February 25, 2012

Rowing Club Rooms from Locksley Ave... Beside the Avon

Taken at Dallington

Came on this as I drove home tonight after a concert. Sadly this is the Rowing Club at Kerr's Reach - a red zone area. We think they were due to be demolished, but not sure yet if all the boats had been removed or not. Arson is increasing in the red zones and it is a really good reason to demolish buildings quickly when people leave the area or their homes.

This photo of one of the club rooms was taken just today by SandyEm - and there are others of the area too...

February 24, 2012

What it means to live in Christchurch

What it means to live in Christchurch


 This is so good I have reprinted it in full- it is written by Vicki Anderson, who has written some great pieces since Feb 2012, and was published in The Press and on the stuff.co.nz website


After the shock, this is what it means to me to live in Christchurch right now.

It means waking up with uncertainty in my soul each morning.

It means to inwardly wince when my children jump at a car backfiring, mistaking it for an aftershock.

It means watching my 4-year-old son shaking his fist at the ground during an aftershock and cry "stop scaring me" and being powerless to stop his pain.

It means financial hardship and struggle.

It means watching your children lose a layer of innocence.

It means watching those you love battle unemployment.

It means an uncertain future

It means thinking "but I'm not over it" when you hear other people say how over it they are.

It means watching an elderly couple with poor health leave their once proud, now ruined, Avonside home of 40 years, with tears streaming down their faces.

It means getting upset when someone says: "Why don't you just leave?"

It means coming to work and having a colleague show you the photos they took of themselves on their cellphone when they were trapped by fallen concrete. And, when they say: "If things got worse I wanted them to know the body was mine".  It means not knowing how to respond without weeping uncontrollably.

It means being described as "brave and resilient" when you feel scared and traumatised.

It means laughing for the wrong reasons at the Novus "show us your crack" TV commercial.

It means endless goodbyes at the airport, watching lifelong friends leave for a new life in another country.

It means watching people you love crack.

It means taking your car to the garage a lot for its munted suspension

It means telling people you live in Christchurch and feel forced to add "but the house I'm in is OK now".

It means getting used to moving house.

It means wherever you go you're usually outnumbered by people wearing fluoro vests.

It means witnessing on a daily basis people's ability for kindness and understanding.

It means being humbled by fellow Cantabrians' inventiveness and spirit.

It means acknowledging, more than ever before, the need to be more patient and understanding with everyone you meet.

It means always checking that the cupboards are full of dry food and the emergency kit is OK.

It means discovering who really cares about you and who just says they do.

It means trying to keep the car full of petrol in case "something" happens.

It means waking each morning knowing that today could be the day another big one hits.

It means thinking every day: 'Today might be the day we have to flee our house; am I prepared?'

It means never parking your car under or close to a big building.It means watching my 12-year-old daughter mature overnight because of her earthquake experience into a caring, wise, young woman.

It means being frightened of simple things like catching a bus or going to a mall, and gradually conquering those fears.

It means only shopping where you feel safe, constantly aware of what is beside you and above you while you do so.

It means entering a building and immediately scoping out somewhere you could shelter if a quake were to hit.

It means always checking your cellphone is fully charged.

It means showering more quickly than you used to with a cellphone within reach. Who wants to be naked if "it" happens again?

It means truly cherishing each moment you have with those you love.

I want those who live elsewhere to understand that we still have the capacity to be happy.

But, yes, some days we feel as broken as the buildings in the CBD.

I want Kiwis around New Zealand and overseas to truly know how deeply we feel their kindness, how thankful we are of ordinary Kiwis who did their best to fill our brokenness with their heartfelt words, hugs, songs, offers of holiday accommodation and fundraising efforts.

I don't want to remember

But I cannot forget that day

I cannot forget the days the earth roared

I cannot stop imagining the pain and suffering of those who lost their lives or who were trapped or injured on February 22

I cannot forget the fear on the faces of my fellow Cantabrians

In the last year I have learned to make peace with the anxiety that walks beside me

But for now it is always there, just under the surface, like the faultlines.

I follow Ali's blog - and I had already read Vicki's article so if Ali can do this, then I can too.

I had the pleasure of meeting Vicki at a concert last year and have followed many of her excellent post quake articles. She sums it all up so perfectly....

