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:
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.