Christchurch…Before, After and Who knows what in the future…

Christchurch  (In Maori~ Ōtautahi. Although originally it was called Karaitiana which is a literal translation of Christchurch) is the city closest to our home……

The city was named by the Canterbury Association, which settled the surrounding province of Canterbury. The name of Christchurch was agreed on at the first meeting of the association on 27 March 1848. It was suggested by John Robert Godley, who had attended Christ Church, Oxford.  Although some called the town Christ Church, it was recorded as Christchurch in the minutes of the management committee of the association. Christchurch became a city by Royal Charter on 31 July 1856, making it officially the oldest established city in New Zealand. The Cathedral and the square it stands in is considered by all to be the heart of the city………………………

            On September 4th 2010 a series of events began that would bring changes of the like that no one could imagine or stop. 

For anyone who doesn’t know………….

September 4th ~ 04:35am an earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale struck.

It produced 671 kilo tons of energy. I don’t know what that means in scientific terms but it means that the building you are in shakes …A LOT!

There was widespread damage to buildings that night but by some miracle no one was killed as a direct result of the quake.

Following this there were aftershocks…buildings were demolished and for several months roads remained closed in the CBD but the city started to rebuild.

On Sunday 26th December  ~ 10.30am there was a 4.9 aftershock . 

It may not have been as big as the initial quake but it was shallower and much closer to the city and it certainly made itself felt. Buildings weakened in the initial earthquake and further weakened by the continued aftershocks  gave up their fight on this day. Ultimately it was classified as an earthquake in its own right but again there were no deaths.

The aftershocks continued, the earth shook and after thousands of aftershocks occurring the shaking became a part of everyday life.

February 22nd ~ 12:51pm 6.3 on the Richter Scale.

This produced 49 kilo tons of energy. This,like the Boxing Day quake, was again not as big as the one in  September but this time it was only 5km deep and only 5km away from the CBD of the city… the numbers meant nothing in the scheme of things. The already weakened buildings finally gave up their fight against gravity. 

 I don’t know where to begin with page….there is so much that has happened to Christchurch in the past few months it’s hard to know where to start……….so I’ll start at our beginning………………….

 There is so much that has happened to Christchurch in the past few months it’s hard to know where to start……….so I’ll start at our beginning………………….

We moved to our home near Rangiora, just outside of Christchurch, in 2005 when our boy was 3 weeks old. We chose to live here because we could have land and have the kind of lifestyle we had always wanted in the kind of place we thought would be great for a child to grow up in….I think we were right and I still believe that regardless of the events that have happened in the past months.

Christchurch was (and in many places still is) a beautiful city …. famed for its parks and gardens as well as the preoccupation of many of its inhabitants for keeping pristine gardens also….it wasn’t called the Garden City for nothing.

Now Christchurch is a city that is in bits…everywhere you look there is evidence of the power of mother nature …

The heart of the city has been decimated.

Holes opened up in the ground…… or it appeared as if it had been torn as simply as you would a piece of paper.


The Knox Church …one of the many churches destroyed in the city centre.

The Catholic Cathedral on Barbadoes Street 



I know that logically what happened wasn’t personal, it was just the Earth flexing itself…..but for so many the outcome was personal …I don’t think there can be many who have not been touched by what has happened in some way ~ pretty much everyone knows someone who knows someone…. These people were just going about their lives……….