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

February 22, 2012

Butterflies released at Christchurch quake memorial - National - Video - 3 News

Today has been filled with many tears at special moments - starting with the beautifully decorated flower filled traffic cones all over the city. A memory filled coffee with a colleague who was with me at the time of the earthquake. Being in the front row of the crowds behind the families and police, USAR, Red Cross staff and many others. Listening to the crowd sing to the National Anthem, and How Great Thou Art. The long list of 185 names of the earthquake victims, no longer strangers but people we have come to know through their stories and the losses of their families. So many young language students who had relatives there today.

Finally hearing The Pops Choir singing this so beautifully, with my partner in their number, while 185 Monarch Butterflies were released into the crowd. This made me cry the most - as the butterflies hovered over the people, lingering over the heads of the families. I felt like the souls of the victims were being set free.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

Police dogs at Hagley Park Earthquake Memorial Service

Taken at North Hagley Park

Morning Light - Anthem for Christchurch - Magnify Band

February 21, 2012

12:51 - A Year On

This links to an interesting anniversary page about the earthquakes.

Fran Vertue, http://www.christchurchpsychology.co.nz/news-and-views/christchurch-earthquakes-ongoing-stress/ was on television tonight. She said that for the people in Christchurch, tomorrow is all about loss. Whether the lives of loved ones, or jobs, homes, businesses, familiar places, city centre, everyday normality or the security of the earth we walk on, we are all affected in some way.
How can 24 seconds change so many lives so dramatically.
I had hoped to go to the service tomorrow - but my work must take precedence. I will reflect at 12.51, wherever I am and just be glad to have survived to do so.

February 20, 2012

Christchurch Earthquake | Nature returns as city... | Stuff.co.nz

Fresh video of the inner city, just for some idea of what is gone, going, staying.
Pretty depressing really. I am trying to see somepositives in the extra space and light the new city might have - if it is rebuilt there.
Because I work on the south east edge of the cordon, I get to see much of it as I drive around the fencelines, but this is still hard to watch. Too many memories.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

February 18, 2012

Total contentment on two knees... Weekend bliss

Taken at Horseshoe Lake

A tribute to pre-earthquake Christchurch - YouTube

A beautiful video. I am now lost in memory of all that we had and how much we have lost... so many sights; capturing a way of life, much of it gone, demolished, damaged beyond repair.

Just as we look back at pictures and remember the lives of people we have lost, I appreciated seeing the city this way. The loss is part of our history now. Hiding from the memories doesn't help, but seeing and treasuring some of the parts that will remain might help me deal with the future.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

A quake milestone next week - one year later...

I stumbled over an article I hadn't seen today...http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359354/New-Zealand-earthquake-A-mothers-message-beneath-Christchurch-rubble.html

It was full of pictures.. that reminded me of the day.

I had reason to look at a facebook album of before and after pictures again this week. Nothing new - I watched Scott Spensley make it and was shocked at the damage then. But I cried again this week at the realisation that most of the places have now gone completely and I could no longer really remember what the "before" had looked like.

Ruth from Ruth's Reflections has said perfectly what has been going through my mind this week as we approach the anniversary of the Feb 2011 quake next Wednesday.

Everyone living near Christchurch has been affected in some degree, and most of us are tired, emotionally, mentally, and physically.    Among people I talk with the consensus is that this year is likely to be even harder than last because of the incredible difficulties that individuals and organisations are facing.
I have two pleas for the anniversary day:
1  May everyone be free to choose how they commemorate the earthquake (e.g. not be forced to stay at work if they’d rather not)
2  May everyone outside Christchurch watch the film “When a city falls” which will be shown on TV3.  From the programme in the “Listener” it seems they will have the decency to show it without advertisements.  It’s hard for people who haven’t experienced it to understand what we’ve been through here and this film tells it honestly.
Someone said to me today that it takes two years to get over a major event such as we have experienced.  I asked “When do we start counting those two years?  From February?  From June? From December?”  We continue to experience a seismic event that is unique in recorded human history.  We need to take care of ourselves.
This week has been harder than usual for us at work, starting a new set of students, and although a week earlier than in 2011, we did all the things we had started to do last year. It is a relief to get through the process without an earthquake... but most of us have had bouts of anxiety, panic, or nightmares to show for it.  My dog, Poppy, was up there during the Feb quake, trapped in the stairwell with my colleague. I have gradually been taking her back up to get her used to it again. We noticed she has been quivering and panting a lot at at times and suspected it was earthquake related;  a geonet check showed she was indeed reacting to smaller ones, 3.0's, that we weren't even feeling.

