Dayton Drugovich / Staff Reporter
Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island and the third largest in the country, has suffered through some hard time in the last decade. The earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, measuring as high as a 7.1 magnitude, devastated the city with much of the damage and after-effects still viewable today. Nowhere is the damage more prevalent than the icon of the city: the Christchurch Cathedral. Located in the centre of the city, the church has suffered massive damage. The spire has collapsed due to the quakes and is in a sad state. Stroll around city centre and the outlying streets, and you begin to see just how damaging the earthquakes were. Some streets are still closed off for entire blocks and there are condemned buildings which gives you the feeling of strolling around an apocalyptic city.
The business process is holding up the rebuilding process more than the political process. Insurance companies are making it difficult for the citizens to rebuild by making the process to scrap or salvage complicated and thereby holding up the payment of claims.
There are, however, initiatives to get the city back on track, including project Re:START, which is a shopping area not far from city centre that uses shipping containers as the brick and mortar out of which local businesses operate.
Even though the city has damaged parts and is rebuilding, there are still interesting things for visitors to see. On a day when I really had nothing planned, I decided to go for a drive and stumbled upon a really interesting place. Just south of Christchurch lies Banks Peninsula containing many coves and harbours and some good beaches.
Akaroa on the southeast side of the peninsula is a small town on the water and has a certain Riviera feel to it. The peninsula formed from an extinct volcano and a drive up to the top is in itself worth the trip down there especially to watch the beautiful sunset.
It is a shame that the earthquake did so much damage to the city of Christchurch. Everyone I have talked to from this country has said it was one of the best cities in the country before the earthquake and you still see remnants of what was once there. The rebuilding process that is taking place is helping to restore the beauty of the city that just has a few bruises. In time all wounds will be healed.