I recently spent two weeks on the South Island of New Zealand. I spent a lot of my time on the open road going from town-to-town soaking in the scenery. My base though was Christchurch, the biggest city by far on this half, as it is for many people who are visiting.
When in Christchurch I spent most of my time in the CBD (Central Business District). I hung out in the Botanical Gardens, Hagley Park, Cathedral Square, The Art Centre, catching rays along the Pacific Ocean at Sumner Beach and in various cafés , restaurants and bars. I had a lot of great food and met a lot of great people, enjoying the summer weather. The city was constantly active with tons of tourists around and locals going from point A to point B. I left two weeks ago with such a great impression as I have when I’ve left New Zealand in the past.
I was back at home processing the pictures of my trip, including those in Christchurch when I got a frantic call. There was just another major earthquake centered right near the heart of Christchurch. Though it was considered an “aftershock” to the September quake, the location of the epicenter (so close to the CBD) and how shallow it was lead to the damage being catastrophic.
I immediately went to Twitter for instant information. People were already posting photos, videos, desperately seeking help, trying to locate others and giving details on the magnitude of the earthquake and more. Checkout the searches #eqnz and Christchurch earthquake. The news quickly flowed to the major newspapers and television stations in New Zealand and abroad. I’ve also found the New Zealand Herald extremely useful.
Getting that initial call, even though brief, put some of my mind at ease. In the days following I found that everyone I knew was accounted for and safe, though that didn’t make me feel better completely because everyone wasn’t so fortunate. Places I went to, hung out in were places where people were when the earthquake hit and didn’t survive. Whole buildings collapsed, the historical Cathedral Church spire came down, floods and debris everywhere, it made me cry. Peoples lives were changed forever in an instant. Some photos of the damage and people rescuing and helping out.
Hearing the heroic stories and how everyone is coming together has been great. A guy desperately looked for, found and helped dig out his fiancé and others out of the rumble and they married three days later. Countries from all over the world have lent a helping hand. Christchurch and New Zealand will get through this and will be stronger. Things will be rebuilt. The people who lost their lives need to and will be remembered.
Naturally I stopped posting the photos of my trip that evening when I found out what happened. The time is not right to post and reflect on the trip, someday perhaps. If you would like to help those in need in Christchurch or locate someone please contact your local Red Cross or visit the New Zealand Red Cross website. You’ll make it through Christchurch and New Zealand. 🙂