Meanwhile the uncertainty, ongoing demolitions, constantly appearing empty spaces, housing losses and changes are certainly wearing me down. This week there have been mall and business closures as government inquiries and new building codes are ensuring more stringent checks being made. This means that a number of older, concrete buildings are being closed in Rangiora, Merivale Mall, Riccarton main road, even further south in Timaru. Many places are only getting a few hours notice to close their businesses and clear out buildings, if they are lucky.... many people will just lose their jobs.

Scott has been involved in clearing the soon to be demolished Convention Centre this week.  It has been totally stripped down to the concrete... he said the smell of the kitchens was indescribable.

Next week he will be salvaging stuff from The Town Hall - no official verdict yet on it's fate, but the stuff will have to come out anyway.

Across the road from the Convention Centre,, the Crowne Plaza hotel is coming down.  These places are all examples of soft stripping... where the contents can be taken away before the giant diggers arrive.


This week two towers of the Park Terrace apartment blocks have been urgently demolished - this time the rubble is full of furniture, bedding and possessions - too dangerous to salvage it.


Interesting it has taken a year for it to become urgent, but the December quakes pushed many buildings beyond recovery. Apparently 600 buildings are already demolished - and there are another 600 to go in the central area alone.... the list feels endless. Then they can start on the houses, the roads, and finish the drains, cables, rebuilding....

I can recommend looking at Ross and Moira's photos. They are doing a wonderful job of recording the changes to the city for the historical archives:
and if you are on Facebook they are: https://www.facebook.com/CHCH.EQ.Photos

The constant inquiries into building collapses and the deaths of the people, (now upgraded to 185), in February, have exposed a myriad of processes that failed to protect people after the first September quake.  Other parts of New Zealand have started closing buildings for quake strengthening too.

The papers are full of articles - here are just a few examples:


I would like to do something next Wednesday to commemorate the day. Scott will be at the Hagley Park Memorial Service singing with The Christchurch Pops Choir, so I am hoping to go there, to hear them, meet up with some other supportive people and mark the day.

Alternative choices are available - for example:

The River of Flowers

many Cantabrians expected an event in Hagley Park similar to the memorial service held previously. A significant number of respondents however supported having local events that allow communities to be together to commemorate, and to look to the future.
The River of Flowers is our collaborative attempt to provide these opportunities for people to commemorate the day in their own way and with their community.
On 22 February 2012 from 8am to 8pm, people will be able to drop a flower in the River and write a message for a Tree of Hope. From 12:30 to 1:30pm, local community groups will host the sites.  At 12:51 two minutes silence will be held, followed by the release of red helium-filled biodegradable balloons.
 The River of Flowers is an opportunity to:
  • come together as a city through a river of flowers
  • let go through dropping flowers into the river
  • hold two minutes of silence to remember those who have died, been injured, or who have lost their homes
  • write notes of hope and post them on a tree of hope
  • acknowledge the importance of the river(s) in the life and heritage of the city
  • give a token of respect back to the river(s)
  • show the connections between communities - particularly those most affected
  • celebrate our strength - resilience and supporting one another

One of our lecturers at Polytech, Henry,  has also started his second road cone campaign - one we can all help with this week:

It is certainly not all sad - there continue to be pluses among the changes; it has been nice to meet new people, have different friendships, changed priorities and re-appreciate the small stuff, families, a roof over our heads. Just today we talked at work about how good it was to enjoy certain things - and I mentioned that just having constant power and water still seems a huge positive to me!

You really don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

I hope you will think of us all at 12.51pm Wednesday 22nd Feb as we observe two minutes silence.

February 15, 2012

Kiwi deaths spur reminder to dog owners | Stuff.co.nz

This disturbing pictures shows native New Zealand Kiwi birds that have been kept frozen and are being displayed for a photo to drive home a message. They have all been killed by dogs roaming free in the bush in the north of New Zealand. It is a timely reminder to keep your pets on a lead when out with them. We are trying to build up Kiwi numbers, along with many other endangered birds.
In NZ there is also the risk of dogs coming into contact with the 1080 poisoning laid to reduce the Possum population.
There are reports from the UK this week that people are rescuing dogs that have fallen into iced-over rivers. One man was killed after he also fell through the ice. The message from one of the men who was able to get his dog out safely was keep your dogs under control and on a lead to stop it happening.

