Mark shares his thoughts about Christchurch
Our flight out of New Zealand was from Christchurch airport. We had heard that there was not much to see in the city following the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, so we probably would not have spent long there had it not been for the very kind offer by Marcia, an old workmate of Leila’s, to stay for a couple of days, and we were delighted that we did (thanks very much Marcia, James et al!).
We forgot to take a snap of Marcia and her gang, but here is a picture of their chickens, who laid some seriously tasty eggs for us.
The drive from Queenstown to Christchurch passed through some stunning scenery.
After a disrupted night’s sleep (we had a couple of hours kip then got back out of bed at 2am to watch Andy Murray win the Wimbledon Final – whoop!) we borrowed some bikes and headed into town.
The Kiwi custom is to build houses on one storey, so in the suburbs there was little evidence of the quakes.
We were shocked when we crossed the park to see virtually every building in the central business district either demolished or crumbling and boarded up. I cannot imagine the sadness and despair that the city’s residents must have felt when their hometown was laid to waste in this way.
However, the spirit of the residents has meant that the city is rapidly recovering via novel solutions such as the Re:START shopping mall made of shipping containers.
We met another of Leila’s old friends Gayle with her new baby Niamh there for lunch.
A very humbling experience.