In the 19th century grants in aid was the standard model for building and maintaining streets. Local governments would meet half the cost of the required works if residents stumped up the rest. The process is highlighted in this 1858 letter seeking government aid to metal parts of Kilmore Street, Christchurch, before the impending winter.
Christchurch March 10th 1858
To the Provincial Secretary
We, the Inhabitants having formed parts of the road in Kilmore Street, we now earnestly crave assistance from Government to enable us to metal the same before the coming Winter as the same Street is of importance to the Inhabitants of that part of Christchurch. And if the same be neglected [the street] will become dilapidated and impassable [?] I would be willing to metal the same for the sum of £20, hoping this will meet your immediate consideration.
Your most obedient and humble servant
(approved 13 March 1858)
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Christchurch Regional Office, Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: CH287 CP16 ICPS, 813/1858
Permission of Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (Christchurch Regional Office) must be obtained before any re-use of this material.