When I first landed in Christchurch, I heard people talk of its days as “The Peoples’ Republic of Christchurch.” Sure, all the local electorate MPs were Labour and there was a tradition of state housing and such. But I never felt like Christchurch was the sort of town you’d give such a name. It has a certain stuffiness and insularity that makes the PRoC thing make less sense to this immigrant. And, if JG Bartholomew’s A Literary & Historical Atlas of Africa and Australasia (1913) is to be believed, the same things were true before the Great War as are true today, with one date change: (click to embiggen)

Swap out 2010/2011 on the quake date and it’s the same description you’d see today.