Monday, June 23, 2014

Christchurch, New Zealand: Saturday June 21, 2014:

Today is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day in the Southern Hemisphere!!

Today we explored Christchurch which has suffered from two large earthquakes within 6 months.  The first one was on September 4, 2010, then a second one on Feb 22, 2011.  They were different types of earthquakes and even though the second one was not as great on the Richter scale as the first, it did the most damage.  They have had many small quakes and aftershocks since then (14,000 recorded movements)!!

Parking where Buildings were before the Earthquake

Beautiful Vacant Building, unsafe to occupy

Badly damaged Christchurch Anglican Cathedral

Playing Chess in front of Christchurch Cathedral

Was a Seven story building, now vacant soon to be demolished
Christchurch Cathedral - 1996

Playing Chess on Cathedral Square - 1996
(Notice the now damaged, soon to be razed, seven story building in the Background)

In 1996 we visited downtown Christchurch so we were anxious to see it again.  The debris from damaged buildings is gone causing many empty lots. Some buildings have been repaired and are occupied again, but there are many building not occupied.  Several interesting/creative things have occurred.  They have taken used shipping containers, cut in windows and doors, insulated them, finished the insides, painted the outside, and are using them for upscale shops, coffee shops and all sorts of shops. Some are even stacked so they are two stories high. Last week they moved these portable shops to another location so they could start a building where they were located, so they just picked them up with cranes and moved them to the new location!! How unique!   

Shipping Container Shopping Mall

The central Cathedral located in Cathedral Square was severely damaged – see photos.  A Japanese architect designed and has built a Cathedral using of cardboard tubes! We definitely wanted to see this.  Incredible what he has done! Look at the photos. 

Empty Chairs remembering those who died during the earthquake

The Cardboard Cathedral - Expected to last 50 years

CTV Building where 118 lost their lives because of a fire after the quake

We also drove down to one of the beaches.  Houses built on the cliffs above had a scary time during the earth quakes.  Some of the homes are now closer to the cliff, and some are uninhabitable.

When we return home we want to look at our photo from 1996 to refresh our memory of downtown Christchurch – what it looked like in 1996. 

Our host invited two local Rotarian couples to join us for dinner tonight.  It was a delightful evening with good food and great conversation. 

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