October 30, 2011

Adrienne Rewi Online: Postcards From Memory - Christchurch As it Used to Be

Adrienne Rewi Online: Postcards From Memory - Christchurch As it Used to Be

While we celebrate Container City, I can also relate to this article from Adrienne... do go and read it.
Felt so good to see some of these buildings in their previous and glorious state... Somehow the reality of the loss is getting harder with each month as more spaces appear; as more land decisions are made. I want to play ostrich and pretend it isn't happening, but the evidence is everywhere and reality has to be faced, again and again.
Grief takes time.

October 29, 2011


Engagement party with a view! Heaven...

Taken at Addington Raceway

Container City

The container shops open in Cashel Mall today - not sure I will get there until the crowds get smaller, but in many ways this is a milestone for the shrinking city.
Pictures are from
From http://getlocal.co.nz/2011/jump-start-the-heart-a-village-in-the-red-zone/
They also have a Facebook Album -



We are more used to seeing containers used this way... holding back cliff faces!

I saw this on Facebook this morning - perhaps it helps explain why the container shops are a reason for excitement!

It is a gorgeous sunny day here, the colours of the blossom and flowers are beautiful out of the window,  - and tonight I have an engagement party to go to, followed by a Halloween Party.. off to enjoy it all :)

October 24, 2011

Captain RIchie McCaw and Teacher Ted


After an adrenaline filled night, a week of anticipation and trepidation that the French passion and unpredictability would steal the moment away again for four more years,  the boys played their hearts out and in a nerve wracking, prolonged and terrifying game, brought the Webb Ellis up back to New Zealand.  By one point! They had to dig deep into the reserves as the injuries landed up scattered across the field, but at last, the years of build up and training; the depth and maturity and solidarity of the team meant they stepped up to the mark, gave away no penalties, let through no last minute drop kicks, and made the whole country very happy.

Today the sun is shining, and I can feel a measure of calm. Not euphoria, but huge relief at the wind up of a great tournament;  a wonderful few weeks of great rugby.  Christchurch missed the party  and the realisation over a year ago that we were not going to get all the matches we should have, to learn that our recently renovated stadium was now toast, was a bitter blow to a rugby mad province, home of many of the All Blacks. The taxi drivers and hospitality workers left town to follow the work up north, and our bars, night life and gathering spots closed down.  It has been a subdued version of what should have been, but like the rest of the world, we have watched it from afar, celebrated as best we can and felt huge emotion at seeing a Crusader jersey carry out the trophies last night.

Why is Canterbury feeling so proud?
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.

The whole game has been as much about the people as each match. The NZ reputation for choking hangs over the tournament - despite the depth of talent, and to overcome this, the team had to be stronger, with maturity, leadership and the right mental attitude, so I enjoyed the article on Graham Henry's evolution as a coach. 
He has always been a teacher first and a coach second, but ironically he found his inner peace by becoming a student again.

After their last defeat at the World Cup: 

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”.

So glad we have today off for a National Holiday!

Thinking of the 1000 who have died in the 7.2 earthquake in Turkey too.    I hope the world rallies behind them and the international USAR teams can help them, the way they helped us, to save as many as they can from their rubble before it is too late. 

Off to enjoy the sunshine, James and Jess' housewarming and a day of inner calm.

October 23, 2011

The Changing Face of Christchurch

In the first picture, this was the view down High St... towards the hills, and just out of sight to the far left, is my office.  This street is full of little fashion shops and cafes, places we would head for, to do lunch, window shop, and have a bevy or two at the end of the day.   On the right is the Excelsior Hotel.  It sits on the corner of High St, made recently famous for the extensive damage done to it on the day of the quake. (see video below)

Here is the video - the hotel is behind all the colourful orange flowers of its garden - but it gives you an idea of the damage to the area.

Recently we have been treated to the publicity photos of all the containers used in the city to protect buildings, and workers! 
Photos are from

Then today - I saw this photo in the news today and for the first time I realised that the destruction included this hotel and it was not going to be saved.  

So I did some reading at ...

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.

