As one of our last stops on the south island we visited Christchurch. The city that was almost completely destroyed in an earthquake measuring magnitude 6.3 in February 2011. After almost 5 years you can still see the widespread damages. Closed Roads and footpaths. Empty buildings and construction works on every corner. To remember the 185 people who have lost their lives 185 white chairs were placed at the opposite of the CTV building (115 of the 185 people died as the headquarter of the Canterbury Television Building collapsed). 185 chairs of all shapes and sizes paying tribute to the uniqueness of each person represented. A baby seat for the youngest victim, a wheelchair for one disabled man and lots of office chairs for the employees of CTV.
The damaged Cathedral and the Botanic garden gives you an idea of how worth living the city must have been before the earthquake. But among the ruins and construction sites the feeling won’t quite kick in anymore. Even if you are seeing some people, the city still looks kind of abandoned. Maybe it was due to the weekend but all construction sites were empty so you get the impression that they already gave up rebuilding everything. But there are also some silver linings. After the earthquake they started to recreate the mall on containers. Which was meant to be a temporary solution looks like a permanent one now. Scattered over the central city you can find some gap filler projects. A dance-o-mat to compensate the loss of many dance studios and performance spaces, a minigolf course with 7 holes to engage people to enjoy themselves again. But that might take years if not even decades.