The Avice Hill Reserve in Christchurch, New Zealand

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Named after its benefactor, Avice Hill Reserve is located at 396 Memorial Avenue.

Set on 1.5 acres of public reserve, beautiful gardens and established trees surround.

The Avice Hill Crafts Centre, home to the Canterbury Potters Association and Canterbury Herb Society.

This Christchurch City Council facility is primarily used for arts and crafts tuition and as a meeting place for art and craft interest groups.

Avice Hill (1906-2001) was a founding member of the Canterbury Herb Society, and an avid supporter of the Canterbury Potters Association

Older members of the Canterbury Herb Society still speak of Avice who was a fine example of  a lady ahead of her time.  As well as having a keen interest in herbs she was also an entomologist, botanist, a keen potter and craft enthusiast.

Avice Hill  gifted her home and land to the Waimari District Council (now incorporated into Christchurch City Council), so that it would provide an art and crafts facility and herb garden for the benefit the community,  She also wanted to protect the mature trees on her property.

It is always good to hear about inspiring women who used their talents and abilities in incredible ways.  Read more about Avice’s Biography at .

Since 1989, the Christchurch City Council has managed and maintained the  Avice Hill Reserve and Arts and Craft Centre. In 2000, a decision was made to upgrade and enhance both grounds and buildings including the craft and activities rooms which was once  Avice and  her husband Frank’s home.

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For a number of years the Reserve hosted the annual Avice Hill Arts and Crafts Fair on the second Sunday of February.  It was also an opportunity for local artisans to demonstrate their crafts and introduce people to herbs.  This included items made from wood, clay and fine art. Have-a-go workshops were offered and potential members learned about art and the craft groups in Christchurch while the groups  had an opportunity to canvas for new members.

The last Avice Hill Arts and Craft Fair was held in 2016 and sadly the weather impacted on attendance.  People love to flock to outdoor events on a warm sunny day but a cold day sees a poor turnout.

The Christchurch City Council reallocated their budget and funds were no longer available to assist with the erecting of a stage and paying entertainers – musicians, dancers, mime artists – to entertain the crowd.

Most crafters attended the fair for the craft element and perhaps if the  Council might assist on a smaller scale with future events, such as marketing the event,  providing  portable toilets  and allowing vendors to sell food and drink so the Avice Hill Arts and Craft Fair can become a family day out.

In recent years, the Avice Hill Arts and Craft Fair has been a Canterbury Potters Association initiative mainly as a vehicle for their members and pottery artists to sell their artwork.  The market is known as the  Canterbury Potters Association Christmas Pottery Market and has been held in December in 2017 and 2018.  The Canterbury Herb Society has also participated in this event.  Perhaps in future years more art and craft individuals and groups might join in and the Avice Hill Arts and Craft fair might be celebrated once again.

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