Christchurch – the city of art and destruction

Buildings falling to pieces.
Construction site after construction site.
Little pockets of pop up life.
Art and colour amongst the grey.
A city attempting to rebuild itself.

This is Christchurch.

The River Avon, Christchurch

The River Avon, Christchurch

I had the pleasure of visiting the proud Canterbury town of Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand late last year. I visited prior to the earthquakes that caused a lot of destruction to Kaikoura and surrounding regions. I had managed a few day trips out to Kaikoura and Akaroa, before checking out the local city of Christchurch itself.

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral

Christchurch Cardboard Cathedral

Inside the Cardboard Cathedral

Inside the Cardboard Cathedral

Christchurch city is a hard place to describe. I’d never visited prior to the 2010-11 earthquakes that caused so much destruction. I could see aspects all around that reminded me of Canterbury in England, the architecture, the River Avon, the green pastures. Yet, sadness grew around me, the lump in my throat got stuck as I wandered around the city.

185 white chairs pay tribute to earthquake victims

185 white chairs pay tribute to victims of the February 2011 earthquake

It was a grey day, which didn’t help.

Christchurch Cathedral - possibly the hardest building to see

Christchurch Cathedral – possibly the hardest building to see

There was so many buildings crumbling at the seams. So many areas cordoned off form the public. So many construction sites that didn’t seem to be making progress.

Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch Cathedral

Christchurch building sites

Christchurch building sites

Christchurch building sites

Christchurch building sites

Christchurch building sites

Christchurch building sites

Christchurch destruction

Christchurch destruction

Christchurch destruction

Christchurch destruction

Then there were the pocket of life. Pockets of colour.

New Regent Street, Christchurch

New Regent Street, Christchurch

Pop up markets bringing people back into the city. Allowing retailers and cafes to get started again.

Christchurch pop up Re:START

Christchurch pop up Re:START

Christchurch pop up

Christchurch pop up

Christchurch tram

Christchurch tram

Art installations, bringing hope and creativity to the city. Neil Dawson’s Chalice stands strong beside the crumbling Christchurch Cathedral that meant so much to the city. Likewise his Fanfare sculpture sits on the edge of the city, welcoming visitors with all it’s pinwheels.

Chalice, next to the Cathedral

Chalice, next to the Cathedral

Neil Dawson's Fanfare

Neil Dawson’s Fanfare

Art in the Re:START pop up

Art in the Re:START pop up

Art in the Re:START pop up

Art in the Re:START pop up

Little sculptures around the city

Little sculptures around the city

Art in Christchurch

Art in Christchurch

Art in Christchurch

Art in Christchurch

Art in Christchurch

Art in Christchurch

Christchurch was an emotional visit. I feel for the locals that have stayed and helped rebuild and make a go of things again. Talking to the locals really helped put things in perspective. Yes, Auckland has its own concerns, but compared to what the Canterbury region has to deal with, it seems hard to compare.

'Inner Struggle' sculpture in Christchurch

‘Inner Struggle’ sculpture in Christchurch

I always knew this blog post would be difficult to write. Between the emotional side it brought out of me and other very difficult events late last year, this post has been delayed for some time. Thanks for reading, next week I’ll share a post about my favourite part of Christchurch, so stay tuned for some positive vibes!

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