Dr Maysoon Mahdi Abbas, 61, of Christchurch.
Lalaine Collado Agatep, 38, from the Philippines.
Dr Husam Sabar Al-Ani, 55, of Christchurch (a NZ citizen from Iraq).
Jane-Marie Alberts, 44, of Christchurch.
Mary Louise Anne Bantillo Amantillo, 23, of the Philippines.
Jayden Andrews-Howland, 15, of Aranui.
Emmabelle Cabahug Anoba, 26, of the Philippines.
Marina Arai, 19, of Japan.
Linda Isobel Arnold, 57 of Christchurch.
Dr Dominic Joseph Gerard Bell, 45 of Christchurch.
Valquin Descalsota Bensurto, 23, of the Philippines.
Heidi Julie Berg, 36, of Christchurch.
Carey Stuart Bird, 48, a NZ citizen resident in Australia.
Andrew James Llewellyn Bishop, 33, of Christchurch.
Nina Jane Bishop, 32, of Christchurch.
Pamela (Pam) Maree Brien, 54, from Christchurch.
Melanie Jane Brown, 54, of Christchurch.
Rhys Frank Brookbanks, 25, of Christchurch.
Henry Ross Bush, 75 of Christchurch.
Ivy Jane Cabunilas, 33, of the Philippines.
Yu Cai, 31, of China.
Ian Neville Caldwell, 47 of Christchurch.
Cristiano Carazo-Chandler, 35, of Christchurch.
Helen Margaret Chambers, 44 of Christchurch.
Yang Chen, 29, from China.
John Kristoffer Villegas Chua, 24, of the Philippines
.Susan Patricia Chuter, 52 of Christchurch.
Stephen Andrew Cochrane, 43, of Bromley.
Rachel Elizabeth Conley, 27, of the US.
Philip Graeme Reeve Coppeard, 41 of Christchurch.
Patrick John Coupe, 46, of Christchurch.
Donald Ashby Cowey, 82 of Christchurch.
Estelle Marie Cullen, 32 of Christchurch.
Andrew Christian Ross Craig, 46, of Christchurch.
John Barry Craig, 67, of Christchurch.
Dr Tamara Cvetanova, 42, of Serbia, resident in Christchurch.
Betty Irene Dickson, 82, of Christchurch.
Joanna Clare Didham, 35, of Christchurch.
Jennifer Ann Donaldson, 55, of Christchurch.
Paul Clarence Dunlop, 67, of Rolleston/Selwyn.
Maureen Valerie Fletcher, 75 of Christchurch.
Marielle Falardeau, 60, of Canada.
Dian Mary Falconer, 54, of Christchurch.
Adam Stephen Fisher, 27, of Belfast, Christchurch.
Ian Foldesi , 64, of Christchurch.
Jewel Jose Francisco, 26, of the Philippines.
Samuel Reese Gibb , 27, of Christchurch.
Jaime Robert McDowell Gilbert, 22, of Christchurch.
Joanne May Giles, 60, of Christchurch.
Baxtor Gowland, aged 5 months, of Christchurch.
Elizabeth Jane Grant (known as Jane), 51, of Belfast, Christchurch.
Natasha Sarah Hadfield, 38, of Kaiapoi.
Yuki Hamasaki, 23, from Japan.
Xiling Han, 25, from China.
Tamara Lia Harca, 59, from Romania, resident in Christchurch.
Jayden Harris, aged 8 months, of Christchurch.
Yuki Hasumoto, 22, of Japan.
Yumika Hata, 29, Japan.
Miki Hayasaka, 37,from Japan.
Wen He, 25, of China.
Jen/Jin Hii, 34, from Malaysia.
Marion Isabella McKirdy Hilbers, 49, of Christchurch.
Yuko Hirabyashi, 28, from Japan.
Yoshiko Hirauchi, 61 of Japan.
Christopher Grant Homan, 35, of Christchurch.
Amanda Jane Hooper, 30, of Rolleston, Christchurch.
Megumi Horita, 19, Japan.
Hifumi Hoshiba, 41, from Japan.
Siwen Huo , 28, of China.
Haruki Hyakuman, 27, Japan.
Rika Hyuga, 30, of Japan.
Toshiko Imaoka, 34, of Japan.
Thanydha Intarangkun, 36, of Thailand.
Gabi Ingel, 23, of Israel.
Tomoki Ishikuro, 19, of Japan.
Kyle Brandon Jack-Midgley, 27, from Christchurch.
Man Jin, 26, of China.
Kayo Kanamaru , 19, of Japan.
Kyoko Kawahata, 20, of Japan.
Beverley Faye Kennedy, 60, of Christchurch.
Saori Kikuda, 19, of Japan.
Yasuhiro Kitagawa, 39, Japan.
Chang Lai, 27, of China.
