New Zealand 2015

Christchurch, 18-20 April


  Driving south along highway 1, we detoured to look at Waikuku Beach. The high seas of the previous few days had left driftwood on the beach. †
  We found central Christchurch depressing, as we had not realised the extent of the destruction from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. This was a typical scene. *
  Some of the more historic buildings were propped up, awaiting repairs, but there did not seem to be much building going on. †
  This parking station near our hotel had its ramps collapse, but repairs had not even started, apparently due (at least in part) to a dispute between the Christchurch City Council and its insurers. All the open land had been covered in two or three storey buildings before the earthquakes. *
  The Christ Church Cathedral was very badly damaged, but repair or reconstruction was on hold as the Anglicans squabbled about whether the rebuild should be a modern design or a stronger reconstruction. *
  This afternoon view shows the extent of the destruction. *
  Getting the tourist tram running seems to have been a high priority than rebuilding. Here is the tram going through New Regent Street, a short street of two-storey Art Deco buildings that somehow escaped the earthquakes without much damage. *
  Apart from New Regent Street, about the only commerce in the centre is the Re:START mall, with shops and cafes built into transport containers. It is a bit sad. *
  Christchurch is now in the almost unique position of being a functioning city without a Central Business District. *
  There are not many new buildings going up, but they have very solid strengthening. †
  To get out of Christchurch, we drove to Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula. This is the view at the top of the hill on the road to Akaroa. *
  Akaroa streetscape. †
  There were geese on the water of the bay. †
  But there was still the nonsense of "love locks". †
  In the settlement of Little River, between Akaroa and Christchurch, there was a motel built into silos. *
  The next morning, there was a spectacular sunrise. *
  The next day, we went to the Christchurch Museum, which was having a display of NZ tourism posters. *
  Then we went on to the art gallery at the YMCA, which had an exhibition on graffiti artists. *
  In association with the YMCA exhibition, a number of building walls had been decorated. *
  This was on the side wall of a strip club and brothel that was built shortly before the earthquakes and survived. *
  We went to the "cardboard cathedral": the interim Christ Church Cathedral, built on the site of a parish church that collapsed. *
  The installation 185 white seats, commemorating the 185 deaths from the earthquakes, 115 of them in one badly constructed building nearby. *

That's the end of our New Zealand journey, but you can see some notes on our hotels.


Copyright © 2015 by *Lynn Booth or †Nick Booth. Please contact us if you wish to use a photo.