Just imagine that there is suddenly nothing from your favourite city centre. There is no your favourite cafe, where you meet with friends. There is no cinema. There is no your office. Your lively, beautiful city changes into many little villages around. Sad story? This is what happened to Christchurch.
The earthquake happened in February 2011 and damaged New Zealand’s second-largest city, killing 185 people in one of the nation’s deadliest peacetime disasters.
From the 3000 buildings in the city centre, almost half got a yellow and red sticker, which meant restrict access because of the safety problems. More than 100 were totally demolished already in May 2012, many after. A Central City Red Zone was established on the day of the earthquake as a public exclusion zone and last cordons were removed only half a year ago! The city centre still looks like a ghosts town. Many empty buildings, many broken glasses. – But how did it exactly happened? – Hanna was looking around and asking. Another not easy topic. How to explain an earthquake to the 4-year-old?
There are some economists, who estimated that it will take 50 to 100 years for New Zealand to recover. But it was great to hear some human stories of the ordinary citizens, who initiated rescues and cleaning up the city. There were fund rising and support efforts throughout the whole country. – People were for few weeks really, really close – told us a friend. Even if not that many (only in compare to other natural disasters in the world!) died, the lot of the country is huge. Business and just every day life of Christchurch died too. People stopped coming to the centre, life of the city moved outside. How many years will take to bring this back? Nobody knows.
But the soul of the city is still there! Even if the symbol of the city (and a place strongly visited by tourists): the Cathedral, was destroyed, in 2013 they opened so called Cardboard Cathedral, just few minutes away from the place, where the old one was. The Cardboard Cathedral was designed by architect Shigeru Ban and is the transitional pro-cathedral, which gives hope and good, community feeling. Voluntary people are making duties there, talking to visitors about what had happened and collecting money. The cathedral is constructed out of cardboard tubes, timber and steel, the roof is polycardbon and is held up by shipping containers.
Those containers were also used to build a new city centre with little shops and cafes. Very lively and very special place. What a city architecture idea!
Christchurch, even with a big, painful wound, has now a chance to create something very special. With its people it must be possible.
And to some of the places in New Zealand we could have gone easier together with NewZealand.com.
Our first book is out!
We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »
Super, że mówicie o tym miejscu. Przed przyjazdem do Nowej Zelandii, wielu napotkanych podróżników mówiło mi “jedz do Christchurch, to najprzyjemniejsze miasto w Nowej Zelandii, tętniące życiem, studenckie”. Nie wiedzieli o trzęsieniu ziemi, które nawiedziło miasto od czasu ich ostatniej wizyty. Nie wiem jak Wy, ale ja po Christchurch chodziłam z łzami w oczach…
Dokładnie tak! Z łzami. Straszne rzeczy.
My tam byliśmy 3 tygodnie po trzęsieniu, poznaliśmy rodziny ofiar…Kiwusi to naród, który ma bardzo poukładane w głowie. Oni wiedzą, że trzeba żyć dalej i konsekwentnie to realizują. Ale miasta szkoda, było bardzo ładne. W 1931 trzęsienie nawiedziło rejon Hawke’s Bay,niszcząc kompletnie Napier. Odbudowano to miasto w popularnym wówczas stylu art deco i od tego czasu co roku odbywa się tam cudny festiwal Art Deco, całe miasto przebiera się w stroje z epoki, na ulice wyjeżdżają setki zabytkowych samochodów, tańczy się na ulicach charlestona… :) Niesamowite przeżycie. Można się od nich nauczyć fajnego podejścia do życia.
To prawda! Bardzo pięknie, ale też sensownie, o tym wszystkim nam opowiadali.
No… I didn’t know.
I had a penpal in Christchurch many years ago. Her name was Josie.
As soon as I read this, I looked on Google for the list of deceased people. She’s not on the list but… how many young people died during this earthquake??? So many… it’s really sad.
Really really sad. And feel-able after some many years!