I was terribly upset to hear about the devastating earthquake in Christchurch on Tuesday. I've been to Christchurch a couple of times and it's my favourite New Zealand city (Dunedin coming a close 2nd). I was sad to see the wonderful buildings my daughter and I had explored, the quaint trams, punting on the Avon, all destroyed. But what I find to the be the most traumatic is to see the happy, friendly inhabitants suffer so. Everyone was so pleasant and welcoming to us tourists - something you don't see in other major cities of the world. What happened to the smiling girl who made my coffee just the way I like it and the happy man who baked such beautiful cakes in the tea shop right next to the cathedral? What happened to the joking tour guide and the barbershop quartet in the trams? The staff in the museum just one tram stop away from the cathedral who were eager to point out interesting places to visit? The lady in the teddy bear shop who kept her shop open longer (without one single complaint) on Christmas Eve because I couldn't decide which teddy I wanted? The men in the boat shed who taught us how to use the paddles properly when we punted our little boat up the Avon river? Are they safe or where they killed? The little ducks that followed our boat hoping we'd brought bread (we'll bring some next time we told ourselves)? Are they still there? All these places I've just mentioned were in Canterbury - right in the heart of Christchurch. It's hard to believe the pictures I have in my head are so very different from reality. My daughter, watching the news, had tears in her eyes as she asked me if the rock climbing place she loved so much was still there?
For those of you who've not been to Christchurch, and to relive the happy memories I have of times I've spent there, here are some photos of our last trip there in May 2009.
Australian Red Cross is assisting New Zealand Red Cross by providing personnel and vital supplies such as water equipment following one of the worst disasters in New Zealand’s history. To donate please click on one of the links.