Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Walking upright again

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  • dyan campbell,

    I’ve never visited Christchurch, except passing through the airport, but I’ve met quite a few wonderful people from there, and there has not been a day since the February quake that I have not thought about how difficult it must be for everyone who is still there, as well as those who have relocated. Some of the most heartening stories of kindness and courage have come from the worst aspects of that quake, and it’s good to hear the rebuild is underway.

    The film looks terrific – I wish I could come to the taping.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    The movie looks great. But watching the trailer reduces me to tears. I look forward to seeing it in a couple of years when it all feels less raw.

    I’ve had some personal and family troubles in the last few weeks that have taken me nearly to breaking point; I know a lot of other people who are also struggling to keep it together. The ordinary stressful things go on happening, but because we already have this overload of stress and strain from the earthquakes, we can barely cope with them.

    Looking forward to seeing the Media 7 show, though. :-) There’s certainly some great work being done to make things better.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3438 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to Lilith __,

    I feel this will be one of the hidden but real long term damage that the quakes have done
    That is the effect that the constant stress will have on peoples personal lives

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 536 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Lilith __,

    Lilith - know this situation & very well - any way I can help? Aroha mai na-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    Yes indeed. It's like having an unforgiving & and uncompromising -situation.
    Which is what widespread osteo-arthritis is. Constant pain & stress. It just never goes away. Nor does living in an unalterable 'quake zone.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Know where you're coming from, Lillith. It's a pretty good film, from what I've seen, but when I talked to my wife about going, she said, Nah. Too raw. Too soon.
    And I feel a bit like that myself.
    Working at the university, while there are many fine people doing good things, too many people feel stretched, and slightly doomed. We have, y'know, budget crises, managers who regard moral and collegiality as self-indulgent, and what seem like inevitable job and programme cuts to look forward to.
    I gather adverse health effects are forecast to hit hardest 13-18 months later. Hovering around the gloom is a slight air of guilt, too: I feel moderately crappy, despite home and family and job all, so far at least, intact. So how do people in far far worse situations feel?
    Not ready to go back there in the cinema yet. Glad the film is there, though, as a testament.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1529 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Lilith: You poor dear;. I'm keeping sane by digging - literally - and planting. You aren't alone; I know many people who are feeling overstretched and overwhelmed. A walk at Woodend beach out of the shake zone for an hour last week was magical; I have to polish those magic moments to get through the hard work and occasional brutality of daily life. Do you need help to access some sort of help?

    When A City Falls is a bit soon for me; one of my coping mechanisms is avoidance of large gatherings in confined spaces and much of the time not listening to earthquake footage with the sound on. Visuals I can handle but the sounds throw me into flashback.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2600 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Sparks,

    I've just got back - well two weeks ago - from Christchurch where I joined the small team making 'When A City Falls' for two months to help finish the edit which had actually begun soon after the September quake. To echo Gerard's words, no one was counting on the February quake so the film changed course dramatically at that time. This has been one of the most challenging documentaries I've worked on but also one of the most rewarding. The sheer amount of raw footage was daunting enough (thankfully editor Richard Lord had picked through most of it and cut some of the stories really well already) but then there was the emotional tight-rope we all teetered on at various stages. Many discussions were had about the use of the rescue and recovery footage in terms of respecting the feelings of family and friends of the victims - it becomes a very fine line obviously and I hope we tread it carefully enough. I totally understand that some Cantabrians won't want to see the film - it has some fairly harrowing sequences - but appreciate the comments that people think it was an important film to make. I have had a particular fondness for Christchurch for many years and have often stopped off there on my way to and from numerous forays into the Southern Alps so after February 22nd I really wanted to do something to help. Work commitments kept me away during the immediate aftermath but then I got a call from Gerard and have hopefully made some small contribution. I have seen for myself the toll this has taken on many people there but I have also been exposed to a wonderful wave of positivity and innovation that is taking place - the recent Arts Festival being one example. My heart goes out to those who are struggling to keep it together in that broken city - the mending will take many years. Thanks Russell for a great Media 7 and for promoting the film.

    Pt Chevalier • Since Apr 2011 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I'm going to Christchurch for a few days in early December. I've booked a seat on the Red Zone bus tour (and it's brilliant this has been offered to locals now), and it looks like I'll be able to see that film too. I miss Christchurch.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1855 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    The documentary looks interesting, will it be made available online later for purchase or have any showings in the UK next year?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 884 posts Report Reply

  • Tamsin6,

    I have just read an article in The Press online, saying that the Cathedral has been issued with a demolition notice. OMFG.

    Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the order would not force the cathedral into demolition.

    "We certainly haven't pushed that position, but it is severely damaged," he said.

    "I believe it was the right decision and it is not easy to say that."
    The 10-day demolition notice was issued only after the church had already announced it would partially demolish the cathedral, he said. He confirmed the notice was for full "deconstruction", despite the church's proposal for partial demolition.

    "I would say it's a precautionary thing ... It's very unstable."

    London • Since Dec 2007 • 123 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Tamsin6,

    . . . the Cathedral has been issued with a demolition notice. OMFG.

    If there’s a deliberate strategy behind how this news has been broken it’s hard to fathom.

    No nice guy Roger Sutton simpering woodenly after having taken a big gulp from the poisoned chalice. Just Brownlee, boots ’n all and making with the name-calling already. The same Brownlee who back in March said:

    he would like to see resources go into re-building the Christchurch Cathedral, the Catholic Basilica, the Provincial Chambers and the Arts Centre – “but that’s it”.

