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)

(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)

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(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 26, 2018

The Value Of Resources Changes With Time…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The River Avon runs though the enter of Christchurch, the city dubbed the “most English” of New Zealand cities.

Leaving Cathedral Square we go the sort  distance to the river, towards Hagley Park.

There we find yet more reconstruction from after the 2010/11 earthquakes, the bridge has been repaired, river banks repaired and landscaped so that there is now a nicer sitting area here.

I looked for the wheelchair ramp and didn’t see it, had we missed it already? We didn’t serious hunt because I’m actually here to photograph the old Visitor Information building  and Scott’s statue, rather than go sit on the seats under the trees.

Before that though, there is a display with information about Christchurch’s very first settlers, the Maori. It reads:

“Home of the first peoples.
Take yourself back 700 years, when the site of Christchurch was a vast tract of wetlands. Here, where you are standing, early Maori had a settlement, Puari. These first peoples chose to live here because of the rich resources of the wetlands. They built their “whare” (houses/settlements) on the high ground along sandy teraces above the Otakaro River.

Freshwater springs on the northern boundary of the settlement provided clean water even when the river was in flood. This site gave the people easy access to fibre plants for clothing, baskets, fish traps, and cordage. Harakeke, raupō, tî kōuka grew here in abundance.

The waterways and wetlands provided fish, eels, and waterfowl. Towards the west, swamp forest provided further timber for whare and canoes.

Traces of the past. Throughout Christchurch are urupā, the burial places of the Waitaha people. Across the bridge on the site of the former library, is the urupā for Puari. Human remains barely covered by the eroding sand could still be seen here in the 1850’s.Puari, a settlement of about 800 people, was lived in by the Waitaha then by Ngāti Mamoe.”

I knew that there were Pa (village) sites around outer areas of Christchurch but even as an ex-local I didn’t know that Maori also settled directly in what is now the central city of Christchurch. Knowing that it had been swampland I assumed that it would be too boggy, and now find that this boggy area was a valuable resource instead of a hinderance. I suppose it’s a case of my thinking in modern day terms and labelling the swampy landscape as a disadvantage, rather than seeing the landscape full of advantages as it would have been in those times.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The area where the Puari lived…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below): looking towards Hagley Park, the Arts Centre and Museum…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(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 24, 2018

The Raspberry Tradition…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you ask any long term resident about going raspberry picking in the Christchurch area, one name will come quickly to the fore. “Pataka”.

This berry farm is one of the many fruit and veggies growers along Marshland Road, the home of market gardens for many a generation.

My mother used to get vegetables from Tralevens, but the lady who owned the property has long since retired and I think by now, probably passed away.

The place is now looking sadly abandoned and rather derelict.

Pataka however is still going from strength to strength and not only can you get raspberries, you can also get fresh fruit ice-creams, made from the freshly picked berries.

It’s quickly obvious that someone in the family has a pottery hobby, various pieces are on display for purchase.

They are bright, quirky and different. I like them. There are flowers in pots begging to be photographed so I amd the last one into the shed to look around before we settle our bill and leave.

The weather was rather too hot for berry picking, a wonderful 31 C / 87.8 F but we braved the sun and picked anyway.

We split up into pairs, Kiwi Daughter and I picked berries and ate as many as we picked, I took photographs of her picking and eating berries upon her request (for her Instagram friends) whilst Little Mr  (berry hater) and Himself, (eater but not fanatic) picked swiftly and didn’t eat or take photographs.

It was little surprise who filled our containers the fastest. Going berry picking has become a Kiwidutch family tradition and one both kids are especially keen to not miss. It’s a wonderful family outing and for Kiwi Daughter and I, a great exercise about who can get the most berries in our mouths, who can find the best berries (look low down on the bushes is our biggest tip) Kiwi Daughter easily won everything and we had a fabulous time. This is what Family time is about: building your own traditions and each time we carry them on the memories of former visits flood back. I still think that I ate the most berries when we were on the field, but Kiwi Daughter may have evened up the score with the berries paid for later in the car. Despite our varying tastes for fresh fruit, no one in our family blew any raspberries at this outing…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Above and below: Marshland road stalls…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Below: Pataka…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Above: Little Mr. has his hoodie up because it was a blazing hot the day we picked raspberries (31 C / 87.8 F) and his neck was already pink from earlier outdoor exposure in spite of sunblock. i.e. not enough applications. This is his effort to stop getting sunburnt because “hats are not cool”).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 23, 2018

Love It Or Hate It?

Another new-to-me statue around Christchurch is the on Main North road just by the factory that makes, or at least used to make Marmite. Looking a little like the cross between a baby Chalice  (Chalice… A Leafy Beauty. )  and a flower, I love this one too.

(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)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(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)

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