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Archive for 'earthquake'

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?

The Rebirth of Napier

On Feb 3 1931, at 10.47am an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale struck the seaside town of Napier in New Zealand. Fires soon broke out, destroying buildings that had survived the earthquake. 157 died in Napier due to the earthquake and resulting fires.

Instead of rebuilding the Victorian-style town straight away, the townsfolk formed a committee and made a careful plan for the new town. The decision to go with the Art Deco style was a practical one. The buildings were robust, should there be further earthquakes. They were cheap to build—a consideration since it was the depression. And finally, Art Deco was fashionable.

The first building to go up after the quake was the Market Reserve Building. The builders used rivets on the steel frame, instead of welding it. They wanted to create as much noise as possible to send a message of hope to the the people.

These days the Art Deco features are a real feature and bring a lot of tourists to the town. I rather like the plain block-type style of the buildings and the intricate zigzag and starburst patterns. Egyptian and Mayan designs are also visible on many buildings. Leadlight glass designs were also a common decoration, but I don’t have any photos of those. 

Napier 082

This is the former Hotel Central, which was built in 1932. It has balconies, balconets and zigzag and sunburst decorations.

Napier 065

This shot shows the interior of the current ASB Bank. This building features a Maori design in red, black and white. This photo really doesn’t do the decor justice. It’s breath-taking. I stood inside the bank and gawked.

Napier 094 Napier 137

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Top left: Colenso House, done in Spanish Mission style.

Top right: Daily Telegraph Building. This building contains most of the Art Deco styles including zigzags, fountain shapes, and sunburst.

Middle left: Thorps building as a Mayan flavor to its facade.

Middle right: The interior of the Masonic Hotel.

Bottom left: The exterior of the Masonic Hotel.

Bottom right: A view of the buildings in Emerson Street, the main street of Napier.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

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The Art Deco flavor is enhanced with music, souvenirs, cars, and costumes. Even the fountain is designed to blend with the buildings around the town. Visitors can take a tour or do a self-tour. It’s a pleasant walk with lots of cafes and pubs along the way to take a break. The perfect way to while away a few hours. I highly recommend a visit to Napier, if you’re ever down this way.

Do you like the Art Deco style?