Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Delivering Katrina to University - Day 3 cont…

But wait there's more…

While walking the streets of inner Christchurch Callum wanted to show us some positives. 

Around a corner we came across the container mall. 

Yes that is the two of them posing in the middle of one of the malls!

Now when he first told me about it I was thinking of some old rusty containers but no, Cantabrians have constructed a pleasant place from these and it was a buzz with some people making music and enjoying the late afternoon.

Yes these are all made from containers.
There were banks, cafes, clothing outlets and generally a good section of places to call into with the security that nothing was really going to flatten a container. while you were in there doing what was needed to be done.

And yes even there I was just part of some of the tourists wanting to take snapshots of the aftermath of the quakes. 

We walked to the museum and were able to escape the glare of the earthquakes damage by enjoying all that a museum should be. If you call into Christchurch do visit it.
I loved it and remarked that I hoped they would never turn it into a place like Te Papa in Wellington.

Back in the Wizard we drove through the peak hour traffic and I came across this. 
Now to me it looked like the remains of the Twin Towers in New York but I wondered if it was to do with Christchurch. 
It had little lights on in the buildings and was overgrowing as if it had been left to ruin.
It was up high on what looked like the bottom level of a crane. You can see the rungs of the internal ladder to give you an idea of its size.
If anyone knows what this was or its significance do let me know.

As we headed out of the city centre we saw some houses that had been “red zoned” – unfit to live in, and others that were “green zoned” 'safe'. In the midst of it all we stopped at the lights by the Methodist Pacific Island church. There it was all fenced with its steeple on the ground, brinks missing and a gaping whole. The lawns and gardens could no long be attended to. And as I watched thinking of the parishioners who could no longer worship in this building the light hanging down swung in the wind. How I inwardly wept for these people.

And then we passed the Foodstuffs Depot and the lawns were perfectly mowed and the flowers in the gardens bloomed beautifully. And in all the drought and catastrophe of Christchurch I thought here was something to support Christchurch and show the world that, they are strong and will keep going.

Dinner that night was with Callums mother and partner and I listened as he told us about the vast other areas of Christchurch that had been damaged.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Delivering Katrina to University - Day 3

Our first full day in Christchurch was one of mixed feelings. 

We met up with Katrina and Callum again and went to the University of Canterbury for Katrina to get her Student card and to have a look around the lovely campus. I noted it had lovely grass areas and plenty of trees, but alas there was a building that is still waiting to be demolished because of the earthquakes.
Christchurch was hit by two devastating earthquakes. One in September 2010 and another in February 2011.

February 22nd 2011, 12:51 pm NZDT Christchurch was rocked by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake at a depth of 5 km, which killed 185 people and injured several thousand. 

One of the main student buildings within the university campus has been closed and is to be demolished but it still stands two years later. Walking past it there was a sense of uneasiness for me as the emptiness and vacant look of the place was close at hand.

We then went into the city centre and there Callum showed us around some of the places that were damaged, destroyed or demolished because of this earth quake.

Everywhere there were fences to stop/protect us from the demolition sites.
Buildings were in a mix of total disappearance, being destroyed or boarded up like something from a movie after a human wiping pandemic. It felt like you were in a ghost town.

On the odd occasion I saw Caullum trying to work out where we were by looking for something he could use as a landmark and this from a young man who has lived here most of his life.
We could not get any closer to the famous Christchurch landmark, The Cathedral, that was severely damaged, than these pics showed.
Streets were in confusion. There were cones everywhere as permanent diversions and street closures meant that it was confusing as to where one could drive, park or walk.

Repairs to the road surface had been a continual work in progress as pot holes were filled but with the ground continuing to settle or shift its surface with the frequent after shocks one had to continually check ones step so as not to trip up.

I cannot explain fully how this all made me feel so far as to say it wasn’t long before I was fighting back tears and longing for it to all be better for Christchurch and its people.

One thing I found so hard was seeing little tour groups of people at the places Callum took us to, taking photos. I know I was too, but the reality of it hit me that Christchurch had become a tourist spot with this reason not for what it was in the past. We were capturing Christchurch’s loss as something to be gawked at.

I wasn’t going to post about this but then I realised after two years it is still “in the face” of so many who live it every day. I felt so sickened and longed to get away but these people live it day in and day out and because it is their home they are going to stay, waiting for things to be put right.

As time has passed I think we who live out of Christchurch may have forgotten them and I want to post this as a reminder that it is not over for them yet and will take years.