August 29, 2015

Five year quake anniversary and a "Construction Boom" for Christchurch

Five years next week.
Sept 4th 2010.

This time five years ago we were blissfully unaware of the changes that would be inflicted on us so suddenly.  You all know about the demolition and upheaval and changes that have become the new normal here.

Let me quote from Deb at "Works in Progress" - she writes so brilliantly on subjects that I can't begin to put on paper... but she captured the feeling of the rebuild perfectly to me... do go and read her essays that she is writing on sociology for her degree!

Here's what a guy called Thomas Gieryn wrote about buildings...
"Buildings stabilise social life. They give structure to social institutions, durability to social networks, persistence to behaviour patterns. What we build solidifies society against time and its incessant forces for change."
There is a song on the radio at the moment which has a line that says, "you don't know you are up till you are down and you don't know what you've lost till it's gone". Here is Christchurch we are definitely living the truth of that. As time goes on it feels like the city gets less familiar and more alien as time goes on rather than the other way around. I would have thought with the buildings starting to go up, we would feel like we are getting some kind of form to the city again.
But we have no connection to the buildings at all and so seeing them just reinforces that you are in a strange place rather than the feeling of being home that the city previously gave us.
This is what Walter Benjamin writes about, when he talks about the relationship between the space and the memories that we have of the space. By taking away the buildings, this synergy is taken away also, leaving us feeling adrift in the space.
We are finding out the hard way that there is no magic recipe for creating a city. A city that can be experienced grows over time; when people design and build, alter and adapt their environment and actually live in the city. Living means leaving traces and it is these traces of living that make a city experience more authentic.

So here we are surrounded by construction on a massive scale... there are huge steel frames at every corner you drive through in the town centre.  Last night I went through the central city at night and I was reminded of a recent trip I made from Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour by ferry at night. We bobbed around on our tiny boat under the massive container ships that rose high above the water; imposing, brightly lit, steaming and mysterious.  Driving through the city I felt the same ... steel girders and cranes and spotlights soaring above. No they are not high rise - probably only 4-5 stories high, but they were there and imposing and new and unknown....

Theres a good article here from the papers this week...

How many times have you visited the centre of Christchurch and had a really good look around? A few times, sometimes, maybe not for a long time? You can live easily in Christchurch and not journey to the city centre at all.
But it's worth it. Why? Because it will give you a sense of progress since the devastating 2010-11 earthquakes. Plus a sense of how much more is still to accomplish.
Each time I have had a good look around, the city has felt quite different.

and I agree with this...
Large billboards depict what most of the completed buildings will look like, although admittedly it is hard to visualise the way the whole city will look. It is constantly evolving.My admiration goes to those rebuilding the city; their determination and positive energy deserve recognition.
There are still big issues to grapple with, like parking. An inner city shuttle bus would make sense. More people will want to live in the city, and once residential projects go ahead they will change the atmosphere once again.
The new Christchurch is unfolding before our eyes. Make sure you do not miss this historic opportunity.

I am lucky I see the city as I travel to work, on different routes weekly to avoid roadworks so I get to watch the areas change, trying to accept that I don't often know where I am, or where to find things, or what was there, or what is being built there now. Totally disorientating. But, I eat out with friends a couple of times a week in the new exciting places appearing - we are constantly exploring and watching for places and ideas. Gradually making new favourite places.. returning for second/third meals to the ones we love.  So, if "Living means leaving traces and it is these traces of living that make a city experience more authentic." then we are doing our bit to keep Christchurch as home and learn to love it all over again.

Chris Lynch from Newstalk ZB recently posted this video to facebook:

or if you don't have facebook, watch it here and see the new buildings ... it is worth it :)
About 20 seconds in is the building that felt like a container ship....


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July 21, 2015

New Zealand will not need antibiotics for the maintenance of animal health and wellness...

 Exciting plans from the New Zealand Veterinary world

“By 2030 New Zealand Inc will not need antibiotics for the maintenance of animal health and wellness,” New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) President Dr. Steve Merchant said today.

Around 70 percent of human infectious diseases, including meningitis, anthrax and salmonellosis (food poisoning) have come from animals.

 “With sharply increasing levels of resistance to antibiotics worldwide, we want animals and, by extension, humans to enter the ‘post-antibiotic’ era as safely as possible.”

Dr Merchant said this is a significant undertaking, requiring considerable teamwork and commitment from the veterinary profession, working with the medical, scientific, government and relevant primary industry sectors.
He described the prize as “enormous” for New Zealand Inc and the world.
“Given the wide acceptance that the future for antibiotics is limited, and the close links between animals, humans and the environment we share, achieving this goal is essential,” Dr Merchant said.

“New Zealand is well suited to this challenge; given our size, proximity of the various specialities and relevant industry sectors, and already low use of antibiotics.”

Examples include:
  • Zero use of antibiotics in aquaculture
  • New Zealand is the world’s third lowest user of antibiotics on animals
  • Increasing focus on animal ‘wellness’
  • New Zealand’s grass-based farm management systems.

“These represent a sound platform, and veterinarians’ role at the intersection of animal life, human life and the environment makes ours a logical profession to be taking a lead,” Dr Merchant said.
“Achieving this goal will require a concerted international collaborative effort involving attitudinal and behavioural change across government, research, human health professionals, pharmaceutical companies, and a range of associated industries – as well as the public.”
“Veterinarians will use and advocate for careful antibacterial management and monitoring based on responsible use of existing antibiotics, as we work with our industry partners to jointly test and develop the necessary alternatives." 
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July 15, 2015

Home sweet home

Yes I am home - and to a lovely surprise. The family had a working bee while I was away and got a truck in to cart away the extra soil and box in the front garden so that we can fully landscape the driveway.  Having some happy time on Pinterest checking out ideas for plants and arrangements.  Haven't taken pics yet.... later!

While still in Nelson we went up the Maitai River and explored this swimming hole.  Such a gorgeous, peaceful spot..

 We were joined by a couple with their three dogs. Well, actually, although from a distance this looked vaguely like a Brittany Spaniel, we finally recognised from the unusual body language that it was in fact a pet goat. They brought it in the car to play with their dogs,

After a productive morning in Nelson we stopped for coffee and a peaceful spell in the sun at the Crusty Crab on the Monaco Peninsula... yum.

And had a look at the glassworks in the attached gallery.

On my last day we went to see the latest World of Wearable Arts exhibition - the 2014 garments.  Some stunning work...loved the detialing.

Sulphur Crested Frockatoo

and we popped into Eyebright for a final jewellery haul, and alpaca wool to make a felted hat that should look something like this one! Yeah right - but I am going to give it a go :)


On the Appleby Highway we stopped to take pics of the ruined house that is soon to be this picture is for you Meike. I was inspired by your recent post!

An article about it was in the Nelson Mail
So a great week. Dinner at Three Rooms Restaurant, coffee at the Grape Escape, catch ups with friends at their home aka Cafe Angelus, and lots of good memories. And of course, five days of sun. A total blessing in mid winter.
Thanks Libby and Davy

It was a great flight home. Nose pressed to the window!

Poppy very happy to see me :)

My cousin Alison from the UK arrives for a visit here on Friday... she's a little busy at the moment paragliding with her sons in Queenstown but will be great to see her again after um um twenty years? Next month her brother Andrew is also due - it never rains but it pours! They were both born in New Zealand but grew up in the UK - and I was the other way round. We intersected for a few years in the middle of the moves.

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