This is just one example of one building, one loss, and we have numerous examples of this across the city.  Try having a look at Ross Beckers album of the photos according to street - crisscrossing all over the inner city recording the destruction.

But the next article does capture some of the emotion.  The loss of our memories, and I will take a quote from it - but do click on the link and read it all.
Fabric of Memory Falling to Pieces

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."
So true Adrienne... The Hotel Excelsior is just one tiny part of this fabric, and the rebuild might replace the structure, give us somewhere else to drink in the evenings, but the memories will not be the same. The history of our memories will be gone.

October 21, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake Red-Zone Footage | Stuff.co.nz

For any of you watching, I see this as a record of the deconstruction of a city. A place I can look back and compare the changes...
For those of you from the area, you can probably identify with the feeling of bewilderment, and difficulty working out what you are looking at.
Thank you Adrian for your kind email yesterday - I am not sure why Blogger is not letting you post comments!

October 19, 2011

Cone art

This one is for Adrian - who has a "thing" about cones... as you can read in a recent blog entry.- http://kiwiscots.blogspot.com/2011/07/snow-cones-plague-continues.html
We might live in an ever decreasing pile of rubble ( although we know a massive pile is being accumulated elsewhere instead), but a sense of humour is being maintained. There are other examples of cone use in this facebook album, and I have seen pictures of strange mannequins posing around the city too :)

Christchurch City Mall Pop-Up Container Precinct... | Stuff.co.nz

Life in post earthquake Christchurch is strangely the same, but different. A year of it has found us living a similar lifestyle - same house, job, friends - so far anyway, but in this lotto city, many are not so lucky and the inevitable changes are happening everywhere. People moving away, moving house, moving into or back to the city ... we are coping with new roads, rough surfaces, flooding in the pot holes, job insecurities, changes in social lives, on top of the usual niggles of life that we always have to face anyway - and surgical waiting lists is currently my problem - or more accurately, waiting to hear from ACC.
Anyway - as we bask in the pleasure of an All Blacks win and huddle round the fire again in the storm hitting Christchurch today, this article reminded me that Canterbury Show Weekend is creeping up fast and they are building a new shopping precinct specially for us - perhaps the world's first pop up container one! We do have a large number of perfectly normal malls here - we are not actually starved of shopping experience, but this might be a novelty to help people want to re-enter the inner city.... it looks more interesting than I thought it would!
Stay warm and go the All Blacks :)

October 14, 2011

Christchurch Earthquake: Latest Red Zone Footage

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.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

October 12, 2011

SPCA Rescue | Television New Zealand | Television | TV One, TV2, U, TVNZ 7

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.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

October 10, 2011

Rugby World Cup | Christchurch Rocking For All Blacks... | Stuff.co.nz

After another large quake last night (number 7668) we were pleased the power remained on so we could watch the All Black game... A decent 5.5 and we all watched the tv and the fish tank slopping next to it in mesmerized fascination... once upon a time we would have reacted more, but now we all wait to see what it will do!
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.
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.
As the city continues to be demolished, reading articles like this one below about salvaged goods being sold adds to the feeling of frustration.

When people, particularly the central businesses, cannot get access to possessions and are told it is too dangerous to salvage them, of course they are upset at finding them being sold and in good condition. The city has enough to cope with already.... I am sure there are two sides to this story, but with the reports of major looting by those with permission to be in the Red Zone, it is increasingly hard to know what to believe. Rumours will always circulate.

Some aerial photos doing the rounds from an unknown photographer show the increasing bare land in the CBD - and there are more to be deconstructed yet!  This process is strange - you watch the diggers at work and the action on the top of a building and wonder if it is going up or down - for a while it looks like up, and then the arm of the digger strikes out and smashes something....

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. 

