Join us on Saturday evenings this summer to connect with others over tasty food and share in the cultures and cuisines of communities that call Ōtautahi home.
2024 marks the 80th anniversary of Risingholme Community Centre, trading as Risingholme Learning. The Risingholme Community Centre opened in 1944 as one of the first community centres in the country, and quickly became known for the quality and diversity of its programmes. For 80 years we’ve been offering adult education courses that build a sense of community and enrich people’s lives. To celebrate this big milestone, join us for a series of events throughout the year and join our growing community of learners and supporters.
In keeping with this legacy of community service and connection, our first event, run in partnership with the team at Share Kai and Kōrero, is a series pop-up neighbourhood food nights where you can expand your culinary experiences, connect with others, and get a taste of the diverse cultures that call Aotearoa home. To learn more about the growing Share Kai initiative, click here.
All the food available for purchase on the night is prepared by the Share Kai Cooks Collective who are passionate cooks from former refugee and ethnic communities. They make traditional and beloved food not often seen in local hospitality spaces (think Eritrean coffee and injera, Nepali chai and momos, Afghan donuts and qabili palau…). All food is under $20 and drinks are under $5. Takeaways are welcome, just BYO container.
Not only is tasty, healthy kai on the menu, there’s also the invitation to have a chat with others around the table with nudges like – “What’s your go to comfort food?”, “Who taught you to cook?” and “What’s your most memorable meal?” to get the conversation flowing. So bring your friends, whānau, or just yourself and join us on the lush grounds of Risingholme Park over four Saturdays in Summer.
Click the links below for full event details. Note all events run 6-8pm.
For the latest event updates and to stay in the loop about our upcoming 80th events, see our social media channels or subscribe to our newsletter.
A place to gather, a place to eat: food culture at Risingholme
Risingholme park and homestead has a long history as a place for bringing the community together. From 1853-1944 the homestead was a private residence for several prominent local families, such as the Reeves and Anderson families who were keen entertainers. Throughout their time at the homestead they often hosted garden parties, fairs, and fundraising events for the local community. Risingholme was an important place of connection for the neighbourhood with one newspaper describing it as “a great social centre”.
Garden party between 1905-1911, Risingholme Community Centre Archives
The legacy of Risingholme as a place for the community to gather continues today. In 1943 it was gifted to the people of Christchurch by local philanthropist J.R Mckenzie and officially opened as Risingholme Community Centre. For the past 80 years it’s held adult education classes, was home to a Play Centre, and the beautiful historic park has played host to many community events.
The natural environment also had a big influence on the food culture that developed around Risingholme. The Ōpāwaho (Heathcote) River which borders Risingholme was highly regarded as mahinga kai for local iwi. The river was home to flounder, eel, and whitebait while the surrounding swampland provided gathering grounds for water fowl and forest birds.
When the home was a private residence, the lush grounds of Risingholme were once home to a large orchard and kitchen garden which enabled its residents to grow their own food in true garden-to-table style! Plantings included asparagus beds, blackcurrants, a large cherry orchard, and a variety of fruit trees like plum and apple. The Anderson family, who lived at Risingholme from 1918-1943, also kept chickens and cows which provided their family with daily eggs and milk.
Today, few traces remain of the once expansive orchard and vege gardens, however, the park is still a forager’s delight with wild cherry, peach, and quince trees scattered around the grounds.