by JENNY McPHEE
LYTTELTON — In 2003, the Labour Government decriminalised brothel keeping and legalised street prostitution.
Since then, Lyttelton locals have succeeded in getting brothels banned from the commercial sector of their town.

A night view of Port Lyttelton.

A Christchurch City Council bylaw originally allowed for brothels in the commercial part of the historic port town of Lyttelton.
For the local community, Lyttelton is not just the city’s port. It is their home, their family, their schools, their children and their future. They stood up for what they believed in and petitioned the Christchurch City Council to change the bylaw.
Councillors voted 4 to 1 to change the bylaw and disallow brothels in the commercial sector of Lyttelton. The councillor against the change was not so much in favour of brothels, as concerned
that they would be set up in the residential area.
The early settlers who stepped off the “Charlotte Jane” (one of the first four ships to arrive in the 1850s), women in long skirts and men in bowler hats, would have faced a similar
task to build and establish the port town as those now facing the rebuild of the town.
With the commercial sector almost destroyed by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, and other shakes since, there are many decisions to be made and there is a lot of work to be done.
Lyttelton, which is connected by ferry to Diamond Harbour and the bays, is only 10 to 15 minutes from Christchurch City via the road tunnel.
With the road tunnel closed by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, many people walked over the same bridle path used by pioneers to get home from Christchurch, passing those walking back home to Lyttelton.
One man, only a week after a stroke, helped carry a child and encouraged fellow walkers on the way. For those who popped through for a leisurely shopping afternoon and a seaview latte, it was a long walk home.
The early settlers who set off into virtually unknown waters (Captain Cook’s maps showed Banks Peninsula as an island) to an unknown land would have been proud of this generation’s
ability to stand up for the town they want.

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