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Christchurch "Quake City"

The City still struggling to recover

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My original plan included a couple of extra days in Christchurch (often described as "the most English City outside England") so I could visit the Antarctic Centre at the airport and go whale watching from Kaikoura up the coast. However Christchurch was hit by a 7.1 earthquake in November 2010 followed by a 6.3 aftershock in February 2011 and when I arrived and saw how devastated the city still was I knew the focus of this entry was going to be very different.

It was the city centre and especially the older stone buildings that bore the brunt of the quake and 2 years on most of them have been or are in the process of being demolished, replaced by wasteland car parks while the authorities decide what to replace them with. Much of the city centre is cordoned off "red zone" still considered too dangerous for the public to enter with scaffolding, traffic cones, cranes and men in hi-vis bibs with safety hats everywhere.

Typical street in Christchurch City Centre (the Police HQ is on the left)

Typical street in Christchurch City Centre (the Police HQ is on the left)


Typical street in Christchurch City Centre (the Public Library is on the right)

Typical street in Christchurch City Centre (the Public Library is on the right)


Damaged Church beside the River Avon in Christchurch

Damaged Church beside the River Avon in Christchurch


Fenced off Shopping Centre in the centre of Christchurch

Fenced off Shopping Centre in the centre of Christchurch


Notice on a condemned building

Notice on a condemned building

The hub of the city was Cathedral Square but it remains out of bounds apart from a recently opened viewing area. The Cathedral's 206 feet (63 metre) spire was one of the headline casualties of the quake and they are currently building a transitional "cardboard" cathedral to provide a temporary place of worship with an expected lifespan of about 20 years.

Cathedral Square is still out-of-bounds to traffic

Cathedral Square is still out-of-bounds to traffic


Christchurch's Cathedral Square, the scaffolding on the right is the only evidence left of the famous spire

Christchurch's Cathedral Square, the scaffolding on the right is the only evidence left of the famous spire


The transitional cardboard cathedral under construction

The transitional cardboard cathedral under construction


Model of the proposed cardboard transitional cathedral in Quake City - the Christchurch Earthquake Experience

Model of the proposed cardboard transitional cathedral in Quake City - the Christchurch Earthquake Experience

Christchurch is New Zealand's 2nd largest city but after the earthquakes there is still very little life in the city centre, I was there for 4 nights and finding shops, somewhere to eat or drink was almost impossible. Also with all the construction workers in town the only accommodation available was in hostel dormitories with very basic amenities even by hostel standards. In an attempt to bring life back to the city centre a shopping mall out of shipping containers has been constructed in what had once been one of the main shopping streets. The brightly coloured Re:START Mall on Cashel Street has now become a tourist attraction in its own right but it is still very quiet for a city the size of Christchurch.

The Re:START Mall on Cashel Street

The Re:START Mall on Cashel Street


Shops at the Re:START Mall

Shops at the Re:START Mall


More shops at the Re:START Mall

More shops at the Re:START Mall


Quake City - the Christchurch Earthquakes Experience in the Re:START Mall

Quake City - the Christchurch Earthquakes Experience in the Re:START Mall

Included in the Re:START Mall is Quake City, described as "the Christchurch Earthquakes Experience". It includes iconic objects that fell during the quakes such as the cathedral bell and spire as well as recalling many personal stories and the actions of the rescue teams from around the world. It also explains what liquefaction is which is what happened in the suburbs while buildings were collapsing in the city centre.

Bottles on display in Quake City of a one-off beer (called After Shock) created by a local brewery following the 7.1 quake in November 2010

Bottles on display in Quake City of a one-off beer (called After Shock) created by a local brewery following the 7.1 quake in November 2010


The fallen spire from the Cathedral on display in Quake City

The fallen spire from the Cathedral on display in Quake City


Photo on display in Quake City showing the aftermath of liquefaction in the suburbs

Photo on display in Quake City showing the aftermath of liquefaction in the suburbs


The cathedral bell and other artifacts in Quake City

The cathedral bell and other artifacts in Quake City


Speakers Chair from the Council Chamber on display in Quake City

Speakers Chair from the Council Chamber on display in Quake City

Posted by FrancisRTW 03:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged churches buildings museums markets beer city solo hostelling earthquakes natural_disasters nz_south_island

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