Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: One, Redux

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  • Emma Hart, in reply to Hebe,

    The flowery road cones are awesome

    The flowery road cones are amazing, and... is it just me, or is that the kind of response that was never going to come top-down? I can't imagine council coming up with that.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lilith __,

    Russell, you dear man. Now I am crying.

    Oops -- sorry ;-)

    But it's true: you and Hebe and everyone else have truly enriched the community here.

    And in the occasional what's-the-point moment I can remember that we gave you a place to talk, and that makes it all worthwhile.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Attachment

    Emma's put it more eloquently than I ever could, buit nobody grieves in exactly the same way and that kind of nonsense is pretty abusive..

    Hey, grieving comes in many forms ,true, but people who cannot discuss it anymore can actually be grieving themselves. as you say ,all different. I know people who get angry when something hurts alot. Doesn't mean they don't care.
    Anyway. Because Emma, you like gardening , here is a flowers for you and I may do this all day for people here down Christchurch way. My way of saying I care quietly.:)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6261 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    The flowery road cones are amazing, and… is it just me, or is that the kind of response that was never going to come top-down? I can’t imagine council coming up with that.

    I found the bottom-up responses inspiring the last time I was in Christchurch. The response to institutional failure could simply have been despair, but people did something better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Lilith __,

    … but all you folk in other parts of the country have made such an effort to understand and care for us.

    Yes, because there’s not a lot we can do, except listen, and listen, and listen, for as long as people in Christchurch want to talk. Or not, just as suits each person living in Christhchurch.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1323 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Because Emma, you like gardening , here is a flowers for you and I may do this all day for people here down Christchurch way. My way of saying I care quietly.:)

    Aw, thank you Sofie. Now I'm crying.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And yet this ordeal brought you to us, and that's been such a good thing Lilith.

    +1

    I was okay today until I visited Philip Matthews' blog and saw the picture of Peter Majendie's memorial work '185 Empty Chairs'.

    This also. Gudrun Gisela posted a similar photo on the Christchurch Photo thread (after accidentally putting it on another last night). Stops you in your tracks.

    All the best Emma and everyone in Christchurch.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2143 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The response to institutional failure could simply have been despair, but people did something better.

    Or event management, which comes across as a kind of corporatised smiley-faced despair ('Ellerslie' Flower Show, ffs. When the Garden City has to buy one off the peg . . )

    The traffic cones appears to be an initiative of Henry Sunderland, who as far as I know teaches at CPIT when he's not dreaming up great ideas from the good of his heart.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Attachment

    Can we get a photo? Jus' sayin ;)
    Meanwhile, a moment for your reflections.... (given from my back garden)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6261 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I find it hard to put into words how I feel about today, because, I guess, it's not my pain. It's not my experience. And, as you have said, Emma, it's not like that moment when your world stops spinning, but everyone's going on about their business, because those moments keep happening. Every day, in different ways, for the people who call Christchurch home, in whatever way that may be. All I can do, all of of us can do, is make sure that you know our love is with you. Our best wishes. That we are all, at base, part of a community that will look after each other when needed. I'm not big on gravestones, or days of commemoration, or any of that. What I'm big on is hugs. So take it as read, that I'm sending some super duper ones.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Deborah,

    Yes, because there’s not a lot we can do, except listen, and listen, and listen, for as long as people in Christchurch want to talk. Or not, just as suits each person living in Christhchurch.

    Keeping the biscuit barrel full and the good tea pot on perpetual standby is never the wrong response. Whether your guest then wants to chew your ear or feel the serenity is up to them. Sorry for sounding like a fucking hippy, but being genuinely present and attentive to someone in pain, however they express it, is a real blessing. For all the shit over the last year, I’ve been humbled by the constant reminders that small acts of simple human decency are heroic.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12031 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

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    small acts of simple human decency are heroic.

    And boy do they stand out.
    Here is a bunch flowers for a bunch of flowers.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6261 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Attachment

    Can we get a photo? Jus' sayin ;)

    Church Corner, Upper Riccarton.
    Best I can manage until proper photographers kick in.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3552 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    There are not enough cups of tea in the world today. I wish I could make one for you in person, Emma. Milk, sugar, dash of brandy?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Jolisa,

    There are not enough cups of tea in the world today. I wish I could make one for you in person, Emma. Milk, sugar, dash of brandy?

    I'm really not a big fan of tea. Brandy, on the other hand...

    I did not expect today to be so difficult, personally. I went and sat in the doorway right where I sat last year and looked at all the gouges in the lino where things fell. I'd thought two minutes' silence would be too long. I didn't move for five. And I really felt how lucky I was that my family made it back to me that day. That I still have my families, of blood and of heart. And the people I love showed me how much they loved me. I'm going to go for a walk. Then later I'm going to make the smoked chicken and rosemary pie my partner loves so much, in my fully functional oven, because frankly commemoration does not extend to cooking frittata on the barbeque.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol,

    Here's something written after the 1931 Napier quake. http://laytonduncan.com/post/3506659242/i-never-understood-how-a-man-could-dare-to-watch

    I never understood how a man could dare
    To watch a city shaken to the ground
    To feel the tremors, hear the tragic sound,
    Of houses twisting, crashing everywhere,
    And not be conquered by despair.
    Although his buildings crumble to a mound
    Of worthless ruins, man has always found
    The urge to build a stronger city there.

    Within my soul I made my towers high.
    They lie in ruins, yet I have begun
    To build again, now planning to restore
    What life has shaken to the earth; And I in faith
    Shall build my towers towards the sun
    A stronger city than was there before.

