Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

Christchurch, NZ

Christchurch, New Zealand is the logistical hub for McMurdo station in Antarctica. Jessie and I were last in Christchurch in February of 2011, just before the major Christchurch earthquake. In fact, Jessie was in the air between Christchurch and Auckland when the earthquake struck. The earthquake caused lots of damage, particularly to the bigger buildings in the center of town.  You can see some images before the large earthquake in a prior post.

Yesterday, I walked the couple of miles from my hotel to the center of town. I noticed more construction than usual on my walk in, but nothing striking. I then went to the botanical gardens, which had the same lovely feel as before. Adrian’s olinguito enjoyed the gardens quite a bit.

After the botanical gardens, I walked into the city. I headed to Cathedral Square, the heart of Christchurch, knowing that the Cathedral had suffered some significant damage. Indeed it had, with one end more or less gone.


For comparison from 2011:


More striking were the large buildings still fenced off. The signs of the businesses still in sight chc_4But most striking, was simply the lack of buildings at all. This photo is looking up the main street from Cathedral Square.

chc_5The city center was simply nothing like what I had seen nearly 4 years ago. It was disorienting – landmarks no longer existed. They had been torn down. The river was still the same, but without the restaurants, shops, and buildings I didn’t really know where I was in the city.


There is a lot of building activity and I’m sure Christchurch will emerge from this with a new downtown core. I look forward to seeing the changes in the coming years.


2 responses

  1. That olinguito is far from home! How’d you get a non-endemic mammal like that through NZ Customs?

    December 30, 2014 at 7:16 PM

  2. Marcia O'Hern

    Thanks fpr the photos. It is lots different than when you were 15 and we spent a day and a half there. I’m sure Queenstown is still an adventure.

    December 30, 2014 at 6:06 PM

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