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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2011 Christchurch Earthquake

Last weekend I took a drive into the middle of my home city, where the effects of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake are still blatantly apparent.

The pictures below may seem like rundown industrial areas; old warehouses and abandoned buildings lying on the outskirts of a once-busy city - but no. All these photographs were taken in the very heart of Christchurch City, where there is still plenty of life and a slow-but-steady attempt at a rebuild.

One of the strangest aspects of the city at this time is the juxtaposition of empty or destroyed sites existing right next to newly-constructed buildings, giving the entire landscape a bizarre atmosphere of a wasteland that is gradually growing back into a social/cultural hub.

It's not unusual to sit in an outdoor café and enjoy the view of crumbling brickwork on the building opposite.

 

 




I really can't emphasis enough that all these images were photographed on the same street. There are attempts (as with the flower beds) to infuse the neighbourhood with some degree of life and colour, but the subsequent oddness of the environment is impossible to fully capture.

As an aside, the construction site in the third image down was once the night club where my parents met each other.

 

 
But as it happens, the corgis are back! I didn't even know they existed before the local paper informed me that they had returned to the area, so I made sure to go and see them. Just outside one of the cafés (which boasts a great view of a half-destroyed building) the three of them were sculptured in honour of the Queen's bicentennial - or something like that.

And if you think one looks shinier than the others, that's because one was stolen and had to be replaced. Why someone felt the need to steal a bronze corgi is anyone's guess.

So things here are ever-so-slowly crawling back to a more natural state, though it'll be years and years before Christchurch feels like a fully mended city once again. Still, little things like flowers and sunshine and bronze corgis can't help but make you feel just a little more optimistic in what is otherwise such a strange wasteland.

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