Friday, February 25, 2011

Taking heart

Would I live in Christchurch again? It's a good question. Before Tuesday the answer would have been yes: it's where my roots are, my father's house is still there (I hope), it's a pretty, neat, historic place where people have good manners and take pride in their gardens, it has the Avon and its ducks, the Court Theatre and the Cathedral, Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens, the Port Hills and the Southern Alps, the Waimakariri and the patchwork plains.

Now I'm not so sure. So many of the buildings I love have been destroyed or badly damaged, the tidy suburbs are devastated, awash in silt, the roads are wrecked, there are cracks in everything. The thought of all the work that has to be done on unglamorous but essential things like sewage pipes and water mains is just exhausting; then there's the arguing to come over how to rebuild. That's all going to be so wearing.

But mainly there's the loss of trust. I don't blame the people leaving the city, saying they'll never return. They've been taught, the hardest way, that they can't rely on being safe anywhere in Christchurch any more. Who knows when the next earthquake will happen, and wreck everything again? This afternoon? Next month? In 300 years' time?

It will be an act of faith to rebuild the city; and defiance too. It will be hard. It's good to know that it's been done before.


Brett Atkinson said...

Hi pam

simply heartbreaking news - I'm an Auckland boy thru and thru but have researched LP for Christchurch twice now so know the city really well.

Will be heading down there in Oct for the next edition and will be a very different city I'm sure - off to Vietnam on Monday for 6 weeks - kind of mixed emotions with it given the recent news

Hope your Dad's house is OK - like San Fran, ChCh will rise again


Pam said...

Thanks, Brett. You'll have an interesting task ahead of you in October, that's for sure. But yes, ChCh will always be worth visiting.


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