This post: 1) Earthquake; 2) Restoration; 3) City of Art; 4) Botanic Garden; 5) Penguins; 6) Gondola
So much to do in Christchurch. The city is dynamic and bustling, and a good “base camp” with nearby day trips to picturesque Banks Peninsula and multiple vineyard/cellar doors. For an overnight or two, drive (or via train) west to Arthur’s Pass; north to Kaikōura and/or the spas in Hanmer Springs; west to Mt Cook.
In February, 2011, a 6.2 earthquake demolished 80% of the buildings within a 4 block square of city center and destroyed 10,000 homes
The remains of the collapsed tower and a gaping hole in the town center’s Anglican Cathedral is a sobering reminder. After nearly 10 years of exposure and pigeon poop, a printed tarp was fastened over the opening in December, 2020 to protect workers and deter the pigeons.
Embroiled in legal battles since 2011, the church’s synod voted (again) in August 2021 to fund restoration at a cost of $104 million.
For more about the earthquake, click either link:
The Chair Memorial preserves the memory of 185 deaths with chairs selected by family members.
A Symbol of Moving On – The Transitional Cathedral
Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and constructed from 98 equally sized cardboard tubes and 8 steel shipping containers, this was the city’s first non commercial structure built after the earthquake.
Preservation / Restoration
Cutting-edge architecture alongside original buildings – some of NZ’s oldest, reflecting the city’s English heritage.
The lengths that Christchurch has gone to rebuild their city are astounding. The $290m NZD restoration of The Arts Centre te Matatiki Toi Oram began in 2012. The complex consists of 23 neo-gothic buildings, built in 1878.
3) Art and the City
Art became a central part of rebuilding the city.
In 2012, after the earthquake, the Bull/Piano “Chapman’s Homer” was exhibited at the city’s edge. Positioned between ruin and rebuild, it became a symbol of strength and resilience. It was acquired by the city’s public art gallery, Te Puna o Waiwhetū , when it reopened in 2015.
More than 50 years ago in Bluff, at the bottom of the South Island, Fred and Myrtle Flutey attached thousands of paua shells to the wall of their living room and collected a variety of kiwiana kitsch. The shell collection was loaned to the Canterbury Museum.
Penguin Sculpture Trail Runs Across the City
4) Botanic Gardens / Outdoors
Loving the trees!
Video: Botanic Gardens
Video: Sound of Wetas (flightless crickets)
The Avon River intersects the city bringing a natural landscape to the urban environment.
5) Little Blue Penguins – Antarctica Center
Christchurch is the starting point for Antarctic explorers, scientists and support staff. Worth a visit is The International Antarctic Centre. See “Life at Scott Base” at the 4D Theatre and Penguin Encounter.
6) The Gondola Adventure Park
In December, 2020, a monolith appeared overnight at the top…we had to visit. Ride up…walk down. It’s long.
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