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.
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 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.
It was a grey day, which didn’t help.
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.
Then there were the pocket of life. Pockets of colour.
Pop up markets bringing people back into the city. Allowing retailers and cafes to get started again.
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.
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.
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!