New Zealand - Christchurch


I visited this city more than two years after the Christchurch earthquake of 2011, and it was in full rebuilding mode. A lot of historic buildings were in the middle of either being repaired or being torn down. Roads and bridges were closed. It was a testament to the damaging power of nature as well as the spirit of the city to rebuild and move on to the future.

St. James Church in the Riccarton neighborhood west of downtown.

Peterborough Centre, the former Teacher's College Building (1930), on the corner of Peterborough Street and Montreal Street. This apparently cost NZ$12 million (nearly US$10 million) to rebuild.

The 1897 Victoria Clock Tower is just north of Peterborough Centre. Despite being older, this building suffered less than $1 million in damage due to having a smaller footprint. Christchurch decided to leave one of the faces at 12:51, which was the time when the earthquake struck and stopped the clocks.

For a contrast with both of the previous buildings, the Knox Presbyterian Church at Bealey Avenue and Victoria Street (just 2-3 blocks away) was nearly completely torn down and rebuilt. The original 1902 building was removed down to the wooden frame (pretty much what you see here) and reconstructed with modern materials.

The 1879 Christchurch Central Post Office, originally the Government Building, in Cathedral Square.

The back of the Henry James Nicholas statue near the Bridge of Remembrance. Nicholas received the Victoria Cross in World War I, which is the same war commemorated by the bridge, so it all fits.

This is the Peacock Fountain. "But those aren't peacocks!" you exclaim. Well, you become mayor of Christchurch and you rename it.

I spent the most time driving around the Arts Centre of Christchurch (Te Matatiki Toi Ora), which is a sprawling complex that was damaged so badly that it's still under reconstruction as of 2020 - total cost may be over NZ$200 million and buildings will still be opening well into the 2020s. This building started in 1878 as Canterbury College.

Large building means a lot of architectural details, and Canterbury College was nice enough to vary them all over. The steeple was removed to be separately repaired and reerected.

After seeing the Peacock Fountain, I turn to the right and examine the Rolleston Avenue side of the old college building. The empty pedestal held a statue that is probably also being repaired as of this October 2013 photo.

Christchurch Roads
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