Taken at The George Hotel
I see this is my 700th post..... a fitting number for an outstanding evening.
Sirens ring; are you listening?
In the lane liquefaction's glistening
A terrible sight
But we are alright
Living in a shaky wonderland
ABC from EQ CITY
Dear Whoever, I write this in May, 2011. Some people here in Christchurch are talking about things “getting back to normal” after the earthquakes. But I think we are adapting to a new kind of normality. A lot of things have become normal here that never used to be. Read this and see what you think.
A is for
Aftershocks. It is normal to feel aftershocks, in other words new earthquakes smaller than the big ones. There are thousands of these, according to the guys who measure their size (the “size-mologists”). Dozens of them are easily felt. An aftershock is certainly an earthquake. The earth moves! And a respectable earthquake doesn’t come alone.
B is for
Bricks. It is normal to see piles of broken bricks and other rubble at or near people’s gates. It is not uncommon to see a huge pile spread across a whole section where a shop used to be.
B is also for
Barriers and Boulders and Bricks and Buildings and Bumps and Buttresses (see appendix)
C is for
Chimneys. It is normal to see no chimneys on houses. Often you see the gap where the chimney used to be. Sometimes you see an oblong of plastic on the roof, or a pile of bricks on the ground, or a vertical strip of wall made of plywood. Sometimes one sees a brick thing projecting more than 10cm above a roof, and says: “Look, that house has a chimney!”
C is also for
Chemical Toilets, Churches, CBD and Cracks
D is for
Dust. It is normal to see dust. On dry windy days it blows about. On other days we mightn’t see it, but it’s still present in smaller quantities. We still breathe it in, it still collects on our windows, on our cars, even on the bookshelves which we have yet to restock with dusty books. It gets in our eyes.
You can read more by clicking on http://www.quakestories.govt.nz/298/story/#
Been thinking about a Thankful Thursday post.... And as we lead up to Xmas I do feel grateful to be on holiday, to be walking better after my knee surgery last Friday, that I have finished shopping, and making plans for a great family weekend. Tonight is Summer Solstice, the weather is lovely, the Xmas tree lights are going, inside and out, and the garden tidying is going well.
I know that we are lucky; that there are many families in Christchurch who are facing sadness, upheaval, uncertainty and loss. It makes for frustration and despair.
We all know it will be many years before the rebuild is finished but gradually people are developing things to do; music, arts, comedy, shopping. We are learning to live in the new normal. There are many things to adapt to.... Sometimes it takes reading a list like this to realise again how much.
Thank you to another Fiona, posting on facebook all the way from France, for making me aware of this :)
We are home from a great night at the Speedway after a glorious and very hot day. Hope the 5.7 quake near Picton and Wellington tonight has not done too much damage. My daughter has been home for a week from an amazing three weeks at Outward Bound in Picton . I flew back from a day in Wellington as she travelled home on the train, so we have both been up in that quake zone recently. I used to really enjoy my visits there but now I worry more about the buildings and being trapped.... although to date all my experiences of being trapped in Wellington have involved fog!
"Wellington is prone to earthquakes because it rests on the point where two tectonic plates meet. Kilometres beneath Wellington the light, thick Australian plate rides over the heavier, but thinner Pacific plate. These plate movements have resulted in three major fault-lines running either through or very close to Wellington City - the Ohariu Fault, the Wairarapa Fault, and the Wellington Fault. It is when one of these faults shifts suddenly that earthquakes occur. The number of earthquakes which occur in Wellington has led to our city becoming one of the world's leading centres for the study and research of earthquake activity and for the development of seismic strengthening techniques in buildings."
I am off to research bat breeding... I had not realised until I saw this video that they carried there young around and suckled them. Learn something new every day.
and ACC approved my surgery - all go in two weeks :)
There is another section of the central city reopening for viewing -for a limited period and you have to carry ID ( so reassuring) ... and I don't imagine walking with my crutch would be well accepted when we are not even allowed to do the bus tours.. but at least i can watch the video.
Speaking of crutches, the archived reports from 15 years ago have been discovered and so, I now have a proposed surgery date for my knee next month so I can be "done" before Xmas :) Whether it is covered by ACC or Insurance - the surgeon has pencilled me in and I am hugely relieved. Just a day surgery, scary, but worth it.
Had a lovely sunny day at Peacock Springs with the students today - and we are off to see the "When a City Falls" movie about the earthquake that opens to the public tonight. Packing the tissues.....
Tomorrow I fly to Wellington for the day - bracing myself to travel around all the close up, high rise buildings without fear. I would really prefer to stay here in shaky Christchurch. Despite the earthquakes, I prefer the familiar territory to the unknown.
