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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

TRAVEL: Christchurch, New Zealand - A Broken City

On 22nd February 2011 at 12:51pm, Christchurch was hit by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake which resulted in the death of 181 people and many more injuries.  The earthquake caused widespread damage in the city centre and outer suburbs.  I was very apprehensive about my trip to Christchurch as I'd heard that it was still in fact a ghost town but I thought 3 years in surely it couldn't be that bad, could it? I couldn't have been more wrong.

On arriving, the city didn't look so bad but as we headed further into the centre we saw how much damage there was and how broken the city was.  There are buildings that are half fallen down which are yet to be demolished and re-built, shops have been deserted and left exactly the same just covered in dust.  The city centre was so empty and quiet, it had a real eerie feel to it, was very said.  They have started to renovate the centre by turning shipping containers into a shopping mall and caf├ęs, it's very quirky and looks great but I just couldn't understand why more of the city isn't like that.  It's very odd that the city hasn't moved on since the earthquake, are they scared to re-build in case it happens again?

Alongside the container shopping mall, they have made various art installations around the city, one being 181 white chairs that represent those who died and they have also constructed a cardboard cathedral which cost the city $4 million, aesthetically it looks great but I can't see how it's aiding the city and all that money could have re-built so much. 

I was originally meant to be staying two nights but I realised I couldn't stay that long, I just didn't like the feel of the place, it felt so empty and not like a city should feel like.  I hope the city does re-invent itself soon as it's such a shame to be left in that state, would love to visit again in a few years to see the change.

Read my full review of the Kiwi Experience bus here.

Have you visited Christchurch? Would love to know what you thought.

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