Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Back in Christchurch

30 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • Russell Brown,

    I should also note that Whisky Galore's return to Colombo Street is a delight. The shop is spacious and the new tasting room, The Howff, is as big again.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    And a little bit of Leithfield Beach ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Victoria Park, on a glorious morning, is a spectacular place. There are dog-walkers, cyclists, hikers. It feels very, very different to the flat city below.

    Going back up into the hills is something else we've been doing this year. When the weather is nice, the tracks are busy without being crowded, and there's this thing where you say hello to everyone you pass they way you wouldn't on a footpath.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Going back up into the hills is something else we’ve been doing this year. When the weather is nice, the tracks are busy without being crowded

    Next time, we'll make more time for walking. I might even have a crack at getting up that hill on a bike – lots of other people seem to manage it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Emma Hart,

    there's this thing where you say hello to everyone you pass they way you wouldn't on a footpath.

    And yet that's what people did, not so long ago. When I came to live here in 2003 I had to habituate myself to it. I remember going to visit my mum at the now-vanished Chch Womens Hospital. Being somewhat preoccupied I didn't acknowledge the Maori woman heading for the laundry entrance until she was right alongside and startled me with a huge "HI!" At least my jumping out of my skin gave her a laugh.

    After the quakes we kind of stopped doing that. Being busy strangers feels safer.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Is it a coincidence that all these images are devoid of people? I still find Christchurch places horribly depopulated.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Is it a coincidence that all these images are devoid of people? I still find Christchurch places horribly depopulated.

    Sort of a coincidence and sort of not. The northeast CBD is weird.

    Ironically, Fiona and I actually enjoyed the space – it made us think about how bloody crowded our part Auckland can seem, especially at the weekend. When I drove to the supermarket yesterday after we got back it seemed really intense.

    It did come as a relief that the years of traffic jams in Christchurch seem to have passed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Stephen Judd,

    Also, what's the deal with Little Pom's? Are they set up as a breakfast venue for other hotels or tours? It was very busy, especially on Sunday morning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Little Pom's is just phenomenally popular, every day. I don't believe there's anything to it beyond having very good food and service (albeit at matching prices). The car park is full every morning which indicates to me it isn't neighbourhood people, but customers from all over coming there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    A stadium bereft of purpose.

    Ozymandias-like (and -lite) it fixes in time the year the fifth National Government began laying waste to New Zealand (using the numeric notation of another failed empire).

    Little Pom’s is just phenomenally popular, every day.

    Also there isn't really another cafe worth the name north or east of there...
    (aside from Ris'tretto at the top of Barbadoes street and then whatever The Palms offers, and maybe Under the Red Verandah on Tancred st Worcester street cnr).
    Grey Lynn this ain't...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    The convention 'centre' is a scandal. I was walking through this morning, and it's remarkable how far the central city lags other development/rebuilding. As someone running for council says - after 5 years, we need to completely reconsider the 'blueprint'. any business would do this: is it still what we want? what we need? what is best achievable? The only reason this isn't happening is because there are egos too big to admit ever getting anything wrong.
    We hardly venture to the central city. I have to go back to shoot some video, but that's about it. I get that weirdly disorientated feeling - buildings from memory and habit still jostling for space or waiting invisible around a corner; emptiness that aches with absence. But it also lets us see things afresh, for what they are. There are lovely spots along the river - and will be more.
    If we could decide to do without the gigantic convention centre and stadium and move ahead without them, we'd be on track. Their unwanted weight is tied to Gerry's ego and it's holding us down.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Emma Hart,

    ...there’s this thing where you say hello to everyone you pass the way you wouldn’t on a footpath.

    Living in a small seaside village where everybody waves or says hello, the few (usually temporary Book-a-Bach clients) who do their best to avoid eye contact really stand out. While they may feel that they're maintaining their privacy, in reality it has the opposite effect and incomers usually stand out like dogs' balls. That was the main reason the people behind the recent big meth-bust-on-the-beach were sprung.

