April 17, 2011
The Turn of the Year
A favourite walk beside the Avon in the centre of Christchurch; the horse chestnut leaves turning to butter and caramel.
But the serenity is an illusion. Turn and glance across the river at the unkempt municipal lawns and flower beds; at Captain Scott's empty pedestal; at the boarded-up hotel windows and the wire security fencing...
It is being reduced, allowing us access to the margins of the
City centre. But last night a 5.3 magnitude aftershock rattled the region and new vulnerability surfaces...
Complicating existing damage, hastening demise.
Guard posts around the cordon are housed in Korean relief tents, this one marking The Bridge of Remembrance.The monumental arch appears strong and undamaged. While I was photographing this afternoon, I stepped aside for a stream of police officers: they, laughing, bantering with me and my camera, running through the rain to scramble onto a waiting bus. "You look like you are on an outing to the beach," I laughed. "We are," replied tail-end Charlie wryly. Yes: to a new round of liquefaction and broken water mains and despair.
The city's skyline is dominated by the Hotel Grand Chancellor, the stricken building, which so threatened rescue workers immediately following the February earthquake. This photo does not show its sickening lean, "Like it's had a stroke," says Bryony. Her school, Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, sits at the foot and to the left of the hexagonal Westpac building to the left of the photo.
Horse chestnut, Buckeye Aesculus hippocastanum