Post Earthquake Christchurch & Last Stop in New Zealand
Our last stop in this beautiful country was the South Island's largest city, Christchurch. We had been told that the city was still in rebuild mode after the devastating earthquakes between 2010 and 2012 during which 185 people died and many were injured. In this two year span, over 4000 earthquakes measuring 3.0 and above on the Richter scale rocked this region causing about a third of the buildings in the CBD (central business district) to be destroyed. Some are awaiting to be demolished to this day. Edyta and I wanted to witness, not only the after effects, but the rebuilding process, for ourselves during our quick, two night stay in Christchurch.
Prior to our arrival in Christchurch, we stopped in the small town of Akaroa. This seaside town of about 550 people is located amongst the rolling hills of the Banks Peninsula and still displays its French origin in its street signs and shop names.
Ironically, we experienced a first during our final Airbnb house in New Zealand: insulation! The house was warm and no electric blankets were needed this time around.
Walking around downtown Christchurch, there was a mix of rebuilt shops, surviving buildings, structures still waiting to be torn down and empty lots. There was a slight quiet, eerie feeling due to the lack of crowds normally seen in a large city's CBD. Nonetheless, the people we did encounter were the typically friendly Kiwis we've seen throughout our NZ stay.
The Anglican Christchurch Cathedral was perhaps the most shocking as one side had a gaping hole with a collapsing roof. Despite $40M in damages being covered by insurance, another $27M is currently bring fundraised to complete the rebuild. For lunch we headed to Re:start, a funky, outdoor mall made up of shipping containers. Pretty cool concept to kick start CBD activity while the city rebuilds.
We were sad to see our NZ visit come to an end after nearly a month. NZ provided us with amazing scenery, friendly locals, some adventurous activities and an overall happiness that we will forever be grateful for. Hopefully we will meet again NZ!
Geography: Chrischurch is located in the center of the East Coast of the South Island, in the Canterbury region.
Population: 341,000 people call Christchurch home, making it the largest city in the South Island.
Best Known for: Being the largest city in the South Island; 2010-12 earthquakes; Re:START container mall; Getaway to the Antarctic.
What We Noticed: Post earthquake ruins; construction work and rebuilding; colorful murals and artwork scattered around the city; not many tourists; businesses reopened in shipping containers.
Interesting facts: New Zealand is not a very religious country so the name Christchurch stood out to us. It turns out the city was most likely named by the Church of England founders of this City. Kiwi abbreviate Christchurch as Chch. Maori name for Christchurch is Otautahi.
Our last drive in New Zealand was fairly quick.
Funny scultpure in Akaroa.
Not a whole lot happening in Akaroa. Our room. First glimpse of Christchurch. The signs of 2010-11 earthquakes are still evident. Many buildings await demolition or rebuilding.
One of 50 giraffe sculptures scattered around the city. In February, all of the sculptures will be auctioned to raise money for charities. Artwork that looks like fragrance diffusers. Pastel hued buildings on the rebuilt New Regent street. New Regent Street is home to spanish style buildings which host many cafes and shops. It is now fully rebuilt. Edyta found this map to be very "cute". Post earthquake, visibly destroyed Cathedral. Christchurch Cathedral from the front. This flower sculpture was situated right in front of the Cathedral. It looks like the dwellers of ChCh did their very best to revive their city after the earthquakes. It worked for us.
Another giraffe and the Chalice permanent metal sculpture in the back.
Traffic cones in shape of sheep. Colorful artwork near the Cathedral. Re:START Container Mall was a really cool spot for lunch and windowshopping. Lots of colours at this modern mall. Edyta ventured out to a nearby department store and got excited about Christmas decorations.
Something sweet. Colourful murals brighten up this visibly destroyed city. Adios Christchurch! New Zealand, we will miss you!
Talk to you all from our next destination: Bangkok, Thailand.
Ahh, the bittersweet end of NZ travels :( I know exactly
How you guys feel...exactly :(
Glad to see the mall built of shipping containers still in use and 'poppin' with activity! It seems from your photos that ChCh has been rebuilding (slowly, but surely) looked even more eerie when we where there, imagine that! Love the sheep traffic cones, wish we could have some here! Too bad you guys couldn't pack one away and bring home as a souvenir :)
..Bangkok is cray cray in comparison, ha!
I love how the city thought to mix sheep with traffic cones - how inventive :) ! Looks like Christchurch has some good designers behind their rebuilding/rebranding. The shipping container idea is great - are they going to keep that mall indefinitely? The ruins are sad ... but serve as a good reminder of the tragedy that befell this city, super recently too.
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