Wai Fong Lau, 87 of Christchurch.
Hsin Hung Lee, 32, of Taiwan.
Normand Lee, 25 of Christchurch.
Ofer Levy, 22, of Israel.
De Li, 18, of China.
Wanju Li, 44, of China.
Xia Li, 42, China.
Phimphorm Liangchuea, 41, Thailan.
Adrienne Isobel Lindsay, 54 of Christchurch.
Haruthaya Luangsurapeesakul, 32, of Thailand.
Scott William Emerson Lucy, 38, of Timaru.
Catherine McNicol Lunney, 62 of Christchurch.
Donna Merrie Manning, 43, of Christchurch.
Kelly Lynn Maynard, 43, of Christchurch.
Philip John McDonald, 57, of Ashburton.
Matthew Stuart McEachen, 25, of Christchurch.
Owen Thomas McKenna, 40 of Christchurch.
Teresa McLean (nee Elms), 40, a NZ Citizen from Great Britain, resident in Kaiapoi.
Heather Marilyn Meadows , 66, of Christchurch.
Janet Dawn Meller, 58, of Christchurch.
Adrienne Meredith, 36, of Christchurch.
Ofer Binyamin Mizrahi, 22 of Israel.
Kelsey Sinitta Moore, 18 of Christchurch.
Emi Murakami, 19, of Japan.
Jillian Lesley Murphy, 48 of Christchurch.
Melissa Ann Neale, 42, of Wellington.
Erica Avir Reyes Nora , 20, of Phillipines.
Blair James O’Connor, 34, of Christchurch.
John Joseph O’Connor, 40, of Ireland.
Noriko Otsubo, 41, of Japan.
Linda Rosemary Parker, 50, of Christchurch.
Joseph Tehau Pohio , 40, of Christchurch.
Taneysha Gail Prattley, 5 weeks, of Christchurch.
Wanpen Preeklang, 45, of Thailand.
Jessie Lloyd Redoble, 30, of the Philippines.
Deborah Ann Roberts, 39, of Christchurch.
Joseph Stuart Routledge (known as Stuart), 74 of Christchurch.
Lucy Routledge, 74, of Christchurch.
Saya Sakuda, 19, of Japan.
Yoko Sakurai, 27, of Japan.
Jeff Pelesa Sanft, 32, of Christchurch.
Gillian Sayers, 43, of Christchurch.
Susan Lyn Selway, 50, of Christchurch.
Emma Shaharudin, 35, of Lincoln, Christchurch.
Allan Alexander Sinclair, 46, of Christchurch.
Christopher Patrick Smith, 48 of Selwyn.
Christine Patricia (Trish) Stephenson, 61, of Christchurch.
Reta Stewart, 71, of Christchurch. Beverley May Stick, 71, of Christchurch.
Earl Nicholas Stick, 78, of Christchurch.
Neil Glyn Stocker, 58, of Timaru.
Michael Stuart Coulter Styant, 41, of Christchurch.
Yoko Suzuki, 31, of Japan.
Te Taki (Wally) Tairakena, 60, of Christchurch.
Hiroko Tamano, 43, from Japan.
Desley Ann Thomson, 32 of Christchurch.
Lesley Jane Thomson, 55, of Christchurch.
Isaac James Thompson, 21, of Rangiora.
Gregory James Tobin, 25 of Christchurch.
Shane Robert Tomlin, 42 of Christchurch.
Asuka Tsuchihashi, 28, Japan.
Hui Yun Tu, 22, of China.
Yurika Uchihira, 19, of Japan.
Amanda Jayne (Mandy) Uriao, 38, of Christchurch.
Limin Wang, 32, from China.
Tao Wang, 29, of China.
Brian Warrington Taylor, 66, of Christchurch.
Julie Kathryn Wong, 37, of Christchurch (dual UK and NZ citizenship).
Joan Dorothy Weild, 76, of Christchurch.
Graham Weild, 77, of Christchurch.
Lisa Patricia Willems, 43 of Christchurch.
Murray John Wood, 57, Christchurch.
Siriphan Wongbunngam, 27 of Thailand.
Jittra Waithayatadapong, 40, of Thailand.
Owen Morris Wright, 40, of Lyttelton.
Stephen Robert Wright , 46, Christchurch.
Paul Khye Soon Wu, 60, of Christchurch.
Sisi Xin, 28, of China.
Linlin Xu, 26, of China.
Ayako Yamaguchi, 30, of Japan.
Didem Yaman, 31, of Turkey.
Mina Yamatani, 19, of Japan.
Caiying Ye , 27 of China.
Saki Yokota, 19, of Japan.
Gilhwan Yu, 24, of Korea Naon Yu , 21, of South Korea.
Hui Zhang , 34, China.
Weiyu Zhang, 30, of China.
Yantao Zhong, 31, of China