February 12, 2012

The changing face of Christchurch - Colombo St

Thanks to Deb Donnell (http://canterburyquake.cafereflections.com/) for posting this picture on facebook showing the progress of just one intersection in the city. A scene that has been repeated endlessly all over the grid layout of our criss-cross intersections, but wanted to post it as a reminder to those from outside Christchurch just what is happening to our inner city.
Yes it looks desolate and different - safe, sanitised, and probably even dull. But just up that road a little way, on the right is a great Indian restaurant - Himalayas. http://www.himalayas.co.nz/
And further up on the left is a motel - run by Jeff and Naomi - who weathered the cordons and have been mentioned in Lonely Planet as a great place to stay - http://www.centrepointoncolombo.co.nz/
You can follow Jeff on Fb, Twitter or his blog - http://centrepointoncolombomotel.blogspot.co.nz/
The other fb and twitter links are all on that page too...
Some of the places have now been demolished - on the left corner, one of our favourite coffee shops, Metro, has recently reopened on Papanui Rd and further up at the next intersection, the old Strawberry Fare restaurant has now reopened on Bealey Ave....
So although it is hard to see these desolate looking pictures, I can also see the positives - the people and businesses are carrying on beyond the spaces. We may have lost buildings, but we haven't lost all the people and we need to support them, spread the word and let them carry on doing what they did, and still do, so well.

February 9, 2012

Five aftershocks jolt Christchurch | Stuff.co.nz

Christchurch residents were shaken throughout the night by several aftershocks measuring between magnitude 3.2 and 4.2.
The city has been rattled by five aftershocks since 7pm last night.
The largest, a magnitude 4.3 quake, struck at 11.06pm. It was centred 10 kilometres east of Lyttelton and was 9km deep.
The quake was preceded by a magnitude 4.2 quake in the same location three hours earlier.
Several Twitter users described the first of the five earthquakes as "violent" and "bloody sharp".
A magnitude 4.2 struck in the same area at 12.51am this morning, which was followed by a magnitude 3.2 at 5.18am and a 3.5 at 6.02am.
Christchurch has experienced more than 10,000 earthquakes since 4.35am on September 4, 2010 when a 7.1 earthquake shook the city.
It has been too peaceful lately and we have all felt some anxiety. The calm before a big one.
Sure enough, a wee swarm last night to rouse us up again. They weren't bad - just unsettling and frequent. However, I always wonder when the moon is full if we will get more ( which is as scientific as the increased chance to coincide with whale strandings that I wrote about previously). Last night the moon was enormous...
I went to bed early about two hours after the first quake - tired after too many late nights this week. I commented that we would probably get more aftershocks as it was noticeable that the neighbours dogs were very restless, with a lot of barking. In our own house, our dogs were responding, with Poppy doing many rumbly low growls. There is certainly evidence overseas that dogs detect earthquakes before we do and It would not surprise me at all if that was triggering the different canine evening behaviour. That and the full moon of course!
Pleased to say Poppy is resting comfortably this morning... fingers crossed for a quiet day.

February 7, 2012

Amazing weekend

Public holidays and three day weekends are always great - that extra day makes so much difference to enjoy things, get more done, relax - do whatever you want without feeling pressured.

On Sunday, we celebrated my Dad's birthday by using the present we gave him - a chance to sail. You can hire yachts and go sailing at Pegasus where there is a new lake.  We had two yachts and also a double kayak, and although the day was grey and cloudy, it was still warm, with a good breeze; they all had a great time out on the water while we raced round with the dogs and cameras.

That night we did the Sparks in the Park Concert from my previous post - the music was excellent. The finale and fireworks were brilliant, as usual, set to "The Ride of the Valkyries".

It was a late night inching our way slowly out of Hagley Park in the queues of cars, but people were patient.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with Jaz and Mark and the girls - a relaxing sunny day and lovely dinner :) So good to have them back here.

Although I had to go back to work today, we started one of our classes for the year- made up mainly of the returning students for their second year.  Great to see so many familiar faces again. I get to meet the new vet nursing students at their orientation on Friday - another year to look forward to with them.

Hope you all had a great weekend too :)

February 5, 2012

Classical Sparks in Hagley Park ... Celebrating our anniversary :)

Great to see thousands here enjoying themselves again. The park is uneven and there are sandy areas of old liquefaction but here's to a good night and spectacular fireworks with the music from the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. :)


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