Tomorrow the CBD bus tours start.
For those of you who know the city - here is what you would see, or will see.
I have to keep replaying parts to figure out where I am, what I am seeing and what should have been there!!
Very sad for us all and incredibly hard to watch. I won't be doing a bus tour as I can't walk out if there is an earthquake and the buses can't drive out. It is still a dangerous area, and we still get enough aftershocks to leave risks for people working on the demolitions. Sorry, deconstructions.
One positive is how sunny and light town is with so many buildings gone - new views and perspectives have certainly changed the outer cordon so I can only imagine how this tour is going to "feel" to people on the buses.
The headlines this week tell us there could be a few more earthquakes ahead of us - http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/5913474/Rare-aftershock-cluster-a-possibility.
Canterbury could get stuck in a rare "cluster" of aftershocks, increasing the probability of quakes for decades, scientists say.
GNS Science natural hazards research manager Dr Kelvin Berryman said yesterday that aftershock probabilities had been revised to consider the possibility of Canterbury being at the start of a quake "cluster".
After most major earthquakes, the probability of aftershocks usually decays at a predictable rate, but in rare cases earthquakes can trigger fresh activity in nearby faults, setting off unpredictable clusters of aftershocks for decades.
Berryman stressed there was only a low probability Canterbury was in a "cluster", but the possibility had to be acknowledged when modelling the chances of future earthquakes.
Meanwhile, the sun is shining and it is Guy Fawkes - watch your pets please. Stressful night ahead for them.
It isn't drawing too long a bow to trumpet that the All Blacks' long-awaited World Cup victory was made in Canterbury.
Thirteen of the winning squad play their provincial footy for Canterbury or the Crusaders – skipper Richie McCaw, front rowers Corey Flynn, Owen Franks and Ben Franks, locks Brad Thorn and Sam Whitelock, No8 Kieran Read, halfback Andy Ellis, backline utility Sonny Bill Williams, fullback Israel Dagg, wing Zac Guildford and injured first five-eighths Daniel Carter and Colin Slade.
Of that baker's dozen, only Ellis, Carter and Slade are Cantabrians born and bred, but the others would attest their careers have been advanced by their exposure to the Canterbury rugby philosophy.
He has always been a teacher first and a coach second, but ironically he found his inner peace by becoming a student again.
Maybe as he surveyed the devastation Henry realised the journey was more important than the result?
His past four years have been marked by his empathy and you get the feeling his current players will talk largely in fond tones as they limp about on arthritic knees.
Henry took time to get to know them, found out what made each one tick.
He made it as much about how they wanted to play as how he wanted them to play.
“If I can convince them it’s a good idea then half the battle is won,” he said recently. “If I can’t then I’m wasting my time.”
Henry could still deliver a tongue-lashing, but more often it was an arm round the shoulder, a word of encouragement, or a subtle suggestion.
He found foils in the analytical detail, thoughtfulness and passion of Wayne Smith and the no-nonsense approach of Steve Hansen. They were the three wise men.
And he enlisted Brian Lochore who termed the phrases “better people make better All Blacks”.
Heritage advocates have rescued the earthquake-hit Excelsior Hotel and will spend $8 million restoring the site to its former glory.
Christchurch Heritage Trust chairman Derek Anderson said the 128-year-old building was bought on Friday, returning to the trust company four years after it was sold to a property firm.
The central-city hotel had taken a battering in the quakes.
Anderson said only the Manchester St wall would be retained, with the north-facing wall and interior to be rebuilt almost from scratch.
“It was unthinkable that it should come down,” he said.
The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority had planned to demolish the building but the trust had successfully argued parts of the facade could be saved, he said.
Buses are being re-routed through the city, with a temporary exchange in Tuam St. Cera is planning bus tours of the red zone. The Re:Start project reopens Cashel St between the Bridge of Remembrance and Colombo St as a retail zone from October 29.
Besides shoppers, expect rubberneckers - or rubbleneckers. Most of us will be both. We will be nervous, shocked and curious. We have seen the videos and photos in The Press of desert-like landscapes that would be unrecognisable were it not for the shape of the Bridge of Remembrance or perhaps Alice in Videoland in the background.
If it is a shock to see pictures of those spaces, how will it feel to stand in them?
Earlier this month, The Press ran a perspective piece by Islay McLeod, headlined "Be ready, citizens, for stark reality". After going on a tour of the red zone with a film crew, McLeod warned: "The wasteland that Christchurch central city has already become is a sight so shocking, so disorienting. It's an emotional reaction to loss so profound but without precedent. Sooner or later, we all have to see it and go through our own extraordinary grief reaction."