As someone said to me recently, Christchurch will be like the Phoenix rising from the ashes…it is a living breathing entity and it will live and breathe again as vibrantly as it did before….all we need is for Mother Nature to stop with the shaking….everytime the poor bods who are trying to put things back together take a step forward dear old Mother N gives the city another shake by the scruff of its neck and buggers up something else!

It will, no doubt, take a long time before that happens but it will happen and I like the thought of’s comforting at a time when there is so much distress. No matter what happens with the city in the future those people above will never be forgotten.

We’ve had some fairly big shakes over the past few months …this page will no doubt be edited as I think of other things I want to add…or there is anything else to add (I’m hoping that’s not the case!)

Wednesday 25th May 2011

A decision was made today on the status of the Hotel – Grand Chancellor. This is the tallest building in Christchurch and has been on a lean since the Earthquake in February (they pumped loads of concrete under it and it hasn’t moved since but it’s like Christchurch’s own version of the leaning tower!)……it is going to be demolished.

Actually that’s not completely true – rather than demolish it they are going to “de-construct” it. It is going to be taken down floor by floor over, what they reckon, could be anything up to a year (it’s a lot of building to de-construct) and it’s being said the largest demolition job ever carried out in New Zealand. The technical assessments have to be made but once they get this building down they can start getting on with the rest of things because my perception of it is (and I may be wrong) that the hotel is what is keeping much of the central city out of bounds because of the risk it poses.

I was thinking about this as it was on the news today ….that’s going to be something very visual for us all but in a strange way it is almost symbolic – it’s about starting the move forward to Christchurch rising up once more…although I think it’s going to be a rather shorter in stature city from now on…the consensus seems to be amongst everyone I’ve ever spoken to that the rebuilding of Christchurch should be on a much lower level building wise…here’s hoping the powers that be agree.

Saturday 28th May 2011

Today it’s news headlines…the Cathedral is under review. It appears that after assessments the damage done to the structure during the February earthquake is considerably more than they thought….considerably more.

 There are going to be lots of discussions whether it can be rebuilt or will need to be demolished!!! 

We’ll all be watching this with interest.

Monday 13th June 2011.

Well here we go again…more shakes …a 5.5 and a 6 amongst them….10 in the space of a few hours.

The Eastern suburbs have had it hard again with more power outages and liquifaction bubbling up through the ground again. They’ve only just got some semblance of order after February and now the clean up has to start again.

We are out of the city but it rocked our house …I was working last night but it woke me up which is always an indication of something significant because not much does!

We’ll see what the next few months bring because lets face no one knows and the saying Terra Firma no longer applies. 

Tuesday 14th June 2011

Yesterday’s quake has now been upgraded to a 6.3. It seems like it’s all back to square one …liquifaction everywhere, water everywhere, drains broken, water off , power off and no sewerage because everything is munted.

Flooding in the Eastern suburb streets after the 6.3 earthquake.These are not rivers in this picture…these are roads full of liquifaction.

Damage to Christchurch Cathedral after the 6.3 earthquake.

The  Cathedral has lost 50% of it’s wall and the Rose window was destroyed when it fell into the building.

 Wednesday 26th October 2011

We took a drive into Christchurch today as we had a house guest. We needed to go shopping (big shop) and so thought it would serve a dual purpose. It’s hard to imagine the damage caused just from pictures but walking around he was able to getting a greater sense of the destruction that had been caused in those few minutes of intense shakes and the constant aftershocks since September 4th 2010. 

From our point of view it was an opportunity to actually have a look around the city and see what has actually changed …because sometimes you don’t really look when it’s there all the time.

The areas of space are being increased in the city as damaged buildings are demolished and cleared.

The Hotel Grand Chancellor will soon begin it’s descent to ground level as it’s demolished floor by floor.

They estimate it will take 10 months to a year for this to be completed.

It’s not all doom and gloom …it’s the beginning of Christchurch’s recovery and there has been renewed buildings in the city centre

So begins the rebuilding of Christchurch………………………

December 23rd 2011– Well Mother Nature surpassed herself today …..there is a fault just off South New Brighton….and around this there were a series of earthquakes flooding roads, damaging some buildings and forcing officials to evacuate shopping malls…… two days before Christmas.

