Christchurch, New Zealand – Now and Then

Two pictures took center stage on the front page of this weekend’s Christchurch newspaper.

The headline above the large picture asked readers ‘Do you recognize this building?’ and then gave them a clue of where in the city it was.

But even with the clue, most Cantabrians would have been hard pressed to recognize the picture as the location of one of the city’s popular bookstores.

Instead, all they saw was the ruins of yet another building.  Sadly, it’s an all too familiar sight around the streets of Christchurch.  There’s a lot of empty lots where buildings once stood.

And for many of us, it’s becoming harder and harder to even remember what used to stand in these empty lots.

Whether we like it or not, the destructive force of the earthquakes has transformed Christchurch forever.

It’s even possible that many of the city’s neo-gothic buildings – the Art Center, the Law Courts, and the Cathedral – might never be restored to their former glory.

The recently released book Earthquake contains striking images and harrowing stories of loss and bravery while detailing shows exactly how much the city has been broken.

The landscape and the landmarks  – what make’s Christchurch Christchurch – have been changed forever. Instead the inner city, these days known as ‘the red zone’, looks more like Dresden at the end of World War Two.



Thankfully, the re-release of the book  Gwenda Turner’s Christchurch, which contains a blend of old photographs, mementos and original paintings, helps locals remember pre-quake Christchurch.

This beautifully presented book, originally published in 1999, captures the essence of Christchurch.







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  1. David Cade Reply