At the beginning of August I was briefly in Christchurch to visit my family. It was the first time I had visited since the big earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. As well as these two major quakes, there have been over 11,000 tremors recorded. These include everything from barely perceptible movements to big frightening quakes. I took two long walks with my camera through the central business district on one of my days there.
Each photo may be enlarged just by clicking on it. I hope you do this. There is simply so much to see.
In the photo above “people people people!!! in the city” you can see the words ‘Gap Filler’. This refers to a project started by Coralie Winn to inhabit abandoned spaces with quirky, eye-catching installations and temporary creative projects. Certainly examples caught my eye and reminded me of the importance of art in society, including as a vehicle for healing.
The photo below shows a house teetering on the edge of a cliff in the suburb of Redcliffs. I didn’t have time to see the suburbs except for a quick trip out to Sumner (a suburb by the sea). I used to rather fancy living in one of the houses up on Redcliffs. They enjoyed extensive views FOREVER encompassing the Southern Alps, the Kaikoura Mountains, and the sea. Now they lean at broken angles and gape vacantly, their insides exposed.
Christchurch has made it into Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities to visit in 2013. Siobhan Leathley writes in ‘The New Zealand Herald’, “The city, described by Lonely Planet as “rising from the rubble with a breath-taking mix of spirit, determination and flair”, is ranked 6th on the travel publisher’s Top 10 Cities for 2013.” (22nd October 2012).
I had a some trepidation about visiting Christchurch. Having lived and studied there for four years long ago, I was afraid to see it post-earthquakes. Two and a half years after the most devastating quake, so much has been cleared away. Actually, I loved being there. I plan to visit more often now and will watch with continued fascination to see the New Christchurch unfold.
A quote from “A City Recovers: Christchurch Two Years after the Quakes” published by The Press in 2013 (ISBN 978-1-77553-321-4) page 300 “In an interview in 2011, architect and urban planner David Sim was asked whether Christchurch could be reborn and rebuilt from a blank canvas. No such thing existed, the plain-speaking Scot replied. A city is not simply composed of buildings. It’s a composite landscape of history, human experience and aspirations that even natural or man-made disasters cannot eradicate. What we make of it is up to us.”
“Nowhere is this more true than in the arts, where human emotions, beliefs and imagination are made tangible. In small and large ways, individually and collectively, Christchurch’s arts community reacted to an unfolding human disaster with innovation and resilience, proving beyond any doubt that the arts have played – and will continue to play – a pivotal role in the city’s recovery.”
See also Christchurch Revisited – a post written in April 2014 after visiting Christchurch again.
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