23 Aug 2017
Art History teacher Robyn Peers was thrilled when she was asked to contribute a chapter to a book – Colonial Gothic to Maori Renaissance: Essays in memory of Jonathan Mane-Wheoki – reflecting the broad and varied scope of the interests of revered art historian, academic and curator Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943–2014).
“Jonathan was my lecturer and mentor at university, from undergraduate through to MA. He was inspiring, charismatic, caring, and always encouraged people to push beyond their expectations. He was generous with his knowledge and with his time, very important in Art History circles and very significant for the development of Art History throughout New Zealand. He was a lovely man.”
Robyn’s essay “Bene Tradita, Bene Servanda | Good Traditions, Well Maintained: The Architecture of Christ’s College” traces the architectural history of the school and is, according to Robyn, a “brief history of College as is told by its buildings.” It begins in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, before going back to College’s foundation and explaining how the buildings have been altered and adapted over the years to meet changing educational needs.
Robyn says she has always had a passion for Gothic Revival architecture and many of Christchurch’s most significant buildings were built in that style. “I still get a kick out of seeing these wonderful College buildings every time I come through the gate and feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work in such an environment, surrounded by the history of Christchurch and the work of so many of our most important architects.”