Sunday, 8 December 2013
Days 12 and 13, Visit to Christchurch
After a lazy Saturday morning we headed off to Christchurch, about 1.5 hours away to meet up with fellow #Nuffield13 scholar and friend Natasha king, for a look around the devastation caused by the earthquake here in February 2011. The clock actually stopped working at the time the quake hit.
The centre had been cleaned up now but there are spaces all over where building used to stand. It was a little like driving through a war torn city, without the bullet holes everywhere.
But in true Kiwi style adaptation occurs and a new mall downtown, affectionately known as the 'Container Mall' was constructed. It is literally just that, shipping containers, welded together, glazed and with shops inside them. There were clothes shops, gift shops, sport shops, coffee shops and outdoor shops. They even had one decked out as a loo stop!
It was very strange experience walking around in the desolation but seeing new projects and new ideas and opportunities come to light. I guess its a bit like a Nuffield Scholarship. It makes you reassess what you are doing, how and why, then what can you construct out of everything you have learnt. The run up to Christmas was also very odd, walking around in the sunshine wearing shorts and cap listening to Christmas carols and buskers tunefully plying their trade.
On Sunday morning we left after a lovely breakfast in the Old Vicarage and headed back to the country, through some tremendous storms. We went up to look across the Rakaia river which was starting to swell up. All of the water falling over the mountain on the west of the country ends up heading east and straight out to sea. If the flood waters could be captured for just one day, it would service all of the irrigation water required by the Canterbury Plains. Now that would be a vast irrigation pond! I have no doubt that the farmers here will already be planning it as a collaborative group to fund it themselves, not relying on any support from Government. If it's right for the business then just get on and do it.