Alister Cotter Business owner

Cotter’s Electrical

Listen to this story
In those days nothing got thrown out, they would repair anything, a toaster an electric razor, it wasn’t a throw-away society. I think someone worked out that a toaster in 1960 would cost you about $500 in today’s money, we had spares for everything!

Alister Cotter

Christopher Francis ‘Chris’ Cotter was a man known for his energy and foresight. He served his apprenticeship and became a registered electrician with the well-known Christchurch electrical contracting firm of Turnbull & Jones Ltd. in the early 1900s. He did part of his training in the West Coast Town of Reefton, the earliest town in New Zealand to install electric street lighting.

A few years later, around the period of the first world war (1914 – 18) Chris went into business on his own firstly working from home in lower High Street. In 1919 he formed Cotter & Co. and moved into premises at 158 High Street which was previously a men’s tailor. There he established an electrical and radio showroom with supporting service facilities.

Three of the original employees went on to serve over 40 years each with the firm.

Bob Hastie, former employee, C.F Cotter and Co.

  • Image: Cotter Family Collection
  • Image: Cotter Family Collection
  • Image: Cotter Family Collection

Building information

Cotter’s Building
156 – 158 High Street
Architect: Unknown
Date: c. 1900