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Archive for 'Christchurch'

Christchurch: Then and Now #travel #NewZealand

On 4th September 2010 an earthquake struck Christchurch in New Zealand. A second struck on 22 February 2011 with loss of life and property damage.

I visited Christchurch in 2006 and this year was the first time I’d returned. It was sobering, even now almost five years later. The center of Christchurch remains empty with ruined buildings and lots of vacant lots.

Christchurch Cathedral

This is a photo of the cathedral and the square, taken prior to the Earthquake.

Christchurch Cathedral

A second view of the cathedral.

Cathedral Ruins 1

Cathedral Ruins

Cathedral Ruins

Cathedral Ruins

As I said, sobering. The cathedral is one of the many buildings in the city center that is still damaged. There are also many empty lots where the buildings have been removed. There is talk of restoring the cathedral, but the cost is phenomenal. I would like them to reinforce the shell enough to make it safe and to use it as a memorial. It’s certainly an emotional topic for the Christchurch locals.

Update: A 5.7 magnitude earthquake occurred on Valentine’s day (14 Feb 2016)–the first big quake for some time. Thankfully, there were no fatalities.

E is for Earthquake

E

My post today is about earthquakes.

The earth, although it seems solid, consists of a series of plates, which are a bit like jigsaw puzzle pieces. When the plates collide the layers distort and the stress builds until the crust of the Earth buckles. An earthquake typically occurs along a fault line, which is an existing fracture in the crust of the Earth.

New Zealand straddles the boundary of the Pacific and Australian plates. According to Te Ara, the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand we have earthquakes every day, but most are too small for us to feel them.

On 4 September 2010 our third largest city Christchurch suffered a 7.1 magnitude earthquake. Although there was widespread damage, there was no loss of life.

Cathedral Square

This is Cathedral Square in Christchurch, taken before the 2010 quake. The Cathedral was badly damaged, and despite public calls for it to be repaired, it was too big a job.

A second quake occurred on 22 February 2011. This was a quake of 6.3 magnitude. There was major damage to land, buildings and the city infrastructure. Sadly, 185 people lost their lives.

The quakes and the numerous aftershocks have changed the landscape and during recent rain, much of the land flooded due to subsidence.

In February 1931 the Hawkes Bay area and the town of Napier suffered a 7.8 magnitude quake. This quake changed the landscape and the coastal areas were lifted around two meters. Fires burned out of control after the quake, the problem compounded by broken water mains. 256 people lost their lives and 593 suffered serious injuries.

When the township of Napier was rebuilt, the planning committee decided on an Art Deco style because the buildings were cheap to construct and more earthquake resistant. When the first building was being constructed, the planning committee urged the builders to make as much noise as possible in order to bring hope to the people of the town. The Art Deco buildings now bring a lot of tourists to the town.

Napier

Although I live in a country that has many earthquakes, I’ve never actually felt one. I’m quite happy to keep it that way!

Have you ever been in an earthquake?

A Visit to Akaroa, New Zealand

In February hubby and I took a cruise from Auckland to Sydney on the Diamond Princess. I love New Zealand. Even though I live here, I’ve done a lot of travel, and my country of birth compares well with most countries.

One of the stops was Akaroa, which these days—since the earthquake at Christchurch—is the main port of call for cruise ships. The previous port of Lyttelton sustained extensive damage.

Akaroa is surrounded by hills and used to be a volcano. One of the walls broke, letting sea water rush in to create the existing harbor.

Akaroa Harbor

This photo shows the entrance to the harbor where the sea breached the volcano.

The area was settled by French and many of the streets have French names. It’s a small town—a very charming one. Each summer the population swells since it’s the perfect place for a summer holiday.

While we were there, hubby and I went dolphin watching to see the rare Hector dolphins. They’re a small dolphin and their fins look like Mickey Mouse’s ears.

Akaroa Dolphins

This is me on board the dolphin boat before leaving the wharf. If anyone visits Akaroa, I totally recommend this company. The owner and his family have been in the area for generations—five, I think he said from memory. He’s very knowledgeable about the area and the fauna.

Murphy Akaroa Dolphins

This little cutie is Murphy who works onboard the Akaroa Dolphin boat. His task is to look for dolphins and he does an excellent job. If you see him run to the side of the boat, follow because there will be dolphins!

Hector Dolphin

Hector’s dolphins are extremely rare and are only found in New Zealand. The dolphins were a bit shy on the day we went out, but we did see a small pod.

Akaroa Township

This is the main part of the township. There are a few shops, some very nice cafes and restaurants plus the usual amenities such as supermarket, butcher, and church. On the day we visited there was a market at the church and I purchases a really pretty cameo-type pendant.

Fish and Chips

There is also an excellent fish and chip shop. Guess what we had for lunch?

Akaroa from Ship

This is the view from the ship after our day ashore. As you can see, it was beautiful weather and our day was memorable. If you’re ever down this end of the world, do put Akaroa on your must-visit list.

Just Floatin’ Along

Camera Critters

My photo today is a teal duck. I took this in Christchurch (the city that had the recent earthquake). This is the Avon river, which runs through the city.

Teal Duck, Avon River

To visit more animal photos go to Camera Critters

New Zealand: Christchurch.

Avon River, Christchurch

This is the river Avon that runs through central Christchurch, one of the larger cities in the South Island. Christchurch is our most “English” city and many of the names of the streets and sights are taken from England.

Don’t forget to enter my contest to guess how many books I will read during my holiday. Go here for details.