McLeod drew on a Mainlander story I wrote last month, on the Scape festival's The City as Memory panel. I was pleased to see that some comments made by Lyttelton sound artist and academic Bruce Russell were getting a wider airing, as they seemed to summarise a feeling that many had but few articulated, especially at an official level.
"I'm really interested in what's going to happen when we do get back into what used to be the CBD of Christchurch," Russell said.
"I think there's going to be a huge shock. I think a lot of people are going to be psychically damaged by the experience.
"I'm really worried about antisepsis. One thing that's happening very quickly is that everything's getting cleaned up. We don't know what the memorials will be, but I'm sure at least one of them will be a ruin. If we've got no ruins left, we've got no memory.
The impossible ideal would have been to have lived with the ruins for a while, to have got used to them, before each was replaced - one at a time - by something new.
In recent months, I've been collecting comments like Russell's and Edmond's and watching how they take on a communal life.
These emotional responses are earthquake descriptions that fall outside the fields of seismology, architecture or engineering, that are about the tricks of time and memory in the post-quake city.
This week I came across another very good summary of the strangeness of life here, in a blog by Christchurch writer and photographer Adrienne Rewi.
Rewi went to Australia for two months and then came back home a couple of weeks ago. She toured the perimeter of the cordon with her camera. She stopped at the point where Re:Start will soon re- open the city. She wrote, "When I saw the teetering form of the Grand Chancellor Hotel glimpsed through the Bridge of Remembrance, I was overwhelmed by the irony of the situation. Almost the entire lower section of Cashel Mall just beyond the bridge has been demolished. It's all gone and as I stood there, I couldn't remember what had even been there. And soon - well, in a few months - the Grand Chancellor will also be gone," Rewi wrote.
"It's that relentless erasing of my memories that strikes me the most about Christchurch in the aftermath of the September earthquake. Whole parts of my own, 20-year memory of Christchurch have slipped away. We get on with our daily business here because we have to and it's easy to lose touch with 'that other reality'.
"It's not until you wander around the inner-city cordons, or drive through the worst-hit suburbs, that you realise it's not just a city being demolished, it's the fabric of your own history."
Fresh footage of life from the earthquake zone... it is getting almost impossible to know where we are looking amongst the demolitions, or whether a building is being put up, or pulled down. I hope that people from all over the world watch this - as a reminder of the progress we have made in clearing up the rubble, making the area safer, but also as a nudge to show what could happen in many other places in the world and ask - Are you ready if it is your turn?
The bus tours of the red zone will start next month, apparently, but meanwhile, the deconstruction continues. How quiet the streets look when empty of people, but the noise of the diggers is ever present. Nice to see the trees showing their new leaves. Some hope remains for the future.
Meanwhile, as the World Cup continues and the eyes of the world swing this way to watch, the oil spill from Rena and the containers tipping off the boat are creating an ecological disaster for the Bay of Plenty. This time we get to watch the news in growing disbelief at the plight of the sea birds, the locals, as a beautiful area, renowned for its perfect beaches, comes under threat. I know that Christchurch people will understand their pain and loss.
Kia Kaha Tauranga.
Not sure if this will work for overseas readers, but here is the first episode of the new series of SPCA Rescue and it covers the rescue of the animals after the feb earthquake. It is of special interest to me because one of their duties was rescuing the pet animals from the polytech. It was an emotional time - and seeing them bring the animals downstairs was very moving for us all. Our wonderful animal room technician Steph was featured in the programme, while we hovered around helping.... she had actually been up there two days after the quake, and then the building was closed so we were pleased to get them out.
Nice to see Bridget and Ian and Ross on there too - many thanks to all the local vets and vet nurses, the Council Dog Pound and the team at the SPCA for an amazing job. Also to all the companies and people that donated food and supplies to feed all the lost pets.
Almost as soon as Christchurch settled down to watch the All Blacks last night, a magnitude-5.5 aftershock rolled through the city – a rumbling 5.5-pointer felt as far away as Dunedin and Greymouth.As the city continues to be demolished, reading articles like this one below about salvaged goods being sold adds to the feeling of frustration.
The shock at 8.34pm was the eighth largest since the earthquakes started on September 4 last year and the biggest in magnitude since a 6.3 rumble on June 13.
It was a reminder, as if the city needed it, of exactly why Christchurch lost the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal being played between New Zealand and Argentina at Eden Park in Auckland, which the All Blacks won 33-10.
Prime Minister John Key, with thousands of other rugby-watchers at the Hagley Park fanzone, said it was a "stark reminder" of what Christchurch had experienced.
|Square on left leading up diagonally to Polytech and to AMI Stadium on top right.|
|Rotunda lower right - with Town Hall and Crown Plaza along right edge.|