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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Quake City: Ruin and Reaction (Day 98)

Updated: Feb 22, 2018

Quake City, a representation of the impact and subsequent response to an event that happened 7 years ago. Stories of heroism, innovation and creativity and well as loss.

The previous day, we’d been indoors all day (well, apart from Tim’s quick jaunt to the supermarket) so come rain or shine we were going out. I’m trying to achieve at least 10,000 steps each day – not many for some people, but as a previous couch potato, or is that coach potato, often reaching 3000 was a good day. We decided to walk the 3.6km to Canterbury Museum’s Exhibition – Quake City… in the pouring rain… I was wearing my sandals. Our walking boots were still wet from our Cave Stream expedition. We did nearly turn back, the heavens opened, yet something within us was determined to get there.

Upon arrival a very nice staff member informed us that we would have to wait to get in. Due to the wet weather all the other tourists/travellers had the same idea to remain dry in a museum. It wasn’t long before a couple left so we could then enter.

The Exhibition was well laid out and covered a whole range of subjects including the history of quakes in the area (there’s a lot) and seeing how many times the Cathedral tower has already been rebuilt. The science and geology, liquefaction, where soil behaves more like a liquid than solid and the effects this has on the environment. The subsequent engineering, with buildings now being constructed using damage limiting structural systems such as pre-stressed laminated timber with strong steel cables threaded through.

There were many videos of people sharing their experience during and after the most recent quake in 22 February 2011 (which happens to be exactly 7 years ago today). I particularly liked reading about the extraordinary responses of people afterwards; the emergency services, the rescue dogs, both locally and internationally coming to search for people, both dead and alive.

The Student Volunteer Army of more than 3,500 people came together via a Facebook event and helped to clear silt, deliver food, water and chemical toilets, clocking up more than 75,000 hours of voluntary work.

A lady in Napier conceived an idea to make and distribute hearts, showing empathy to the people in Christchurch. This gesture quickly took momentum and the stitch-craft community from New Zealand and around the world contributed, making over 4,000 beautiful hand-crafted hearts which were displayed in Canterbury Museum before being distributed by people.

I also enjoyed reading about the recycling projects especially The Whole House Reuse Project whereby a family’s home in the red-zone area that were all going to be demolished was chosen to be totally dismantled and then every part to be used to create functional and innovative objects. Nearly 400 pieces were created.

The thing that struck me was this one event – this one situation on 22nd February 2011 seemed to have caused many different responses. Many people have left the area, scared and fearful. Talking with Robin, our doctor friend we are staying with, many people have had mental illnesses subsequent to the quake. Other people have been active, helping others, being creative, resilient and heroic. This demonstrates to me that people’s experience doesn’t come from the event, it comes 100% from within, from our thinking in each moment, from listening to our own wisdom. When we understand how our experience is created, it certainly enables us to live a much more peaceful life.

And we hope that not only Grown Up Travellers inspires people to experience the world, it also enables people to experience this from a place of peace and joy.

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