Meanwhile I am on holiday and loving it :)

October 6, 2011

Steve Job dies: Apple founder Steve Jobs, 56, dies after eight-year battle with pancreatic cancer | Mail Online


Although I remember seeing them around, I discovered Apple late for personal use, preferring the competition for work and play... but in the past five years, after being "educated" by the Mac fanatic I live with, eventually embraced them with increasing enthusiasm. It started with an iMac for the kids, and later my parents, then an iPod or two or three, before I succumbed last year and got an iPhone, followed by an iPad, and finally a MacBook Pro to manage them all. Sometimes I can juggle all the last three... a game on one, downloads on another and checking twitter on another. The iPod touch never far away either as a back up! Sad, but true....

I can say that life with mobile computing, the efficiency of keeping up with messages on the phone, the relaxation of curling up with an iPad, are ongoing pleasures I really appreciate, and so I acknowledge today the sad loss of Steve Jobs as a man with a great vision who worked out we wanted and gave it to us.

Wherever we head in the future, he will be remembered for what he did with personal computing, Pixar and his inimitable style.

RIP and thoughts to his family who have lost so much more than we have.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

October 5, 2011

Just the Job - A career as a Veterinarian

This is a great new DVD made by the New Zealand Veterinary Association. It will be screening on television soon here too. It shows a potential student working alongside qualified vets for two days to see what the work involves.

If you know of anyone interested in studying to be a vet, might be something to show them.

The NZVA have a public site where more information can be found for schools or people interested in studying as a vet nurse or rural technician too- just look on the side bar at this web site...

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

October 4, 2011

Remembering Lost Christchurch

If you visit this web site, it has some great articles featuring buildings around the city that have been lost due to the earthquakes. It also looks at the history of the buildings....
Another site worth visiting is Ross Beckers Central City Picasa Album where a detailed seres of photos are beng taken of the deconstruction process for the National Library of New Zealand. The links for the website, and also Twitter and Facebook, are all at: http://cera.govt.nz/ross-becker-photos
Although the pictures show us clearly the losses, and remember, we are still banned from the inner city area so cannot see any of this ourselves yet, I am also finding it useful to see what is left! It is offering us all a chance to ask questions, even request photos of specific streets and buildings to be taken. A great job with I think 2 million viewers already from all over the world.
Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand. According to a local software developer who Tweets from the city, this might put the loss into perspective - based on population comparisons, he posted the following figues.
I was driving around the CBD Red Zone cordon this morning. It’s a sorry sight. I thought I’d try and put what’s happening here in Christchurch in the context of other countries.
For those in the USA, imagine if the downtown areas of all these cities combined was evacuated and locked down this second, with no warning:
New York
San Antonio
San Diego
San Jose
San Francisco
Now imagine that 2 out of every 3 buildings in the downtown area of these cities were in the process of being demolished. Now imagine that this will take a year, and in that time, no one is allowed into the area.
You can go to the link to see a similar comparison for Germany.
It is wet and cold today - heavy rain..... A dawn start for my partner so up early myself. I have been busy with finishing term for some students, finishing a full programme for others, union issues, Jaz's progress and surgery - you can read that all on Mark's blog - http://markdadtreacy.blogspot.com/.
Last week it was Poppy's first birthday.... she has new toys and a collar and lead, red of course... Amazingly, she never outgrew the first puppy collar.

This week is also the anniversary of Saffy's death - as spring blossom and daffodils over the city lift our sprits, her gorgeous rose will soon bloom in her memory. Little did we know Poppy was already born, soon to enter our lives and cheer us all up again. :)
Lastly, I got told off by my physio for overdoing the exercycle yesterday ! My fault - lost track of time and did too much. I am just waiting for day surgery and an arthroscope to tidy up the torn cartilage and let me walk normally again. Expect it is too much to hope it will all happen over the two week break I have coming up!!!

October 2, 2011

Dan Carter's Rugby World Cup Over | Groin Injury... | Stuff.co.nz

And agonising pictures at

Our thoughts are with Dan today - this is very sad news for him and as a local Canterbury player, means a lot to the Christchurch people that follow the Crusaders team.
Whatever this means for New Zealands next games, it is a sad blow to the country, and the All Blacks will be needing to dig deep to step into the void he leaves behind.
Meanwhile, get well soon Dan so you can return one day to play again.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin