Our first Red Cross shop

The first Red Cross Shop was inaugurated on 1 June 1915 in Cathedral Square, Christchurch next to the General Post Office. By April 1916, more than £4,450 ($591,196.68, 2014 inflation) had been raised for the Red Cross Fund for the Sick and Wounded.

The Red Cross shop sold second-hand goods, baking and locally-made clothes to raise money for the sick and wounded fund. There were even live chickens sold at the shop, with one patron commenting the shop was as good as a museum.

Other shops were set-up around the country depending on demand. In Nelson, the Red Cross shop was called the Helping Hand shop, which raised £5,380 ($535,316.71, 2014 inflation) for Red Cross. The shops were large fund-raisers for the regions and depended on volunteers' time and contributions.

The shop in Cathedral Square was closed in January 1919 following the end of World War One. During this time the shop raised £19,667 ($1,960,160.68, 2014 inflation).

New Zealand Red Cross now has 53 retail shops around the country. Just like 100 years ago, we rely on the community to donate, and buy, clothes and second-hand goods, with every dollar raised helping New Zealand Red Cross. Find out how you can help out Red Cross shops here.

Feature photo: Cathedral Square, Christchurch, including Post Office. Smith, Sydney Charles, 1888-1972: Photographs of New Zealand. Ref: 1/2-047406-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23222722