We Flew to Christchurch from Auckland
We made our way to Christchurch the city of churches only a one hour and twenty minute flight from Auckland. I have cousins living here, who despite our best efforts and miscommunication we didn’t see. Maybe next time x
A city destroyed but not the spirit
Christchurch is a city that was destroyed by an earthquake 4 years ago, killing 185 souls. Tuesday the 22nd of February 2011, a magnitude of 6.3 struck at 12.51 pm. The damage to buildings and infrastructure was significant and what is left, we saw with our own eyes. I can still not talk about it without tearing up, ridiculous really. I read that there was so much damage as a quake on September the 4th in 2011 had already weakened buildings.
Liz McDonald and Marta Steeman reported in the paper that, More than 100 million a week is being spent in Christchurch as the post quake rebuild reaches its peak. 33,000 construction sector workers are on the job as the fifth anniversary of the September quake approaches.
There are still buildings waiting to be torn down that are unsafe, any vacant land from where once a building stood, has been turned into a car park by Wilsons Parking. So they must be making loads of money, and I guess there is a need as the city car park I believe is also condemned. So many buildings are yet to be torn down.
Buildings that stand in the hope of being restored are barricaded, have struts to prop up walls, covered in construction paraphernalia. A significant church which was one of many churches damaged or destroyed, what are the flock to do, no where to pray, their beloved church has been destroyed. Fear not these brilliant Kiwis they built a cardboard one instead.
City centre shopping district Restart Mall
The City centre shopping district destroyed, fear not we will build a city with sea containers and call it Restart Mall. We had breakfast here a few mornings in one of the many cafe’s and pop up shops. Brave residents putting their lives back together. One retailer telling me that the following weekend, they were after four years finally able to move back into their home.
We visit an exhibition called Quake City, here you watched a DVD of survivors telling their story, tears are rolling down my cheeks. The city banded together searching for survivors, rescue crews frantically digging out those trapped. Families fearing for the worst trying to find each other.
A particularly harrowing story of a primary school where one side of the school is against a cliff face, this is where the youngest had their classrooms. The cliff fell down and amazingly those children made it out safe thanks to the teachers and their bravery. A story of a young woman trapped in a building in the city, surrounded in darkness, rescuers find her, release her, a wall trapping her hand. The wall is lifted and her fingers fall off.
There lays two rows of sea containers filled with sand along stretches of the coast to protect citizens from falling rocks, there are streets still blocked that are unsafe to return to. We abandoned the idea of going on the red zone bus tour (taking you to the heart of some of the devastation), we had seen enough and felt it was an intrusion on these peoples lives. We learnt so much from the Quake City centre that it is well worth the visit. You learn about the liquefaction, the damage to the infrastructure and how the city coped without toilets amongst many other things.
But what we did do was eat and drink and found the best hospitality, people did everything they could for you. No booking and a table for six, no problem. A bar that was pretty awesome called the Engineers.
A Mexican restaurant that was very authentic.
A Japanese restaurant that made a special spot just for us, people I think thought we were pretty special or precious depending on how you look at it. As we were positioned with heavy beaded curtains on either side or our area, very private, do not disturb thank you.
Next I will show you the most magnificent park and hot house
Have a great week