    After being down for a few blazing hot bluebird days for a couple of friends' February wedding, then followed a while later by a lovely brisk Winter visit to see The Girl's family, I'd only just discovered and fallen in love with Christchurch's inner city. And then about a month later the September quake hit. Terribly frightening, we brought The Girl's family up to stay with us, it broke my heart talking her nieces. 6 & 8 year olds shouldn't know how to talk about how "serious it is down there, with all the death". But there it was.

    A friends terrifying experience with parts of his old brick office coming off, located in the beautiful lanes in the city, soon seemed to be nothing but a fading memory. Regular tweets about aftershocks notwithstanding, the worst seemed to be over. The damaged walls pinned back into place. Everyone went back to work.

    But now his office is gone. So is everything nearby.

    Losing the people is a tragedy, losing the city is also a tragedy, but it might be a tragedy that can be somewhat ameliorated by taking the opportunity of reconstruction and make something glorious.

    It's clear from virtually everything he's said publicly that it's an opportunity that Jerry Brownless & his ilk will see squandered; that bottom-feeding property developers will fritter away with ugly (and seismically inappropriate) tilt-slab construction. Quick to build, ugly as sin, and incidentally constructed in such a way that they need to be demolished and rebuilt pretty much every time there's a serious quake.

    But the engineering problem of building earthquake tolerant buildings is solved. The city can be rebuilt safely. Just look at what Tokyo stood up to. The buildings rocked, and sometimes cracked, but they certainly didn't ever risk falling.

    If the rebuild is DESIGNED, and I don't mean individual buildings, but the whole reconstruction of the inner city - designed by designers, by real urban planning experts (the best in the world of whom must be lined up to help Christchurch), and definitely not by politicians.

    Designed to be lived in. Not driven through. With space to be a human. And built beautifully.

    Well it could become the only other place in the country where I could imagine moving to. (Such is my love for the scattered villages of Auckland it would take a lot to get me out of here.)

    But of course it's not really any of my business, I'm not from there. I recognise this.

    So I look it to people like Layton Duncan, not a property developer, just a man who loves his city, and wants to see the best possible city built to replace what was lost. http://polarbearfarm.com/

    The site doesn't have much in the way of detail yet, hopefully he'll go more public about the whole project soon, but I've spoken to Layton about his plans, and it's at least a glimmer in the dark.

    A glimmer that will be snuffed out if the people of Christchurch leave it to "other people" to grow their beautiful new city. But we're here to help if you need it.

    Build your towers towards the sun.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol,

    Can I also say, Emma, your post was really beautifully written. Despite talking to friends and family living in Christchurch, I really have no understanding of what life is like there now.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 297 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    It's raining in Wellington today. My son (who does not really do reflection) commented, 'That's good, it's raining for Christchurch.'

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2095 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I’m really not a big fan of tea. Brandy, on the other hand…

    Brandy in a teacup it is, then. Actually, in a damn teapot. Let no one say we've lost the genteel way of doing things.

    A walk and a nourishing bake sounds just the thing for the soul. And cherishing the luck and the love -- every day, today even more so.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Thank you, Morgan.

    If the rebuild is DESIGNED, and I don't mean individual buildings, but the whole reconstruction of the inner city - designed by designers, by real urban planning experts (the best in the world of whom must be lined up to help Christchurch), and definitely not by politicians.

    I have spoken to a couple of people lately who are perfectly happy with the idea of Chch turning into a doughnut city. Me, I want a place where I can go "dinner theatre bar bar taxi home".

    But as things stand, design is not the issue. Insurance is. It would be a massive help to the rebuild if the government offered central city businesses temporary bridging insurance so they could secure loans to rebuild. If regulation had been put in place to stop commercial landlords rorting businesses on rents and long-term leases. And if government departments aren't prepared to commit to the central city, why should private businesses be?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I did not expect today to be so difficult, personally.

    Me neither. I've been a mess since I saw the 185 Chairs picture this morning.

    I've realised how connected I've felt to what's happened without actually experiencing it: growing up in Christchurch and knowing that so many of the places I used to play are gone, visiting, writing about it, what's been shared over time here, wanting to be there to give you and (heh) David hugs ...

    And then when I thought I was okay again and resumed work on the TV show I still have to make tonight, I got a text from Blair that just knocked me over. Christ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    There's a sympathetic nor'wester blowing away the cobwebs in Auckland, too.

    For some reason, I keep thinking of a story of my Nana's, about the day the nor'wester whisked her knitting patterns out of her bag and scattered them down Riccarton Rd. She chased them, futilely, furiously, weeping with frustration. "Oh, I said a lot of words to that wind. Some of them very naughty."

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It was Hewitt Humphrey reading the names of the dead that did me in. But that's only one facet of it. Emma, Blair, David, everyone's stories ... each one a prism of something too immense to make sense of in one go... magnitude is maybe the word I'm groping for.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1411 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Reid, in reply to Sacha,

    it seems odd to be commemorating the anniversary of something that's still happening

    I'd agree with that - how can we honour the memory of something that is still disrupting our lives and giving us grief?

    But then I think of those that died or were injured, and perhaps a year is the time to mark some kind of moving on or bringing to remembrance.

    I know there has been planning to deal with a greater level of psychological aftermath following the anniversary. I live in hope that that might mean people are continuing on a recovery process, not one that is finishing, but at least one that is moving along rather than being supressed.

    South Africa • Since Nov 2006 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Best thoughts to all Chch. peeps.
    In Akl. we're still thinking of you just about every day.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

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