10 years on and still Christchurch's scars are visible
Feb 16, 2020 | By: Claire Benson Photography
You'll be forgiven for not recognising some of these photos as of a New Zealand city. It had been over 10 years since I'd last visited Christchurch, New Zealand and pretty much ten years since the series of earthquakes caused devastation to the city and surrounding area of the Canterbury Plains, with the loss of 180 lives in the February 22nd 2011 aftershock.
I always loved the city, travelling down for work with both DB Breweries and Hawke's Bay Tourism. So it came as a bit of a shock when I struggled to recognise the city I had so much fondness for.
Paul and I arrived a week before Christmas, still jet-lagged but keen to explore and see as much as we could in the four days we were there. Staying in an Airbnb in Merivale, we were close to the city, Hegley Park and some fantastic eating places, including Vic's Place - breakfasts and the coffee were amazing!
We covered the city on foot, headed out to the French-influenced town of Akaroa to try and spot the rare Hector dolphin and full embraced a wine tour, tasting the best offerings from the stunning Waipara valley including Waipara Hills Winery.
Walking the city was the best way to capture the real essence of where the city is now. There is still a lot of redevelopment happening, and it is quite heart-breaking to see all the empty lots and boarded-up buildings. The Cathedral is still in disrepair, and big metal girders hold up historic structures. Mixed with this are new, shining buildings and amazing pieces of art.
One of our favourite places was the Riverside Market. It embodies this new spirit of Christchurch, communal eating, social spaces and a vibrant range of food and drink operators, intent on defining a new future for themselves and the city.
Christchurch has changed, you can't escape a sense of sadness, but it is also a resilient city and proud - hear's to you Christchurch and thank you for the memories. Xx