    “There will be a few others perhaps, but those would be the most iconic buildings that Christchurch residents would want to see rebuilt.

    “They won’t be put back the way they were. They will need to have a great deal of strengthening put into them and it will be quite a long consideration as to how those things might be done."

    While the blunt serving of a demolition notice on the Anglicans is no doubt part of the chronically risk-averse CERA’s legal requirements, it’s a huge slap in the public face to break the news that way. The cathedral may belong to the Anglicans, but iconic considerations aside it’s had massive material support from the state, and has long served as a venue for a whole range of secular functions.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    No heart, no blood at all.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Islander,

    Thanks all, and particular arohanui to Islander. Your support means a lot. I’m actually feeling a lot better this morning after a good deep sleep (a rarity of late). My cat, injured by dogs at the weekend, is miraculously smiling again; and my Mum, broken pelvis and all, is more cheerful and seems to be recovering.

    I’m off to see her this morning with some tasty treats, and the sun is shining and the norwest is blowing.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3438 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ken Sparks,

    appreciate the comments that people think it was an important film to make

    Yes, indeed. I'm sure it will be an important record for the future.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3438 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    The cathedral may belong to the Anglicans, but iconic considerations aside it’s had massive material support from the state, and has long served as a venue for a whole range of secular functions.

    I guess that a lot of the row is about the Anglicans asserting their ownership and right to decide on the cathedral’s fate versus Brownlee in election-year mode, Cera, the City Council officials, Bob Parker, heritage advocates and anyone else who is putting their oar in.

    Seems that there are a lot of opinions about what should be done and no-one willing to hand over $50 million to pay for it. An unholy mess in every way.

    I loved that cathedral inside -- the outside was ugly standard Vic-Kiwi-Gothic -- but I’m willing to let it go if a better city can arise. From being a lifelong old-buildings-lover, I’m rapidly turning around to a stance of bugger putting our collective emotional, intellectual and physical resources into what are now piles of rubble. Let’s put those resources into re-inventing not rebuilding the city.

    I worry that the amount of time and energy people are spending on very knackered buildings and areas will allow the fast-buck merchants to literally drive trucks through the great possibilities open to us all. And that applies on a personal level too – it’s easy to get derailed by the crumbling foundations and sinking garden and not see the opportunities to recreate our lives. One of Christchurch’s frustrations for me has been the rather self-satisfied closed shop, and that has been blown apart .

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2600 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The new Catch 22...
    Section 38 the National Party!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4811 posts Report Reply

  • Tamsin6, in reply to Hebe,

    My understanding is that the demo notice went out on the same day the dean and bishop held a press conference detailing their possible strategies. They are in the process of deciding what will happen and how they will pay for it, and trying (unlike Mr Brownlee) to be sensitive to the wider Christchurch community. In other words, preparing them for the likelihood that a big chunk of the building will have to come down, and that it won't be the same when, or if, it goes back up. How helpful is it then, to jump all over the issue with great big steel-cap deconstruction boots, before anyone has really had a chance to assimilate the news? It is already in hand, why the notice? Because Mr Brownlee is a prick basically. IMHO of course.

    London • Since Dec 2007 • 123 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hebe,

    Thanks Hebe, agree 100%.
    I really don't get what Brownlee's trying to achieve, beyond indulging in a bit of philistine triumphalism. It seems to be a bit of an own goal at this stage of the election campaign.

    The 1950s extension to Mountfort's museum shows that old buildings can be sensitively modified and enhanced, but even if this was put back as it was I wouldn't want to spend time in there.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    a coupla dips into past of Chchch...
    '60s colombo street
    and
    The Real Cathedral Square

    from Dave Welch's excellent NZ in Transit / Bus Watch blog

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4811 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Tamsin6,

    The Press is now saying:

    Quake authorities have given Christ Church Cathedral 10 days to come up with a plan for partial demolition - not full deconstruction as previously reported.

    Brownlee did say "a full deconstruction". He was wrong. You may wish to substitute your own words for "wrong"...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4349 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Emma Hart,

    He was wrong. You may wish to substitute your own words for "wrong"...

    Look, it's dynamic environment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8432 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The Real Cathedral Square

    Time warp! A bit over to the right and you'd have seen the old soldier who sold Golden Kiwi tickets from a little table outside the post office.

    I remember an eyewitness account of a daylight robbery where "a horrible bodgie, a great dumb club" snatched the raffle ticket seller's cash bag. When the old guy gave chase the villain "drew a fourteen-inch crescent (shifting spanner) out of his boot and clubbed the old fella over the head" before being overpowered by a bunch of cockies.

    I was starting to join the dots until I realised that Brownlee would have been around twelve at the time.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to BenWilson,

    Look, it's dynamic environment.

    Quite, and the ground is shifting on this one 24/7.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2600 posts Report Reply

  • Louise Hall,

    Thanks for the Media7 programme last night. It was positive and depressing all at once. My family and I have relocated from ChCh to Dunedin for work, with the added benefit of escaping the quakes and continuing struggles. I have been finding things increasingly emotional and am very jittery since leaving. I guess perhaps as I am not there to help and support my family and friends. The thought of another major one striking fills me with panic.
    I am looking forward to seeing the documentary, but don't want to see it at a theatre. Will it be released on DVD?
    Love and thoughts to all still in ChCh.

    Dunedin • Since Mar 2007 • 5 posts Report Reply

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