My Favourite Window

February 22, 2014

Three Years On

Is it really three years since our world was torn apart?

Since Christchurch, our provincial city, was shaken and shattered on 22 February 2011? 

Three years it is.
If you follow this blog, and others, like More Canterbury Tales, you will know that as well as loss, despair, and bureaucratic struggle there has also been a shift in social values and a remarkable release of creative energy.

These days as I hang out in the Pallet Pavilion, getting a taste for transitional architecture and listening to the Unlimited School Jazz band, I can't believe that I can feel so happy about the city as it re-invents itself. 

There is lateral thinking and wit everywhere...

whether it's the suggestion that the deserted Town Hall 
might not be... quite,

or that there's a bargain to be had.

The Christchurch Art Gallery brings its art out onto the street with exhibitions like 
Faces from the Collection.

Gap Filler projects go from strength to strength with installations like Gap Golf. Gap Golf takes the player on a reflective tour of demolition sites. Fairway to Heaven recalls the 
Crown Plaza Hotel built in the 1980s as the Park Royal, distinctive for its stepped silhouette. 

This huge lounge suite on the corner of Colombo and Gloucester Streets is part 
of a Gap Filler/Greening the Rubble collaboration:
Sound Garden.

Greenery and flowers soften harsh reality.

And behind all this are individuals, groups and organisations, working together with innovative and unfamiliar models for business. Sustainability and a city for the people are strong themes in the recovery. Initiatives such as the All Right campaign and Healthy Christchurch are specifically aimed at building emotional resilience and encouraging people around greater Canterbury to take care of themselves and each other.

This collection of thoughts is posted in the Re:Start shopping precinct. 

For everyone who ever donates to disaster relief and wonders whether it does any good, I can vouch that Red Cross funds have directly found their way to our family. Thank you! I understand that the Red Cross fund, which so many people around the world donated to, has been managed for long term re-settlement aid and building community resilience. Within months of the February 2011 earthquake a one-off travel grant was offered to all families who incurred extra travel costs when their children's schools were moved to different sites. Last year a Red Cross grant also allowed Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti to set up a Breakfast Club. The school decided to run it with the intention of fostering self-reliance, co-operation and emotional resilience. 

Here's Kitty with her drama teacher, Marlene, at the last Breakfast Club of 2013

And in case you were wondering... the work still goes on. This house in the suburbs is being re-piled. It is only a single level building but raised for work to progress underneath. This method for raising domestic dwellings has been developed since the earthquakes.

I've collected together some of the groups and organisations that have sprung up or adjusted their roles in the last few years, and given their links below. They have certainly contributed to the vibe and exhilaration that makes me happy to visit Christchurch.

Jeneane in the Pallet Pavilion: Photo by Kitty Jamison
Handy Andy and Jeneane on the astro turf sofa: Photo by Kitty Jamison
The Crown Plaza YouTube link is to a time lapse demolition video by Julian Vares.


Gill said...

Thanks for this blog entry today. Your photos as always are great.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

That's okay Gill. It's a special day for us all isn't it.

Cro Magnon said...

It's heartening to know that some good has come from your disaster. I hope someone in Syria reads your page!

Susan Heather said...

Thank you for an interesting post. It is good to know that funds are getting through and being used wisely.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

Cro Magnon: I've had the same thoughts...

Susan Heather: Thank you. It has certainly been humbling being on the receiving end.

Steve said...

Looks to me as if the Christchurch spirit has been shaken, stirred but not defeated.

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...


The Sagittarian said...

The gapfillers have been amazing haven't they? For me the real sign of progress has been the re-opening of The Bog (bar)! :-)

Keith Riach said...

Today the end of "Summer time" in New Zealand and I have come back to the 'secret garden' and find as always that what ever the weather that spring is in the air in Christchurch

Lady Mondegreen's Secret Garden said...

The Sagittarian: Good to have your old watering hole up and running again.

Keith Riach: Keith, how good to find your comment here. I read it after five days of very autumnal rain!