Christchurch is Quietly Reinventing Itself
“No one knew there were fault lines under Christchurch – not until it was too late. Now, six years after the earthquake that left 186 dead and destroyed huge swathes of this most British of New Zealand cities, the pain is still there but so, too, is a new optimism,” Mark Palmer reports for the Daily Mail. “Rebuilding has meant rebranding.”
“The quaint tram still wiggles its way past Cranmer and Latimer Squares and along the Avon River, with the hatted driver making references to the ‘mother country’, but everywhere you look new initiatives flourish,” Palmer writes.
“We visit a community garden project where in return for fresh vegetables, homeless people are tasked with weeding the beds; walls and sides of damaged buildings are canvases for artists and spray-painters; temporary bars and shops operate out of metal containers and the origami ‘cardboard cathedral’ looks like it will become a permanent structure.
“Christchurch is quietly reinventing itself – but with a great deal of soul-searching.
“Thankfully, New Regent Street (built in Spanish Mission style in 1932) survived the horror and thrives. Ice cream of the highest calibre can be found here.
“Then there’s C1 Espresso, another symbol of the new Christchurch. Housed in the old Post Office, recycled materials fill the interior and food arrives through pneumatic tubes with your name on it as if receiving a parcel through the post.
“A gimmick? Yes, but here in Christchurch it’s strangely moving, a reminder that the gift of life is the best parcel of all.”
Original article by Mark Palmer, Daily Mail, November 17, 2017.