New Zealand: A Day in Christchurch

Another day trip we made while we were staying in Pegasus Town was to Christchurch as we didn’t spend any time there when we arrived…just long enough to pick up our rental car.

As we drove into the city, we realized how much work is still being done after the earthquakes in 2010/2011. Yes, after 6+ years, they are essentially building a new central business district (CBD).  Our plan was to head to Quake City first, essentially a museum focused on the 2010/2011 quakes and general earthquake information.  The roads to get there weren’t always available, but we found our way to a parking lot right next to the Re:Start Mall, which was developed out of the need to get people back to the CBD even before there would be new buildings built.


The mall is basically built out of shipping containers that house shops, cafes, and gifts, and even banks and post shops (post offices).  In addition, they’ve incorporated a variety of art, including some amazing sculptures that tell the stories of ordinary heroes from the Christchurch area. To read about some of them and see a few more pictures, click on the image below.

Quake City was really well done — very interesting, informative, important, eye opening, sad, and, to be honest, a little terrifying. There was a wonderful video playing on a loop with interviews of people and their experience, sharing what they went through and in some cases stories about loved ones they lost.  They also had actual television and radio announcements that announced the earthquakes running in a room near pictures and items recovered and saved.

From a scientific perspective, there was information about liquefaction, seismology, geology, and future technology that may be helpful.

Toward the end of the exhibit is a big table of white legos, where you can design new buildings for Christchurch.
An example of what liquefaction (loose soil acting like a liquid) looks like.
An actual photo of a neighborhood in Christchurch showing liquefaction.
The time of the earthquakes in Christchurch: 4:35 a.m. on September 4, 2010 and 12:51 p.m. on February 22, 2011.

We were really glad we went through the museum, but it struck us all a bit more than we expected.  Seeing the first-hand accounts was really quite intense.  The smiles on the kids’ faces above aren’t quite as easy going as usual…we were all sobered as we walked out. We talked later about the differences in natural disasters.

While we have tornadoes, they can usually be predicted to a certain degree — conditions are right, etc.  Where earthquakes are concerned, there’s really not a way to predict them and they happen with regularity in New Zealand…often without knowing it because the majority are considered “light.”  I found this site in case you’re interested in seeing just how often they are recorded:

After Quake City and our increased appreciation for earthquakes and recovery, we needed to change gears and focus on something else.  What better way to do that than going to a coffee shop that sends food though pneumatic tubes and provides drinking water through old dentist equipment and vintage sewing machines!!

C1 was the place we needed!


G and L near the tube by our table waiting for the bell (see photo below) to ring.

There it is with Mike’s name on it! 🙂  Time to take it out.

Open it up…and…curly fries!!

The next tube has G’s name on it with sliders and curly fries inside! 🙂  It’s a pretty cool way to have food delivered, but what makes it even better is that the food is really delicious!

And then there were the water dispensers…how cool are these??


And I almost forgot to mention the “magic” bookcases…When they were closed, they looked like bookcases…

But when you took a step closer, they slid open to reveal a hallway to the kitchen and toilets!  And from the backside (in the hallway), you could see the pages of the books (instead of the spines)!


One more bit of fun…a pinball machine! 🙂

Our next stop after C1 was to the Margaret Mahy Playground, which came highly recommended by various sources.  Along the way, we saw more storage containers blocking access to buildings waiting to be torn down and a “tree museum” with nine trees in box planters that is a project that is part of Christchurch’s Greening the Rubble trust. The sign in front of it was significant.

The Margaret Mahy Playground was amazing!!

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