Local Heart, Global Soul

October 3, 2018

Shining Light On A Valued Contribution…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Many of our Christchurch family and friends have moved house in recent years.

Some, like my father and step-mother, have downsized into a property with a garden the fraction of the size (and upkeep), others got sick of the cracks and myriad of small damage in their old places and opted for something newer, better insulated and doesn’t have a thick file of insurance claims on it.

The more than six thousand homes that have been demolished in the Red Zones have needed to replaced for the occupants elsewhere.

Subdivisions have sprung up in and around the north west corner of the city, Rangiora has doubled in size, so have areas along the Main South Road /State Highway One to the south of the city.

The area around Marshlands towards the old QEII Stadium has also been redeveloped, and whilst visiting friends in this area, we were taken for a tour of the new neighbourhood. One of the things they pointed out had been recently installed and dedicated by the Polish Ambassador: a memorial lamp post in memory of the Polish settlers here. The street nearby is also named “Polish Settlers Street” in honor of the people who worked to drain the land here. Like our friends who moved here and found this, I had no idea that Polish people had been living and working here in Christchurch as early as 1872. It just goes to show that even a brand new subdivision can hold hidden secrets about a city that you think you know well, but really only know a tiny amount about.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 2, 2018

Process And Progress Of Construction…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and continued our January 2018 drive around the Christchurch Red Zone.

In total more than six thousand homes were removed from land that suffered subsidence, liquefaction and other geological damage.

The result for me is eerie, I remember some of the former landmarks, but it’s the street after street of land devoid of buildings, and amongst them places belonging to friends and family that seems strange.

The trees on the former house sections have been left intact, useful because it is the intention to fix this land by redeveloping the soil levels and compacting the ground to even it out and make it stronger against future quakes.

It would then later be ready for future redevelopment back as residential use once more.

To that end we start to see the repair of major roads with the new inclusion of cycle-paths, something that was put very high on the Christchurch residents wish-list when it came to suggestions on the city rebuild. Sometime in the future this landscape will not be so bare, so this is like a diary account so that I can track the process and progress of construction.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 1, 2018

Knowing But Not Knowing Where I Am In The Red Zone…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Christchurch Red Zone has been transformed since the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 decimated the land.

Liquefaction not only polluted the ground but created raised or lowered areas like craters and gully’s from centimetres to meters in length and breadth.

Water offers least resistance to earthquake shockwaves so the rivers were the first “exit points” of the earth’s stress and land directly along the banks of the River Avon in the Redwood area rose up to one and a half meters.

The land slightly further away from the banks though, subsided considerably, creating a structure where the bed of the river was higher than the surrounding land, so any drop of rain would cause flooding in areas surrounding the river.

Pockets of land from centimetres to meters fell enough to make giant potholes, liquefaction made the land even more uneven, and homes in the entire area suddenly had sloping floors, sometime in more than one direction in the same room.

Door frames warped and wouldn’t shut.

Both the sections and homes were covered in cracks, roofs leaked from a myriad of broken tiles and repairs were deemed to cost more than rebuilding. Owners were told to let the Government buy their homes for the Official Valuation price, and told to move elsewhere.

It was not really a choice, more of “an offer they couldn’t refuse”. Owners who had done a lot of work to improve their properties since the last Government Valuation lost out, those who had done nothing, generally gained, sometimes considerably.

As expected there were legal battles and much argument. In the end though, entire suburbs are deemed to be in the Red Zone (meaning repair was not possible and demolition the only option) so it was a “Fait accompli” and the fate of their homes was sealed wither they liked it or not. I took photographs of the former home of my Grandparents before the demolition, https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/new-597/ A House That Will Almost Literally be Here Today and Gone Tomorrow… Now there were so few signs left to mark where things were, we couldn’t even find their old street any more, let alone the place where the house once stood. Little rectangles of trees showed us the boundaries of many of the properties, beyond that it was hard to get your bearings. We may have been unable to find the home of my Grandparents, but at least it lives on in the many fond memories in my heart.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(above: the cars are parked where the old Burwood Bowling Club parking area used to be. The lovely little brick building is gone.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 27, 2018

Robert Falcon Scott, As Sculpted By His Wife…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is the statue of Robert Falcon Scott, the Antarctic explorer who lost the race to be first to the South Pole and who, with his team of men, perished on the ice.

