|With my mom and grandpa on the interisland ferry in 2012|
The last time I was in Christchurch was in 2012, on a trip with my mom and grandpa. I had been at a conference in Wellington and met up with them afterwards for a short vacation. Together, we took the interisland ferry from Wellington and explored New Zealand's south island. I have a lot of great memories from that trip.
Christchurch suffered a massive earthquake in 2011, and I remember when we visited it in 2012, most of the city center was still destroyed. The shopping district was shut down except for a few stores that had been set up in shipping containers. There was a makeshift outdoor dance club with speakers run by a modified coin-operated washing machine. There were large areas fenced off and marked as dangerous, and the famous Christchurch Cathedral was severely damaged.
|Christchurch Cathedral is largely unchanged|
|The "Cardboard Cathedral"|
|Christchurch Container Mall|
Despite the still-rampant destruction in downtown, I must admit, there was a lot more life in Christchurch than I remember seeing in 2012. People were out and about in the streets, ducking into stores and stopping at food trucks. Many of the public spaces and squares that had been closed off in 2012 were not only open but filled with public artworks. There was a sculpture that looked like trees but which children could play in; there was a set of giant armchairs covered in astroturf for people to sit on; there was a life-size chess set in Cathedral Square.
Slowly but surely, Christchurch is coming back. I was glad for the opportunity to see the city again.