Christchurch, New Zealand: Destruction and Rebirth

Hello everyone! Long time, no post. Sorry about that. Since we last posted Dan and I flew from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Christchurch, New Zealand, via Sydney, Australia. Whew! An exhausting, but totally worth it, 24 hours. I know New Zealand is very far away from pretty much everything, but I encourage everyone to come here! We spent the first two days here in Christchurch, and since then we have been traveling around the country in a campervan (a post about the campervan will be coming in the future!). It has been so much fun, but we haven’t had much in the way of internet. Hence the lack of posting. I wanted to check in really quickly and do a post of mostly pictures.

Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand, and the largest city on the south island. In February of 2011, Christchurch was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake which killed 185 people and was the second largest natural disaster in New Zealand’s history. The Central Business District (CBD) was hit particularly hard. Almost 3 years later Christchurch is still getting back on its feet. It is a city of juxtapositions. There is beauty everywhere, but there is also destruction. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Destruction

Destruction.

Rebirth. This is Re:START, a new retail area in CBD created out of shipping containers

Rebirth. This is Re:START, a new retail area in CBD created out of shipping containers.

Christchurch Cathedral, located in the center of CBD.

Christchurch Cathedral in ruins, located in the center of CBD.

Amazing, ancient tree in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. See me in the middle for scale.

Amazing, ancient tree in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. See me in the middle for scale.

Bridge in the city with a huge crack.

Bridge in the city with a huge crack.

Ducklings!

Ducklings!

Behind a row of buildings in CBD. You can still see into most of them, 3 years later.

Behind a row of buildings in CBD. You can still see into most of them, 3 years later.

Dan with a mushroom umbrella in Hagley Park, the second biggest inner-city park in the world. After Central Park, of course!

Dan with a mushroom umbrella in Hagley Park, the second biggest inner-city park in the world. After Central Park, of course!

Memorial to the 185 victims of the earthquake. 185 unique chairs.

Memorial to the 185 victims of the earthquake. 185 unique chairs.

Beautiful plantings like this one can be found all over the city.

Beautiful plantings like this one can be found all over the city.

We thought Christchurch was a really fascinating place, and we can only imagine what it was like before the earthquake. Christchurch now has an opportunity to remake its city center. Something no other city has the chance to do hundreds of years after its creation. We saw some plans of what they hope to do with all of the now-empty spots around town and, if realized, Christchurch could become a very “livable” city full of playgrounds and green spaces. I wish them all the best and I hope to be back someday to experience all the growth and changes.