The statue was damaged in the 2010/11 earthquakes and after breaking in half needed extensive restoration.

In these photographs Scott is missing the staff that he was holding in his right hand. What makes this statue especially notable is that is was sculpted by his wife, Kathleen Scott, in Italy in Carrara marble and it bought out to New Zealand after the end of the First World War.
Wikipedia tell me that;

“The inscription on the plinth, which is one of his last diary entries, reads:

‘I do not regret this journey, which shows
that Englishmen can endure hardships,
help one another, and meet death with
as great fortitude as ever in the past.”

The inscription had become illegible by 1922 and a separate marble plaque with this text was installed at the entrance to the reserve. Another plaque lists the names of the five men who died.”

The link to the Wiki page shows both the broken statue and it in it’s original state, with the staff in his hand. (it looks more “complete” with the staff in my opinion).

I’ve taken multiple views of the statue for my artistic inspiration files.

Wikipedia / Robert Falcon Scott / Statue / Christchurch / New Zealand
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Statue

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 25, 2018

Christchurch Cycling: The Path Of The Future…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, a webpage was put up by the Christchurch City Council where people could contribute ideas for how the “new” Christchurch would look, feel and work.

The ideas poured in in the thousands, practical, weird, wacky I think everything was there.

Of course the Council’s budget was stretched thin after the quakes so many were just too expensive but there were however a ton of very well thought out ideas, many with accompanying drawings and artwork.

These were ideas that local residents hoped would not just rejuvenate the decimated city, but also set it on the map as a new, innovative, safe, forward looking place to live and visit.

Christchurch residents wanted to not just rebuild Christchurch but to grab the opportunity to rebuild a city with improvements that were functional and practical.  Keenly interested in what was happening in my old home town, I read this public forum of ideas whilst it stood open, wondering which ideas would be implemented.

At the time it was difficult to imagine how the city close to my heart could possibly recover when it stood looking so broken, but seeing the contributions made me realise that many other people were equally concerned that somehow the “New’ Christchurch should be a the silver lining to the tragedy that had befallen the South Island’s biggest city.

Christchurch is the only large New Zealand city that is almost completely flat (the outer suburbs on the Port Hills excepted) so it was brilliant for me to see that several ideas popped up in the survey of ideas over an over and over and over again: The request for cycle paths set apart from regular road traffic and for the city to be as “Green” as possible.

My cousin told us during our 2013/14 Christmas trip that several people from the city council had come to meet with Dutch city planners and experts on cycle paths here in the Netherlands but that not much had been heard at the time about if, how, when or where cycle paths would be implemented. Many feared that there would be token gesture instead of the extensive network that was hoped for. Light rail, electric trams were other alternative ideas that were lobbied  because there are now so many people living further out from the central city and of course the completely demolished suburbs in “red zones”. (More on those in a post coming very soon).

Now, during our visit of January 2018 I was delighted to see evidence of these requested cycle paths springing up as a network in the city. I have no clue how far it all extends from the central city area but this at least is in my eyes very positive start. It also meets the “Green” request of local people whilst providing a safe way for people to commute around the city and get exercise. For the Council it would cut down on the numbers of vehicles in the central city so surely this idea would have been a no-brainer from the very start. One thing is for certain, Christchurch’s cycleways are the new healthy, green transport option, and a definite path to the future.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 22, 2018

City Overview For Future Reference…

Himself and I continue our look around the central city of Christchurch, I’m taking photographs of many streets as we go so that I have reference material once the new buildings are in place. It also brings back memories from when I grew up in New Zealand.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 21, 2018

Placing A Tree Outside The Box…

Whilst photographing the rebuilding of Christchurch during our New Zealand visit of December 2017/ January 2018, I often see the unexpected. It’s the little things, the quirky and imaginative that catches my eye. In this instance it’s one solitary tree and the fence surrounding it. A fine specimen of the tree too, resplendent in it’s Sumner dress of green leaves. Wisely the owners wanted to keep this tree, and to keep it from harm whilst heavy machinery like diggers made the foundations to the new house, whilst scaffolding poles were being wielded around and the like. Usually what a contractor does is  build a fence around the property and tell the workers to try and be careful. In this instance the contractor made doubly sure that there would be no damage by literally thinking outside of the box… and placing the fence between the tree and the construction taking place. What a brilliant idea! I also love that not only have they done this, but there is also a bench there too, so passers-by can stop and take a rest under the wide leafy boughs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 20, 2018

Christchurch Normal School Survives…

As soon as you turn out of Cranmer Square on the Cranmer Street One Way system,  you can see the historic building of the “normal School” one block further up. As I explained in a previous post: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/?s=cramner   Cramner Courts: The Wrecking Ball Becomes a Hot Potato…

“‘Normal’ or ‘model’ schools are schools that provide teacher trainees with the opportunity to observe teachers and classes in action in a normal school environment. Christchurch Normal School was the first of this type in Canterbury, opening in 1876,  just after one in Otago.”

