictures, and pictures crreated out of the fabric made in the Mill when it still operated. It also has a CD with narration of the words and music to accompany the poetry in the book. What a fun and engaging way to relate a story like this. 

(Images courtesy of Mary Kelleher, the author of the book. If anyone has any information about Mary please let me know by email.)