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Published: January 17th 2018
It has been noted that I haven't finished the blog - there are missing days - my tardiness must be rectified so here is 1 of the 3/4 missing days
I had decided I didn't like Christchurch before taking myself on my own mini graffiti tour (I do like a graffiti tour) and Christchurch is renowned for the standard of it's graffiti. I had a vision of Christchurch which it wasn't like - for some reason I thought it was costal or on a lake and it is not. I had also been spoilt by the amazing scenery of the preceding 2 weeks. I knew there had been a major earthquake in 2011 but I didn't expect the devastation to be as extensive as it was. However I decided to give the place my best shot and get lost - which is the best way to find the lesser seen sides of a city - and even if I don't plan to get lost, I will, so I may as well do it wilfully.
The graffiti is huge
Both in size and in talent. There isn't much tagging and the standard of
the work is amazing - totally stunning. Bizarrely nearly all of the street art is now a back drop to a building site or a carpark. The street art doesn't stop at graffiti - the hoardings for dangerous and broken buildings has frequently been turned into art and art has been commissioned for the most damaged areas as well as in tribute to what has been lost. There are numerous art installations around the place from the subtle to the avant-guard. Lots of the art tells stories about what has been lost and what happened in 2011 (and 1932 as well) and can be found in the most unusual places. There was one installation near the old cathedral where they have either added a something that mimics the shock waves of an earthquake or I had a very strange experience that I cannot explain. Either way I think that is where I started to have a change of heart about Christchurch.
When you get lost you inevitably find something
As you may have guessed I found that I liked and respected Christchurch. Once you forget that it isn't as beautiful as other places in New Zealand it has
lots of hidden beauty and is quirky, wilful and strong. It has faced destruction but it won't be beaten. Walking round you find the little park and river. You watch the old tram shuttling people around. You find very different quarters and things that surprise you - such as the old Cathedral being held up and being turned into a venue to try and bring revenue in to save it. There is an eco structure to shelter those paying respects to the old building that is hanging in there against the odds. Then there is the new Cathedral it is made of cardboard (yes cardboard !!! with plastic stain glass window - totally eco - totally cool - really innovative).
There is the section of the city that is made completely of containers - shops and restaurants and businesses - all made from containers. They also use the containers to bolster the buildings that are currently unsafe. There is the colourful French section all old buildings in beautiful pastels.
There is an old area that hadn't been damaged by either earthquake and housed lots of cultural activities and the dyslexia institute (with interesting art and sculptures about the
difficulties of dyslexia - so I wasn't surprised that they resonated with me - a raging dyslexic).
So amongst the coffee shops, new builds, old bits, destruction and eco builds I found that I really do like Christchurch - not for its beauty (that has to be Queenstown) but for its Moxy and personality. It is ballsy and proud and I really do like Christchurch and I want it to grow and improve and hope that it goes from strength to strength - Bless Christchurch and its quirkiness
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