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Christchurch – a sad and devastated city – 2014

Recently when I was in New Zealand before climbing mountains I flew into Christchurch from Sydney. I was keen to see the how the city was recovering from the devastation of the earthquakes several years ago.

As soon as I got there and got to my hotel I was immediately struck by the fact that the recovery was a very slow process. It had been about 4 years since the enormous earthquakes that ripped the soul out of that place and I could see it was a long way from being repaired. Where I stayed, probably 1 in 3 houses were abandoned and boarded up. Businesses gone. People gone.

The absence of people was incredibly obvious. I grew up in a town with 7000 people in it. Christchurch felt like it had less people than the small country town I grew up in. Beautiful parks completely abandoned. It was so very sad. The people that had stayed there were the loveliest people, but you could tell that they’d felt pain.

Christchurch depressed the shit out of me. I felt so sorry for all the families that were touched by tragedy.  I couldn’t wait to leave. It just felt like what I would imagine a town would feel like if it had gone through war. It was so sad.

Below is a snapshot of (mostly) street art that I saw while I was there.

CHristchurch art

Christchurch was littered with street art. Most of it showing the brave artistic outpouring of its residents

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These weird horse things were all over the place

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An absolutely massive mural on brick

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Another massive and vibrant mural. Car not edited out for perspective. Stunning.

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Absolute carnage from the earthquakes, years later still destruction everywhere

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A rare piece of beauty to lighten my mood.

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More weird horse things. A delightful park completely devoid of people

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More devastation.

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Whole precincts just fenced off, years later.

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A small reminder in the middle of the city

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Another city square almost completely barren with no humans around.

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This massive church in the centre of town was just smashed.

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Where are the people. This was 11:00 am right in the middle of Christchurch.

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Lets hope so guys.

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If this was Melbourne you wouldn’t get a seat. Lunch time in Christchurch is a different prospect.

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Middle of Christchurch. No kids or adults around, just the sound of the machines in the background.

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Workmen in the distance were a common sight in the middle of the city.

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Street art such as this was a constant reminder, and quite unnerving to be honest.

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Not the best of photographs, but I was astounded how empty this place was. Shops on the right, people no-where

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Lets hope this mythical guy can banish the earthquakes for good.

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A massive mural

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Sadness

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Not sure what this is about.

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Every cloud has a silver lining. Many of Christchurch’s citizens moved to Australia, hopefully things turn out better for them. No one deserves to go through what they did.

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This was everywhere. Houses abandoned, fenced off to the public. Literally every third or fourth house was like this in some parts of the suburbs

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I stood and stared at this for a few minutes just soaking up the emotion that went into the drawing. Thats when I decided to just go home to my hotel – sad and rattled. I couldn’t wait to get out of Christchurch.