Thankfully there no fatalities  but I believe there were a few injuries and there was damage to homes and cliff and rock falls reported following the tremors. The first was a 5.8 at 1:58p.m, 8 minutes later there was a 5.3. The earth shook and the house trembled almost continually and then at 3:18pm there was another at 6 magnitude and shook our world once again….and so it goes on…and so do we.

So things continue …and what the future holds …well we’ve got idea but we decided that we hoped it didn’t involve rocking around the Christmas tree literally this year !!!

A year on……

Today is a year on since Christchurch was struck by the massive earthquake that rocked our world…literally.

So much changed at 12:51pm a year ago today 185 lives were taken, so many more people were injured.

In addition to that the aftershocks have gone on and continue to go on…12 months and thousands of aftershocks (indeed over 10,000 to date)…we are apparently experiencing a phenomena we would really rather not be part of.

Life goes on, buildings have been demolished, buildings are being repaired, roads still have that undulating quality that was created exclusively for us by dear Mother Earth….

It’s an interesting time for Christchurch – what  will the new Christchurch look like where will things go from here…..there is still that thought in the back of everyone’s mind is there any more..the longer things go on the more people feel like things can move forward except every now and again we get a little shake to remind us who is really in charge.

So many people did such courageous things on that day and in the days following …to quote our Prime Minister John Key….

“In the worst of times the best of human spirit was on display”

Mr Key how very right you are.


“You know you’re from Christchurch when”…….find them and just how Cantabrians can find something to smile about here …………

Well the year anniversary has passed it was a weird day …I drove home from work in the morning….and cried most of the way! I was listening to the radio in the car and there were interviews with people who had been in the thick of things – pulling people from the rubble, desperately trying to preserve life.

It was amazing to listen to some of the stories but so emotional…goodness knows what people would have thought if they had actually looked at me…although possibly there were others doing exactly the same thing (strange isn’t it how being in a car, although it’s so public, can make you feel so isolated from the rest of the world…….

So for 40 minutes I drove… and listened… and cried…..and do you know what – it felt OK………… was cathartic … it was liberating…it was great!

Think that says it all really …

Here’s hoping this page doesn’t have anything more on it now than the developments in the recovery and rebuild of Christchurch and  today really is a new beginning and the start of a Happy New Year.

Still no place else I’d rather be….

Kia Kaha Christchurch   x x x

4th September 2012

Do you think Mother Nature was sending a message…..I remember x

Recap of the last couple of years..recovery has started so although it’s been stressful it’s not all doom and gloom.


Things move on and time passes so quickly in some ways and stands still in others…..Christchurch it seems is more in rebuilding mode now…demolition still goes on of course but there is more evidence of buildings going up than coming down.

The city centre is still broken in so many ways and yet repairing in so many ways…it’s weird to see.  It was a life changing experience and once I would hope noone never has to experience ….alas I know that is something that is very likely to happen…somewhere on this planet we call home.

I will come here every year and in between and just add to this page hopefully  with lots of positives and with pictures of how our wonderful city is changing and taking shape as time goes by…

Actually I wrote something last night (10th September 2013) …mother nature decided she would interfere…huge winds and the electricity put for the night put paid to that idea …so I’ll start again….. 

Despite the fact that Christchurch has gaps and lots of grey areas the artistic community has stepped in a made the place more colourful…filling the spaces until something comes along…so even though there are buildings being taken down there is still colour and life out there…

Tree Art in ChristchurchTree wearing it’s high-vis vest (you see a lot of them around at the moment!!)

If you have an empty lot…turn it into a monopoly square…naturally!

Containers are everywhere as barriers to stop falling rocks or buildings from coming onto the roads….they don’t have to be boring though 


Pallets..gotta love them….

Some of the libraries were destroyed…so were a lot of buildings and the fridges were no good for food anymore…so what to do….Turn it into a library…read a book / leave a book…and take a load off while you do… PERFECT!!


So it’s not all doom and gloom…in fact if you walk around Christchurch now it’s a pretty colourful place thanks to the art community. The Lights of Hope may have stopped now but that’s because there are other things to look up to now and it’s looking rosy .




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