Christchurch: A City in Transition

Four years after a devastating earthquake, Christchurch, New Zealand is still rebuilding.

ruins-of-christchurch-new-zealand Reminders of the devastation abound around Christchurch. It would seem the city’s main industry these days is parking, with gravel lots at nearly every corner where buildings and churches once stood.

ghost-of-buildings-past-christchurch-new-zealandMemorials to the 185 lives lost still remain, like the display of 185 empty white chairs in one such vacated lot.


The iconic Christchurch Cathedral, seemingly on every post card, remains in pieces awaiting its fate.


In these ways Christchurch hasn’t changed much since I visited two years ago. However, there are unmistakable signs of new life in the city.

Not least of these signs is the new “Cardboard Cathedral”, transitional home of the parish that once occupied the original Christchurch Cathedral. The structure of the building is covered by cardboard tubes with recycled stained “glass” and wood chairs.

christchurch-transitional-cardboard-cathedral 9.44.26 PM

Near my hotel, a formerly bustling shopping area has been rebuilt, including a local theater which was set to reopen soon.


Next to the theater, the Christchurch tram has resumed, including its Tramway Restaurant which blends fine dining with sightseeing.


And while Punting on the Avon resumed years ago, the view along the river is now more punt than construction fencing.

punting-on-the-avon-christchurch-new-zealandLocal friends commented that noticeably more roads are open now than even the last time they were downtown. They marveled at the progress that has been made. By all accounts, Christchurch is not the same as before the earthquake, but it seems to be rediscovering itself from the ruins.

7 thoughts on “Christchurch: A City in Transition

  1. Thanks so much for posting this. Christchurch used to be my home and I loved living there but we left because of the earthquakes and I don’t ever expect to go back. It’s not the same place it once was but I always like seeing photos of how it looks now and how it is changing, hopefully for the better.


    • That’s right, although like many I think it was still standing but unlivable and has since been torn down if I remember correctly. Large parts of some neighborhoods have basically been abandoned, leaving damaged houses on land where no one wants to rebuild.


  2. Pingback: Return of the Blog | I'm Not Yet Dead

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