In Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens, the flowers might be in full bloom but it’s the three port-a-loos sitting amongst the pine trees that are attracting all the attention.
Part of the annual Festival of Flowers, these specially decorated and designed loos are a light hearted nod to the trials and tribulations that quake shaken Cantabrians have had to deal with over the past eighteen months.
The Long Drop
Surrounded by native bush, with a rusted corrugated iron roof and newspaper lined (circa 1970) interior, this long drop definitely not the sort of place one where one would want to sit and contemplate.
Meet Henry. He’s sitting in his ‘office’ (painted red and black in tribute to his rugby boys), happily contemplating the world.
Meanwhile, poor Bunty has made the best of a bad situation. Resigned to having to resort to the port-a-loo, she’s brought along some creature comforts – a Vogue magazine and a bottle of gin.
But while laughter and color is always this festival’s theme, this year there is also a strong need to commemorate and contemplate all that the city and it’s residents have lost.
Ben’s Cathedral is a good starting point.
This corrugated iron replica of the Christchurch Cathedral was built by eleven year old Ben Jensen using materials he found in his own back yard.
Close by is the wire mesh Golden Angel with her arms open wide.
Crowds gathered here on February 22nd to remember and honor those who died as a result of the February earthquake last year.
You can read the messages of hope and love that they strung around the nearby giant sequoia tree.
A basket full of labels, pens, and ties remain so that visitors to the gardens can leave their own messages as they wish.
(@photos by Liz Lewis)