Sunday, 3 February 2013

Arriving in New Zealand and Christchurch Devastation

Jackie and I have arrived in New Zealand for a holiday. It is a long way from the UK, and the flights took about a day and a half to go via Singapore and Sydney. The flights were very good (thanks Qantas) and the time went much more quickly than I expected.

 This was the view of NZ as we flew over the south island, on our approach to Christchurch.....

We will be going to these mountains over the next couple of weeks.

Today we toured central Christchurch. It was nearly two years ago that an earthquake struck the centre of the city. I hadn’t realised the extent of the devastation until we walked around the city. Surprised at how little work had been done to demolish the damaged buildings and to start the rebuilding works, we asked about this and discovered the neither the local government or the insurance companies have the money to pay for the work. I imagine that ‘acts of God’ were not covered by most insurance policies and so are not paying out on claims.

It might take a long time to get the centre back to normal and major parts of what was the heart of the city are closed to the public.

What I did like was how part of the centre had been regenerated. Containers have been used to create temporary shops in a couple of small areas. These are now bustling and busy places that work really well. Quite where the offices have been relocated to I don’t know. We have discovered that many small motels are very busy, providing the rooms needed by the lack of hotels that were destroyed in the city centre.


Chillertek said...

Christchurch is a very sorry site, but such a wonderful city. Gary your going to love NZ, you'll be sorry you are not riding around there I was. Its on my bucket list of places to ride.

Say G'day to Rog for me.

Arkansas Patti said...

So sorry to hear about the lack of progress in Christchurch. Such a shame. Once the media go away, the people are forgotten. NZ is also on my to do list and seems to be a really popular destination these days. The beautiful country is what I would like to see. Enjoy your stay and if you are in to pottery at all and get to Waikouaiti, Otago, check out Peter Gregory. He is a delightfully fellow and talented potter.

Canajun said...

Enjoy your trip. We fell in love with NZ when we were there a few years ago and I'm sure you will too. And I echo the comments about riding - it would be an amazing place to have a bike.

Trobairitz said...

Great pics Gary, but so sad that things haven't be repaired as they should.

At least you have beautiful weather. A tad warmer than the UK right now I'd imagine.

I am looking forward to your upcoming posts.

Roger Fleming said...

The people in Christchurch are tough, it will come back stronger than ever, rest assured of that. Enjoy the majic of the South Island and looking forward to catching up with you soon.

SonjaM said...

Wonderful pics, sad to see that Christchurch still hasn't recovered from the quake, and that insurances pull the 'act of god' clause to avoid paying out to people in need. Enjoy your trip down under. New Zealand is a fantastic country, probably one of the best, and people are awesome.

Gary France said...

Chillertek – I would love to be riding here, but that just means one thing.... I will have to come back!

Patti – I think you are right, NZ is a popular place to visit. We are really looking forward to what awaits us over the next few weeks.

Canajun – It seems everyone falls in love with New Zealand. I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about the place.

Trobairitz – We went from snow to very hot, so you are spot on. I am playing with software that add effects on photos, so look out for more!

Roger – Good to be here! We are really looking forward to seeing the south island first – it certainly looked spectacular from the air. See you in a couple of weeks!

Sonja – The insurance things is tough. I hear the insurance companies just don’t have the money to pay out, so they cannot. If they did have specific “Acts of God” exclusion clauses, then they were not collecting enough premiums to cover that eventuality, so in a way it is fair that they don’t pay out. As you say though, it is sad, but as Roger said – the people will bounce back. It did strike me as odd though that even the Cathedral has had little work done on it – perhaps there was an Act of God exclusion in place there. Or, more likely, like the churches in the UK, maybe they are not insured.

Geoff James said...

How weird - made a post from my iPad but it hasn't shown! Will try on the desktop PC.

A thousand welcomes to NZ - what a crying shame we're about to head to Aussie!

Money to rebuild is a relatively small issue. Finding out what areas to rebuild on to avoid future liquefaction is also a biggie. Also, Christchurch has had extensive consultation with its people to produce a "city for the future" blueprint. Whist that's delayed things, it will definitely pay off in the long run.

Now go and enjoy that southern hospitality!

Circle Blue said...

Have a great time Gary. I found Geoff's comment about the where to rebuild and building a city of the future very interesting.

Was intrigued with the use of containers to create shops.

Good stuff. Thanks,

Geoff James said...

There's quite a bit of info freely available but you might find this of interest:



VStar Lady said...

Gary - spectacular view as you arrived. Sounds like the people of Christchurch are not only tough but forward thinking ... enjoy your visit. I've never been so am looking forward to the view through your eyes.

bob skoot said...


You are going at the right time. Snow at home and Hot for your vacation. Also sorry for the people about the non-rebuilding but as Geoff says, there is a reason about where to rebuild.

those enhanced photos are very nice, deep saturated colours, better than real . . .

enjoy your vacation and can't wait for your photos

Riding the Wet Coast

Gary France said...

Geoff – No sign of the earlier comment anywhere. Many thanks for your welcomes and I am very sad that we will not be able to meet. Thanks for the (more accurate) info. The consultation is a very good idea – getting the people behind the plans generally helps a lot.

Keith – The use of containers was very creative.

VStar Lady – The views from the plane certainly were a fantastic introduction to New Zealand. I hope my posts do NZ justice, so you and others who have not been here are able to see just a glimpse of what the country is like.

Bob – I have enjoyed enhancing my pictures recently. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is an interesting experiment.

Motorcycle Exhausts said...

Those are lovely photos...the first one looks like a photo on a canvas.

Rex J. Covington said...

I forgot about the quake there, Fantastic photos.
New Zealand is on my bucket list to ride.
Enjoy your trip!

Gary France said...

Rex – Thanks, the trip is amazing so far.

Marie Potter said...

Gary and Jackie: Enjoy your trip - Wonderful pics - Looking forward to seeing you soon. Your book is GREAT! Love your sister Marie!

Motorcycle Bags said...

That was so sad...maybe the massive destruction was too much for the insurance companies to bear. But at least they have relocated the city elsewhere. I like use of containers...recycling :)
Enjoy your holiday and keep posting more photos from your holiday adventures.