Four years ago saw the devastating earthquake hit Christchurch. With mass destruction in the city centre and the tragic loss of 185 lives this was the first time we had been across the hill to see the damage.
It was a sobering experience – with the majority of the buildings having been pulled down there was an eerie feeling in the air.
It took a while to get our bearings as usually the various buildings on the skyline determined where you were and where you wanted to go. Now the skyline is just dotted with cranes. Stephen commented you could make a great movie – “Dawn of the Cranes” or the “Cranes of War” – one of those war of the world movies – it looks like we’re about to be invaded.
Whilst it was very eerie it was also an air of excitement. If you can look past the devastation and tragic loss of life this is also a huge opportunity, a chance to rebuild, to reinvent, to return Christchurch to her former glory. Sorry but we didn’t particularly like Christchurch pre earthquake. She had outgrown her beauty, the new buildings didn’t do her any justice and she seemed to have lost her garden city identity. This is a chance to change that – give her back her identity but make it bigger and better – exciting times.
This is where the stirred comes in. Stirred in the respect that it has awakened people’s creative juices. Walking around there was a feeling of youthfulness – and we don’t mean lots of young people but more it had a feeling of up and coming, of great things to come, of a good life ahead – an exciting life. There was vibrancy – the artistic side of Christchurch is coming to the fore. The art work on the buildings that remained, the temporary art work that had been erected to help cover some of the devastation. It was innovative, it was exciting.
We wandered around the container mall – yes a mall made from shipping containers. Painted up nice and bright and vibrant. A great meeting place with lots of little cafes and eateries, plenty of seating – an area to congregate, talk ideas and be inspired.
Christchurch is now a blank canvas just waiting for the paint to be applied. There are some exciting times ahead and we can’t wait to see the rebirth of this beautiful city.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and exploring and sharing their discoveries.