It is probably more than four or five years since I visited Christchurch last – I think I was there in 2008 for an engagement party, though it might have been later. I’ve always been a bit of a Christchurch-basher. I’ve never lived there and I can’t say I’ve spent a great deal of time there so this is totally unfair, but I’d found Christchurch a bit insular. Pretty, with the parks, the trees and the Avon, but insular.
It is now more than two years after the first quake. That perceived insularity is now, I think, one of Christchurch’s redeeming features. My impression was of a community that’s come together to plan what they’d like in a city and move forward. Sure, they’re looking inward, but I think it’s created a support system. I gathered this through the projects I saw (pop-up bars, art installations) and the people I heard (overheard chats at cafes, staff at the Court, a wonderful conversation with a man on the plane).
Yes, I’m generalising and surmising. I was there for a very short time and saw little of the city (much of what I saw I didn’t recognise; a lack of landmarks) so you can dismiss this all as bullshit, if you like. Just an impression.
If I can help, Christchurch, let me know.