Thursday, February 24, 2011

Memories of Christchurch

Some of you may have read my post earlier this week, just after the disastrous earthquake in the city in which I was born and brought up.
The news gets sadder every day, with about 100 now confirmed dead, and another 250 still missing. I have been thinking about my years there and the places I used to know well; these pictures are how I would like to remember the city.

For about 8 years of my childhood we lived in New Brighton. My strongest memory, apart from our big wooden two-storeyed house, is of the beach - stretching for miles, windswept, grey-sanded. There was a long wooden pier, dilapidated and dangerous, under which I very nearly drowned. Today there is a new streamlined pier.

When I was a teenager we moved to Sumner, another beachside suburb. In those angst-ridden times I often used to walk along the beach at night and sit on top of the Cave Rock (centre of picture). I always felt perfectly safe, and never came to any harm.

I attended Christchurch Girls' High School, in an old building only a block or 2 from the centre of the city. Today, there is a new campus on far bigger grounds, further out of the CBD.

Another view of the old building:

One of the best features of the city is (was?) Hagley Park, a huge acreage of recreational ground wisely set aside by the founders for their descendants.

There were sporting grounds, walking and running tracks, lakes and playgrounds.
A busy main road runs through the Park, and along both sides of it are beautiful cherries which make a stunning show in the springtime.

Of course they have been renewed and replaced many times over the years, but I am very proud of the fact that my father was responsible for the original plantings, when he was an elected member of the City Council.

Christchurch has always prided itself on its gardens. Through the city runs the Avon river (yes, named after the English one). I used to love being taken boating on the river,

and to the Botanic Gardens and Museum

In the background of these two pictures is the old University, which I attended. These days it is an Arts centre; I wonder how much of it has survived the quakes?

Christchurch had a small but busy port called Lyttelton. This is where the latest quake was centred

And finally, another picture of the iconic (yes, that word is badly overused, but in this case it's correct)

Thanks for reading.
These photos are by David Wall or from this site by Michelle.


  1. Oh my gosh Alexia your birthplace is really such a beautiful place, every picture is better than the last....such rich colors and stunning flowers...they last photo of the cathedral with the clouds over top ...such a sad thing to have happened, and the loss of lives as well. In time I suppose you will have to make the trip to go back home and see for yourself what is still there....thank goodness your family is safe. Thanks for sharing this special post.

  2. Wow. Thanks for posting those amazing photos -- even if you didn't take them.
    And that was a great tour of the city.
    I'm glad you included the park; that's something that more than likely survived the earthquake pretty well and may be sheltering some residents even now, if their homes are unsafe. That was one comforting thought.
    I'm so glad you posted this. I've kept thinking about you all week, even though you aren't in the same city.

  3. the pictures...memories...of your birthplace and where you spent part of your beautiful!

    i'm so sorry when things like this happen...such a tragedy that changes people's lives forever.
    the loss & devastation...will take a long time to recover from. at times like this, people tend to be there for each other...let their kindness sine through...and give a helping hand to others that need it!

    you are in my thoughts...


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