Saturday, February 22, 2014

Three years on

It's nice to be back in Christcurch again this year for the anniversary of the devastating earthquake that rocked our city three years ago. Although some of the details of that day are beginning to fade, it is something I will never forget. We went into the memorial service in the botanic gardens today, it was a lovely spot for it on a hot day.

Last weekend I retraced my footsteps from the moments before the earthquake for the first time since that day. This has only been possible for the last six months or so when the red zone cordon was finally taken down. There are still quite a few fences and shipping containers still up - though times are changing, and some are around new buildings.

Here are some photos I took, to document what it is like now. I couldn't retrace my exact path due to the fences and shipping containers that are still up, but this is fairly close. The phrase that come to mind afterwards was 'there but for the grace of God go I'.

I had parked in the carpark at the Crossing, and bought some sushi for lunch which I still had with me, which came in handy later on.

 Cashel mall - Glassons and the Westpac tower once stood here.

 High Street.

It was nice to see some signs of life returning to this part of High street. This heritage building has been restored to it's original beauty, and the new Strange's building next to it appears to be progressing well.

The site of the old Ruben Blades building which was badly damaged during the quake.

High and Manchester street, with the containers holding up what's left of the Excelsior facade.

The site of the old ANZ chambers building, which completely collapsed during the shaking. This one one of my favourite buildings, so it was sad to hear of its fate.

McKenzie & Willis building on Tuam street. There were wire fences in front of it on the day - I remember thinking as I walked along side them after crossing the street if you were supposed to walk right next to them... little did I know.

After popping into Harakeke, I walked back up the other side of High street.

Standing at these lights waiting to cross, I didn't realise at the time I would be one of the last people to see the old ANZ chambers building still standing.

 Majestic House on Manchester Street.

Bedford Row - after where I'd been the previous for the previous ten minutes, this wasn't a bad place to be for the quake.

As I remember the terrible events of that day, my thoughts are with those that lost loved ones, those that were injured and those whose houses and businesses were badly damaged. I don't think anyone comprehended the scale of what had happened, I couldn't. I remember thinking that it would be a lot longer than last time before we were allowed back in the central city, but I was thinking it would be months, not years. I have wanted to do an update on the buildings I showed in this post a week after the September quake ever since then. I've got some updated photos, so once I have the rest, I will do a post with them.

Three years on, I hope that those who are still struggling with insurance issues get some answers and closure soon, so they can move on with their lives.

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