Sunday, December 15, 2013
From a backpacker’s standpoint, Emily and I had heard nothing but negative things about the current state of Christchurch. The South Island’s largest city was hit by an earthquake in 2008 and traumatized by another one in 2011. The entire city centre is still in shambles and is currently classified as a red zone. There are vacant building sites on every corner and many businesses were forced to cease construction due to lack of funds. After putting all of that in writing, I have made Christchurch sound like a miserable war zone, but what I experienced was far more inspiring.
The posted picture is of the Pallet Pavilion where a large hotel once stood. The concept of this establishment encompasses the meaning of community completely. “We are a community space built by volunteers for live music, performance and other events. We have coffee, cold drinks, free wifi and a bar Thursday – Saturday evenings.” I strongly believe that in times of crisis, people come together to support one another even more, and the innovative Kiwis couldn’t have demonstrated their sense of community better. We found a few temporary sites like these scattered about, and although locals do not wander the downtown streets frequently, it is refreshing to feel like you cannot shake a Kiwi’s pride. At least that’s the way I feel about it after my experiences.