|Demolition and bulldozers everywhere|
the second deadly earthquake which occurred in February 2011 killing 185 people, and causing widespread devastation across the city and suburbs. Many of the city's buildings, already weakened by the first earthquake, were unable to withstand a second big shake. The disaster was the second deadliest in New Zealand's history, after the Hawkes Bay earthquake of 1931 when 256 people were killed.
|What was once a thriving city centre|
|The beautiful old Theatre Royal (1907)with its facade propped up in the hope that|
it may be saved and a new theatre built behind it
When I arrived at the new temporary bus station in the centre of the city I was completely disorientated. There were no landmarks I could recognise and I felt completely lost. With the help of a charming old man, a long term resident, I eventually found my accommodation, having to walk a long and circuitous route due to blocked off Red Zone areas (too dangerous to enter).
|Christchurch Cathedral, the heart of the city. The damage is worse than it looks.|
The hotel behind it is due for demolition
|A once trendy mall off Cathedral Square now derelict and overgrown|
|Sad sign on a damaged shop|
|Poignant installation art remembering the 185 killed|
|Christ College , Christchurch|
The earthquake has taken a huge toll on the health and well being of the local residents. It is heartening, therefore, to see signs of recovery and clever morale boosting projects popping up around the city. I was deeply impressed by the resilience of so many and the thought and creativity that has gone into cheering people up in incredibly difficult times. I strolled past a big corporate event being held in a bulldozed uneven carpark. Prior to the earthquake it would, no doubt, have been held somewhere swanky and upmarket....but there is nowhere like that left. Those attending the event seemed to be enjoying themselves. I guess, for them, this is just how things are at the moment.
|Put $2 in the converted washing machine|
and dance your cares away - Christchurch
|A library for all to use outside someone's house|
|Furniture made from grass and painted daisies to brighten up the city|
|The funky and popular container mall|
|Signs of recovery - the repaired New Regent Street opened for business late April|
shocked at what I saw but also impressed by the air of positivity and the feeling that life and people are what is important, not bricks and mortar. A quote I heard at the graduation ceremony I was in Christchurch to attend sums it up well : "The best of things happen if you make the best of things that happen"