This building seems to have had a lot of earthquake strengthening before the quakes and appears o have withstood them with little damage, That said, I am of course only a casual observer passing by and know nothing of what may or may not be extensive damage in this beautiful building. At least it’s not a pile of rubble or  vacant plot of land like it’s sister building the Cranmer Courts one block further down the road. These photographs are also for my arty reference files the line and textures beg to be drawn. Gothic architecture is stunning and this beautiful building in the style is no exception.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 19, 2018

Cramner Courts; The Inevitable…

One set buildings I hoped would be saved after the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, were the beautiful Cramner Courts buildings on the northern end of Cranmer Square. I wrote a post about it here: https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/new-848/ Cramner Courts: The Wrecking Ball Becomes a Hot Potato…
Sadly the inevitable happened and when I photographed the site in January 2018, this is what I found: a mostly empty site but evidence that preparations were being made for a large modern building. (the building with the light blue windows and the smaller buildings with the grey roofs are actually set back further than they seem from this camera angle.)

The empty section was difficult to photograph because we were the lead car in our lane going though the series of bends that the One Way street takes, and we had other vehicles next to and behind us. The shape of the modern building distinctly echo’s the of the historic building it replaces, with a round room on the corner, just as the previous one had had and triangle shapes in the roof line in almost exactly the same place as the old building too. The white building across the road from the Cramner Court was called Chateau Blanc and belonged to the Clarion Hotel chain (also documented in the post above), is to my amazement now completely gone, only the small hedge and tiny piece of white wall remains. It will be interesting to see what happens with this plot of land too. There are at least on one side, literal and physical “developments”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We have turned out of Cranmer Square and are headed towards Victoria Street…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 18, 2018

History On The Rails…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The trams that run in the centre of Christchurch are vintage trams that have been lovingly restored to their former glory. 

I’ve been on them and both the inside and outsides are beautiful, and spotless. 

I see from the sign on one of them that it’s an Invercargill tram, and suddenly realise I have no clue which New Zealand cities had trams around the turn of the 20th Century.

I know that Christchurch had a tram system but then the rails were removed, now they are back (in a limited form) to take tourists around the city centre. Wikipedia tells us that:

steam and horse trams from 1882. Electric trams ran from 1905 to 1954, when the last line to Papanui was replaced by buses in 1954. A few lines were reopened in the city in 1995. The track is standard gauge, 1,435 mm (4 ft. 8 1⁄2 in).”

There is now a 2.5-kilometre (1.6 mi) central city loop heritage tram system, opened in February 1995 and running all year round, as well as a 1.4-kilometre (0.87 mi) extension opened in February 2015 and a tram museum at the Ferrymead Heritage Park with operating trams.

The extension is part of an additional loop planned and partially constructed during late 2000s, and a new strategy report by Jan Gehl commissioned for Council and published in early 2010 suggested an extension of the tram system (and integration of the trams into the general public transport system) as one of a package of measures aimed at reducing car-dominance in the city.”

“In response to the major earthquakes of 2010/11 the Central City Plan adopted by the Christchurch City Council calls for the establishment of a light-rail network in Christchurch.

Initially a line between the central city and the University of Canterbury would be built at a cost of $406m to trial the idea while a study would be conducted to assess the feasibility of extending the network to other destinations such as Christchurch International Airport, Hornby, Lyttelton, Northlands Mall, and New Brighton. Heritage tram services would remain in the central city but that operation is under review pending decisions on when it will be safe to repair the infrastructure and run services but also options for linking it with public transport services.”

The Wikipedia link at the bottom of this post documents every stage of the early Christchurch trams, well worth a look if you like trams and social history. These are beautiful carriages and I hope to see tram lines extended all over the city.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch_tramway_system
Wikipedia / Christchurch tramway system / New Zealand

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