Christchurch is Munted: but still Rocking!

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Comments (5)

Ian Stehbens on April 23, 2011

A City in Grief: devastated infrastructure, devastated people.

Looking silently along Cashel Street through the centre of the Christchurch's CBD. There are many collapsed facades and the highest building in Christchurch, the Grand Chancellor Hotel (left) is leaning and has to be demolished. The CBD is cordoned off and demolition now proceeds, with declared drop zones mapped should a further quake cause a damaged building to fall and bring down others.

In the words of the Mayor of Christchurch the city has been "munted"! Devastated. Building after building are being assessed by engineers and even for some buildings that might be able to be restored, owners and insurance companies are unlikely to do so. The large Copthorne Hotel in Durham Street is another that has been declared red and will be demolished.

The memorial gates to loss of life in war frames this photograph and the NZ flag hangs wet and limp. This weekend is NZ's national day of commemoration of those lost in conflicts, ANZAC DAY, and this year, these memorial gates will frame another pain, another grief as well, for many lives have been lost in this very city during a time of peace.

Rescuers from other countries including Japan, Australia, Britain and US came to help search for New Zealand's dead. For Australia and especially Japan this immediately followed or immediately preceded their own national traumatic events of destructive floods or earthquake and tsunami.

A city has been "munted" and yet the after shocks continue rocking!

Christchurch will recover but it will be a very different Christchurch.

Nick Weall on April 24, 2011

Thanks for this sad but reflective series Ian ~ Besides the obvious ~ Earthquakes and the aftershocks are such frightening things to experience ~ We live in a World of over energetic nature at present ~ Those that survive pick themselves and get on with it, but never forget.

Greg Swinfield on April 24, 2011

Oh, the irony of the flowers on the banners! But life and the city will flower again. It is hard to get my head around all the damage, and what must be done to restore the city. Great photo to sum up the state of things. Regards

Ian Stehbens on April 30, 2011

Very true, Nick. And we just have to keep learning new lessons and develop a will to apply many of the lessons wee have already learnt. But then we do enjoy taking risks. One of the sad elements of all this for the people of Christchurch was that the particular fault that ruptured was unknown, and while the building codes are strong they aren't able to cover all circumstances or address past decisions.

Thanks for appreciating the serries and reflections, Nick.



Ian Stehbens on April 30, 2011

Dear Greg,

YOu understand. One of the deep queries that beg at us all, is what will Chch look like in the future. What will remain and what will be rebuilt and waht will never be seen again. The familiar has dissolved into the uncertain.

Thanks for participating in this with me.


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Photo taken in Christchurch Central, Christchurch, New Zealand

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  • Uploaded on April 23, 2011
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    by Ian Stehbens