One Day in Christchurch
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand. It is the country’s third most-populous city behind Auckland and Wellington. This was the FINAL CITY on our three-week road trip adventure through both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It was bitter sweet arriving in Christchurch. Although we still had a couple more days of explorations left, we knew that our trip was soon going to come to an end. It was in this city that we would return our rental car, and then catch a flight back up to Auckland. We spent only one day in Christchurch, but did also ventured out to see Akaroa and Castle Hill.
Remember that amazing couple who let us stay in the beautiful Dunedin house while they were away?? Well, this is where they were while we made ourselves at home in Dunedin. We drove directly to their house in Christchurch to FINALLY meet them. Eli ran straight into Nana’s arms. It was as though he’d known her forever. The picture below perfectly captures the moment!
We were spoilt with an amazing BBQ dinner, snacks and Eli got to take a long happy bubble bath.
Once again, we were so very grateful for the warm welcoming!
Earthquakes and Recovery
Christchurch has suffered a number of devastating earthquakes in the last few years! On Tuesday, 22 February 2011, 185 people were killed and thousands of buildings across the city collapsed or suffered severe damage. In 2012 there was another earthquake. By late 2013, 1,500 buildings in the city had been demolished, leading to an ongoing recovery and rebuilding project.
An earthquake occurred in Christchurch on 14 February 2016 and initially recorded as 5.9 on the Richter scale, but subsequently reviewed as 5.7. Often referred to as the Valentine’s Day earthquake, it was centred in the sea off New Brighton at a depth of 15 km! It was the first large earthquake that the Christchurch area had experienced since May 2012, and it was part of the earthquake sequence that started with the 4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake.
Re:START Shipping Container Mall
“The renewal of Christchurch, New Zealand after a devastating earthquake just took a huge leap with the opening of a pedestrian shopping mall made from shipping containers. The brightly colored stacked boxes hold 27 stores as part of the City Mall Re:START project. Thousands of visitors flocked to the temporary mall’s opening the first weekend to enjoy the café, the large pedestrian area and two horse-shoe shaped pavilions. The mall offers a bit of normalcy to the residents, and some serious contemporary eco-style.” – Source of Quote
We stopped to do some shopping, grab a Dirty Chai, and enjoy some hot dogs in Re:Start Container Shopping Mall. We were absolutely amazed by this initiative. It was truly inspiring!
New Regent Street
New Regent Street is a charming little pedestrian mall in Christchurch. It was built in the early 1930s with 40 shops in Spanish Mission architectural style. And it is now one of the city’s major tourist attractions. Due to its style of architecture, the buildings in the streets are listed as heritage items by Heritage New Zealand. In fact, the entire street has a historic area listing.
The street was pedestrianised in 1994 in preparation for the introduction of the Christchurch heritage tram (see first image of this post). Damaged in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the street and buildings reopened in April 2013, and the tram returned from November of that year. Following the 2016 Valentine’s Day earthquake, five of the buildings that had not been repaired after the previous earthquakes have been cordoned off, which stopped the tram from operating on its original heritage loop until May.
We really enjoyed all of the graffiti, much of it was earthquake inspired.
This particular artwork had me stopped in my tracks for quite some time!
185 Empty White Chairs – Earthquake Memorial
This is the unofficial memorial for the 185 individuals who died in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Envisaged as a short-term installation made from chairs painted white, it has become a major tourist attraction in Christchurch. It was quite sad looking around at the chairs, especially the smaller chairs, like the baby carseat!
The Cardboard Cathedral
The Cardboard Cathedral in Christchurch, is the transitional pro-cathedral of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch opened in August 2013. It was designed by architect Shigeru Ban and seats around 700 people. The site is several blocks from the permanent location of ChristChurch Cathedral, which was significantly damaged in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.
It was quite a sobering walk around the city center of Christchurch. The destruction from the earthquake left us speechless. Neither of us had ever seen anything like this before. It was fascinating to see how life was going on, despite the catastrophe. This city has done an amazing job of compensating with the containers, memorials, and artwork.