Seven years ago Christchurch was hit by an earthquake that killed 185 people. It’s a sad anniversary, and sometimes it is hard to know how – or where – to commemorate it. For the last seven years, my way has been to walk and think and take some photos. This morning I visited the former CTV site on the corner of Cashel and Madras Street. Ōtākaro Limited has landscaped the site, and it opened to the public today.
Diagonally across the road, is the 185 empty chairs installation by Peter Majendie. This is an artwork that rends your heart. I’ve only be able to stand near it, and somehow felt the chairs were sacred. But today, Peter and some helpers were cleaning the rain and water off the chairs so I joined in and helped. It felt profound.
The seventh anniversary of the 22 February 2011 quake is on this Thursday 22 February. There are places where the community can come together to reflect, and remember.
Service at the Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial
The seventh anniversary of the 22 February Canterbury Earthquake will be marked with a public Civic Service at the Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial site. The service will begin at 12:30pm at the Memorial site on the corner of Montreal Street and Cambridge Terrace. The service is expected to take around 45 minutes, followed by the opportunity to lay floral tributes at the Memorial Wall across the river. It will be livestreamed on the Christchurch City Council website for those who can’t be there.
Earthquakes and Butterflies – Theatre of Transformation (22 to 25 February at the Christchurch Transitional Cathedral)
Earthquakes and Butterflies is an exciting professional theatre piece directed by Helen Moran, shaped from the life stories of a cluster of people whose lives crisscross like the fault lines under the city. Based on the novel by Kathleen Gallagher, Earthquakes & Butterflies is full of hope, humour and tenderness – strangers help unasked, generosity is freely given and shelter is for sharing.
Our community remember the 22 February 2011 earthquake in a number of ways – by visiting a particular place, or by having a moment of silence and remembrance. We share that reflection together, wherever we are.
In vain, I have trawled the email highway of Christchurch City Libraries in an effort to “out” some closet poets amongst all the erudite librarians out there, but the only contributors to Leaving the Red Zone: Poems from the Canterbury Earthquakes, an anthology edited by James Norcliffe and Joanna Preston, that I could find were myself and Greg O’Connell. Greg works at Linwood Library and I work at New Brighton.
I know of at least one other poet working at the library – Dylan Kemp.
The anthology was launched on Monday 29 February at The Laboratory pub in Lincoln and the launch was extremely well attended. Mayor Lianne Dalziel gave an introductory speech before a packed crowd of poetry lovers and then, because there was only limited time and 87 contributors, some contributing poets were picked from a hat to read their contributions. I was one of the lucky ones who got picked from the hat to read at the launch which was an honour.
So get out there and grab yourself a copy from any good bookstore and get the real story behind the earthquakes – from September 2010 until the present day.
Arohanui, Christchurch. Here are some photos of our city this morning as we remember the earthquake, five years ago today. Our love goes out to those who lost those dear to them, and to those still suffering. Our thanks to those who are here to help us regroup and rebuild.
WiFi users outside the Central Library Even though the library is closed due to the earthquake customers are still happy using the free Wi Fi, 7 September 2010. Flickr CCL-CE-2010-09-07-DSC01928
Here’s some snippets of memory from 4 September 2010:
A few objects fell down in the house, but the kitchen was almost untouched, except for a container of oil which left a big oil slick on the floor.
After the initial drama of getting out of the house we made contact with their neighbours in the other three flats. When we had calmed a bit, we began to venture around the neighbourhood. Around the corner, the Daily Bagel building had collapsed on to the street.
We never lost power and were without water for only a short time. Our place became a gathering point for friends who came to charge phones and use the internet.
Our chimney came down.
Dad was in Dunedin and immediately hitched a ride back on a truck – probably the only person trying to get to Christchurch!
Kia ora Christchurchians and Cantabrians, we thought you might be interested in this information from Mayor Lianne Dalziel on a dawn ceremony on 4 September 2015 – it will be five years since we all got shaken out of bed at 4.35am when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel is inviting Cantabrians to join her for a special sunrise ceremony in remembrance of the September 2010 Christchurch earthquake.
Residents are invited to gather on the beach outside the New Brighton Library from 6.10am on Friday 4 September 2015, the fifth anniversary of the first Christchurch earthquake.
A short ceremony will be held ending with a shared watching of the sunrise at approximately 6.50am.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel says, “This is the time, on the dawn of the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, to gather together as a community to reflect on our city’s journey. It is a chance to remember what we have been through since September 2010 and, as the sun rises, to look ahead to what the future may hold.”
Parking is available in the carpark north of New Brighton Library. Temporary lighting on the beach will lead you to the gathering point just past the pier.
On Sunday 22 February 2015, it will be four years since the 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch and the loss of 185 people. To commemorate this sad day, there will be a Civic Memorial Service for the community of Christchurch on the Archery Lawn at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens at noon. This is a public event. A live stream will be shown on the Council’s website for those who cannot attend.
Also, on Sunday 22 February 2015, the River of Flowers commemoration is being held again allowing you to share your experiences and hopes for the future. River of Flower sites will be set up along the Avon and Heathcote rivers, and at the estuary. The sites are open from 8am to 8pm, and hosted by local community groups between 12.30-1.30pm. Throughout the day people will be able to throw flowers into a waterway and write messages on a Tree of Hope. At 12:51 two minutes’ silence will be held. View the full list of 2015 River of Flowers sites.
As in previous years, artist Henry Sunderland is spearheading a Facebook campaign encouraging people to place flowers in roadcones to commemorate the quakes and as a wish for a bright future.
The Run to Remember, a 10km fun run and walk to honour those who lost their lives during the earthquake, will take place starting at 9am from Victoria Park in the Port Hills and finishing at Hansen Park in Opawa. A memorial service will be held at the end of the event.
In the days to come, there was so much to see and discover. We entered into a new shocking and aftershocking world.
Of all the post September quake-related sights, one I will alway remember is a moment of rare delicacy, when the worker used his machinery to lift a chandelier, which he then passed to the owner. All of us watching cheered.