Do you remember the headlines a few years back of the earthquakes that hit NewZealand, especially Christchurch ?
I remember them but don’t remember the gravity of it all. I knew there had been some earthquakes and that some damage had been done but that was about it. It wasn’t until i got here and toured the area until i really understood what had happened.
I left Nelson on the bus and travelled to Blenheim to join the Kiwirail Coastal Pacific service to Christchurch. I didn’t stop in Blenheim even though it was a well known wine making region as it was a very flat area with not too much to see. OK to tour the vineyards and maybe some beaches but not much else.
As the name suggests the coastal service runs down the east coast towards Christchurch and only runs from October to April each year. The road would also be a good route as sometimes the road and rail lines are so close together you get the same view of the ocean.
Scene from one of the train stops –
Always mountain backdrops in New Zealand –
When the train arrived at Christchurch i made my way to my hostel and noticed the huge park we drove around. Hagley Park is apparantly one of the largest urban parks in the world, it contains the Botanic gardens, a golf course, cricket ground, various sports courts, a museum and college, various walking and cycling tracks, the list goes on.
I found my accomodation and immediately went for a walk around town. It was then i realised how much damage was done to this city in 2010 and 2011. There were many empty spaces where buildings once stood, many buildings still fenced off as they await their fate, temporary portakabins which housed shops, cafes and even banks stood as emergencey shopping centers.
Empty spaces were as frequent as every other block –
Empty office block probably waiting for an insurance decision to be made –
The design and arts college that they were trying to save but it is probably beyond repair, sadly never made earthquake proof during its construction
The building right next door was virtually unharmed being made earthquake proof some time before –
Churches and Cathederals stand partly collapsed waiting for insurance decisions and the public to decide their outcome.
The picture in the bottom right of this photo shows how the church once looked –
Soon after the earthquake business had to go on so they set up shops using containers and small shopping centers sprung up.
Even the banks moved in –
One nice thing that seems to have happened is that the people of Christchurch are being asked what they want in their new city. They have said that they don’t want a park within a city, but a city within a park.
The original estimates were that it would take 10 years to rebuild the city but they have now revised that to 20 or more.