Picture of the Month #12 - July
Carlton Corner, bare bones Knox Church, Smash Palace bar.
Big news at the end of July was the release of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan which illustrates a long term vision that 'Central Christchurch will become the thriving heart of an international city'.
Like it or not it's a step forward. It's only pretty words and pictures at this time, but it does mean that lots of things are really going to happen here soon, which is unique and exciting.
Onwards and upwards Christchurch!
Picture of the Month #11 - June
There's just a couple of hours to spare on the last day of the month, a cold morning's bike ride around central Christchurch to find a scene worthy of the penultimate picture of the month.
Even more roads are now open again allowing everyone to travel through the city and to really come to terms with the new/old surroundings. This now leaves an increasingly smaller, cordoned off no-go area.
Cranes, diggers, rubble and empty spaces have become normal, so it was great to turn the corner and see a couple of serious looking bulls on top of two grand pianos! It was even more refreshing to be invited into the nearby NG building to watch and listen to a very capable pianist, playing wonderful music on a beautifully carved Steinway grand piano - one complete installation lasting one whole month, courtesy of the Christchurch Art Gallery.
Picture of the Month #10 - May
Working people have been seen in the Christchurch CBD, without a hardhat or hi-viz vest on for the first time in well over a year!
A few new roads were opened up to the public in May, many people spent parts of their weekend walking and driving around streets that hadn't been seen for such along time. It's a very different looking place, so much has gone, there's a little bit of building going on, and even on a Sunday there's the sound of more demolition of more buildings.
About 200 people of The Press Newspaper virtually have central Christchurch to themselves, together with the demolition and construction industries - maybe some new and trendy temporary pop-ups will help bring others in to join them!
Picture of the Month #9 - April
If you're one of the lucky Christchurch homeowners whose house didn't fall over or your house isn't about to get knocked down by a bulldozer, or if the land it sits on doesn't have a big question mark over it's future, and as long as you have been paying home and contents insurance, then the New Zealand Earthquake Commission covers the cost to repair your home from the damage it injured during the earthquakes.
And that's what we went through in April. A container arrived on our back lawn which we filled up with all of our household possessions. We then moved into temporary accommodation while builders and other tradesmen arrived to get a long list of repairs completed. This is happening all over Christchurch. I heard a figure of fifty houses a day being completed with each house, on average, taking six weeks to complete. That means lots of very busy tradespeople.
With all this going on it was a great help to have my parents arrive from sunny England to help with our all ready busy lifestyle. They're seen here taking in whats happened to the city they've always enjoyed visiting - a big thank you to them!
Picture of the Month #8 - March
Getting from A to B in Christchurch can be challenging these days; congestion at peak trafic times, diversions, road closures, holes, bumps and some quite unusual signs trying to help with all of this.
In March 2012 we weren't the only ones with changes on the roads in New Zealand. As of Sunday 25th at 5am New Zealand saw give way rule changes to align with the rest of the world.
As someone with my first 12 years of driving in the UK and my last 6 years of driving in NZ (plus a few short breaks back to the UK), I welcomed the change as soon as I heard about it, though I've been here long enough to feel the confusion.
Early reports on the rule change are that it's been successful. It'll be interesting to see how things pan out, as people stop being cautious and stop giving way to every driver turning right or left!
Picture of the Month #7 - February
There was certainly one prominent day in February here in Christchurch - Wednesday the 22nd, a day of reflection, remembrance and afterwards, time to move on.
This picture was taken just after spending some time amongst the huge crowds of people at Hagley Park. Some flowers in road cones!
An idea that quickly spread from the east of Christchurch to the rest of the city, Christchurch is currently the road cone capital of the world! So it was a pretty impressive sight.
But it didn't stop there. With the help of a cartoon sketch and Facebook the idea took off to the rest of the country. Pictures of flowers in road cones were taken globally in Australia, London, Singapore, Mexico and even Antarctica.
Picture of the Month #6 - January
The biggest crack in Christchurch - Crowne Plaza Hotel.
This is probably the most dramatic scene I found on the last day of January, after a quick trip around this rapidly changing city. Apparently a hit from December 23rd, demolition work was already underway from the 12th of December, story here.
After six weeks away I've had people say "well nothing changes", but that doesn't seem to ring true here!
Picture of the Month #5 - December
After leaving Christchurch on the 10th for a winter Christmas, we were in two minds with the news of the shakes that started on the 23rd - feeling useless and wishing we were back there, and thankfully we weren't there to experience it again.
This picture beats a picture of Santa parading down the road, to make it as Picture of the Month Decemember. Initial thoughts were surely there's a space for these to be used and enjoyed again, and what are the old regular players up to...
Then through the wonders of the internet I found out that Gap Filler, an 'urban regeneration initiative' has helped to open a new community chess site at 454 Colombo St, Sydenham.
Picture of the Month #4 - Novemeber
Re:Start: We arrived early on the second Saturday of its opening (the first Saturday of November). We wandered around then sat down as a three piece family and took in the surroundings.
It seemed like a tourist destination, like two jumbo jets had each dropped off a full load of Christchurch people to a new yet, familiar place.
After two more visits to take pictures of the changing skyline and to take the walk through to see the Cathedral, I'm guessing that November may well have been one of the city centre's most photographed months of all time. As for the new 'permanent temporary' Cashel Mall, I think it's safe to say "Everyone loves it".
Picture of the Month #3 - October
Large crowds, anticipation, brass band, smiles, cheers, waves, sporting heroes, excitement, waving flags, screams, jostling to get a look, rushing to get a picture, emotion, triumphant pride.
Picture of the Month #2 - September
It was all GO in and around Hagley park during September. Crowds of people flocked to the park attracted by the Christchurch Arts Festival and the temporary Fanzone for the Rugby World Cup, something that hasn’t really been seen since ‘you know when’. What with all of this and further piles of rubble replacing iconic central city buildings, there's been plenty of photo opportunities to document.
It's hard for anyone with a camera in-hand though, to resist one of this row of trees in September. Luckily (apart from the roadworks) the only thing that has changed here is the season!
Picture of the Month #1 - August
A couple having a day out in Christchurch, watching demolition work go a head. You can see two remaining building frontages still standing, the one to the left which is further away is the front of the well-known Irish pub, The Bog.