Community Blogs

Earthquake-Land.

I’ve been back home in Christchurch for two weeks now, but today was my first trip to the CBD (central business district). For the last three years of my life, I practically lived in the Christchurch CBD, it was the place where you’d go after school to meet friends, get fat on McDonald’s, and all the other things your average high-schooler does.
Not any more.
The CBD is now cordoned-off, and what remains of it can only be seen through make-shift barriers, with army personal standing at every possible entrance point, as a not-so-subtle reminder that trouble awaits any who attempt to break cordon.
But through these chicken-wire fences I could see the remains of some of my favourite places in the world, and the wave of sadness that hit me was frankly shocking. I had expected to nonchalantly stare at the rubble, and leave unmoved (pardon the pun). I was wrong. The wave of memories from that place hit me hard and fast, and the sadness sprung from the sudden realisation that it’s all gone, and can never be the same again. No matter how they rebuild it, the new city that takes the place of the old will not be the Christchurch I grew up in.
To be fair, 70% of Christchurch is, for all intents and purposes, fine. However, the CBD and east Christchurch (where my family live, and where I grew up, and went to school) are simply f**ked. Sumner village, the suburb I’ve lived in since I was four years old, has been almost levelled. Thankfully, most of the houses in my area are still standing (if only just, my house is currently surrounded by scaffolding), but the iconic buildings that made the suburb what it was, are gone. I blame the fact that most of the older buildings are (were) made of brick, which clearly doesn’t handle earthquakes well.
Another thing that surprised me was just how different a cliff looks, after 20 metres of it has fallen down. The cliffs around my area aren’t exactly something I ever sat and stared at, but it amazes me how different they look now…
The main thing that makes me sad is that the Christchurch I grew up in no longer exists, nor can it ever really exist again. My childhood memories are now just that, memories. The places where they happened are buried under rubble-piles from cliffs, collapsed, or cordoned-off.
I never thought I was so attached to this place, but now that it’s gone, it’s never coming back. And that realisation is harder to come to terms with than you’d think.