Leaving New Zealand

Hello readers!  Happy belated holiday season and new year to you!  I have been taking a vacation from my vacation and, sadly, let myself get very behind in blogging.  In the spirit of new year’s resolutions, I’ve put together this final post about New Zealand.

On February 22, 2011, a devastating earthquake struck Christchurch.  Today, much of the central business district still needs to be torn down and rebuilt, and aftershocks above magnitude 5.0 still hit the Christchurch area.  Below are some pictures from the CBD.

It is an unnerving experience to walk the fences around the CBD and see the abandoned office buildings and empty stores.  Where there is no obvious external damage, it seems like an alien abduction has taken away all the workers.  The reality is that all of these buildings, whether wrecked or gleaming, are unsafe and must be demolished.

And yet, it is possible to find pockets of light and activity in the city.  The Container Mall, a pop-up shopping center made of brightly colored shipping containers, has created a space for residents to stroll around and shop.  The botanic gardens and Canterbury Museum both offer a refreshing escape within the city.

Leaving Christchurch, I also left New Zealand.  And like so many who continue to send sewn hearts to a struggling city, I cannot imagine leaving it behind.  I hope for renewal and peace for Christchurch in this new year.