Day 20: To Christchurch

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Before heading south to Christchurch, we drove up the bay in Kaikoura to see the fur seal colony there. They weren’t doing very much this morning!

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We arrived in Christchurch in time for lunch at our hotel, then walked to the iSite office to see what we could do in the afternoon. Settled for a one-hour bus tour with a commentary which highlighted the devastation of the 2011 earthquake. You can also get around on the tram, but the bus takes you further afield.

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The heart of this city has been ripped apart; even when you see buildings still standing, you are told they are due for demolition, or maybe someone will find the money to stabilise the foundations, who knows? Individuals living in Christchurch are now having to sue builders for shoddy work done immediatedly after the earthquake, and many simply left the city. Five years later and insurance companies are still playing hard. Part of the east side of the city is now officially below sea level, so no building is allowed there at all.

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The containers (photo above) are used to prop up the buildings, in this case the Catholic cathedral. And these white chairs (photo below) are a memorial to the 185 victims of the earthquake; the chairs came from their homes. So much of the city is now flattened wasteland, waiting for something to happen. In the meantime, these spaces are used as parking lots.

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Christchurch though is not as depressing as it could be! All around the city centre are huge sculptures and murals which brighten up the view.

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« Day 19: Kaikoura

Day 21: Christchurch »

© Helen Gray 2021