Christchurch CBD

This is a little late as my main computer is currently out of action and in need of a new motherboards apparently, also the subject of this post was intended to be hope for the future, with Christchurch starting to get back to business following this year of earthquakes. That hope was slightly spoilt when we had a series of aftershocks on the 23rd of December including a 5.8 and a 6.0 resulting in people the eastern suburbs once again having to clear their homes and streets of liquefaction and another landmark building in Kaiapoi now scheduled for demolition. For the moment however here goes, and hopefully even with the setback on the 23rd we are still looking forward to a much better year in 2012.

Botanical Gardens

The weekend before Christmas I took a trip into the centre of Christchurch to have a look around and do a little Christmas shopping. It was only the second time I have been in to the city since the February earthquake and the first time to the newly reopened ‘Re:Start’ city mall.

I parked at Hagley Park which is still a beautiful space right in the middle of town and wandered through the Botanical Gardens. Little has really changed in the park now, ponds are filled, a few trees removed and the hot house is not yet open but it looks and feels as always, a lovely large green space in the middle of town.
I walked through, or at least around the town, to the City Mall that reopened at the end of October and named Re:Start.

I saw a lot of changes on the walk, with many vacant spaces where there used to be buildings and the Art Centre is badly damaged, although someone has decided to tie a bow on it.

The Re:Start mall is built from shipping containers and actually looks very smart, a lot of effort has been made and it was very busy which was great to  see. It was definitely a hopeful sign, seeing life coming back into the centre of Christchurch in what was Cashel Mall.
Cathedral Square Walkway
Although I did not know it at the time I was in town on the last day that the Cathedral Square walkway was going to be open and since it started right at the mall I decided to take a walk around. I wonder if I would have had I known we were still getting large aftershocks.
The walkway was busy, full of locals and tourists and it felt very strange looking over the fencing at the empty streets, with weeds and rubble everywhere. A little surreal and quite sad. So much is gone and so much still has be be torn down.
I actually have a lot more images still to process but that will have to wait until my computer is functional again. This last image summed up my feelings as I walked around, the damage and emptiness of the CBD.
I wonder what I might be writing in a year;s time? I hope something much more upbeat and a lot less shaky!

Christmas Carnival

Saturday was the Kaiapoi Christmas Carnival, this was the fourth time we have been to the carnival and the sun shone once more. I spent a lot of time at our photographic club stand showing our work and encouraging people to join us next year. I did manage to take quite a few photos, and despite the very harsh light was quite pleased with the results, better than last year at least which I guess means I have learnt something over the last year!

The carnival was well attended and it was great to see the community come together again after a very difficult year with two major and innumerable minor earthquakes. There were lots of stalls from the various local shops, art and craft stalls from out of town, clowns and entertainment for the kids as well.

This year’s parade route was very different from previous years with much of the town along the river damaged or demolished. Santa still managed to find his way around however, a very good day.