    I guess the desire to remain anonymous comes from living in cities, but that connection -- knowing that you're part of a community -- is what makes New Zealand's small towns so damn pleasant to live in.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Renegotiation Of Christchurch City Council/Government Cost Share Agreement Should Wait Until After Local Body Election

    Keep Our Assets Canterbury has consistently called for the Christchurch City Council/Government Cost Share Agreement (entered into by the 2010-13 Council headed by Mayor Bob Parker) to be renegotiated.

    That is one obvious way to alleviate the pressure from central Government for the Council to have to sell public assets in order to pay for white elephant anchor projects (like the proposed covered rugby stadium in the CBD).

    In June it was announced that just such a renegotiation is under way.

    But the timing is all wrong.

    It’s too close to the October local body election.

    The motive for the Government is clear – to tie the hands of the incoming Council before it has even been elected (which is exactly what happened last time around).

    By all means renegotiate – but wait until after a new Council has been elected.

    Current Councillors (not all of whom are standing for re-election) have no mandate to tie the hands of their successors.

    Nor, for that matter, do they have a mandate to sell City Care – because nobody campaigned to sell public assets at the 2013 election.

    That sale has failed to meet the Council’s self-proclaimed June 30th deadline, which is even more reason why it should be left for the new Council.

    From KOA
    http://www.koa.org.nz/

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Jeanette King,

    Tēnā koutou,
    My experience of the Chch CBD is perhaps different from that of other people. We regularly cycle into town on weekends to check up what's going on. I'm a very spacially orientated person, I remember buildings, etc, and miss them when they're gone - but after the quake when so much was taken down, I realised I needed to alter my angsty response - there was too much to say goodbye to.

    The post-quake phases in the CBD were:
    demolition,
    pile of rubble,
    rubble removed wasteland,
    rebuild.

    I found that I quite liked the wasteland phase - you could see the sides of remaining buildings that normally you wouldn't because other buildings butted right up to them. Old painted advertisements on the sides of buildings were now revealed. Suddenly, it seemed to me, the remaining buildings could breathe in the extra space. What I liked about this phase was the sense of potential. So, this is what it's like when you start a city pretty much from scratch.

    Of course, building is now happening apace. Lots of good stuff, as you mention Russell. The Margaret Mahy playground was such an inspired Council investment. It's got families back into the city. Like you noted, there's always a lot of people there and teens hang out there after dark. The New Regent St shops nearby make a great spot to have a cup of coffee. Sure not everything is good - that convention centre area there is literally nothing has a real spooky feel.

    So, this is a Pollyanna post - and not to brush over all the pain that has happened and continues. Nevertheless, I feel that I'm getting to live in a new city without having moved.

    Just to add: we couldn't have survived without the gap filler art and events - the sudden serendipity and joy that brought/brings was what we needed. Never let anyone say that the arts aren't essential.

    Ōtautahi • Since Oct 2010 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jeanette King,

    Kia ora, Jeanette.

    So, this is a Pollyanna post – and not to brush over all the pain that has happened and continues. Nevertheless, I feel that I’m getting to live in a new city without having moved.

    That's a very valid point. There is something exciting about the rebuild. It's just a shame central government has let the city down so badly.

    Just to add: we couldn’t have survived without the gap filler art and events – the sudden serendipity and joy that brought/brings was what we needed. Never let anyone say that the arts aren’t essential.

    Tautoko that! I really felt good about the art gallery being back in business too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    after 5 years, we need to completely reconsider the ‘blueprint’. any business would do this: is it still what we want? what we need? what is best achievable? The only reason this isn’t happening is because there are egos too big to admit ever getting anything wrong.

    The Blueprint was ridiculous 5 years ago and even more ridiculous now. The CBD redevelopment needs to be driven by the locals to do the things we need. We all said this at the time, here on PAS.

    I find it unbearably depressing that the govt is still forcing their half-assed rush-job Plan on a city that doesn't want it. And that in the middle of a housing crisis the govt is happy to pour hundreds of millions into a convention centre and a stadium that will never break even, but that same government refuses to build social housing.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    On the subject of Gap Filler, anyone who hasn't seen the wonderful documentary about it and other transitional projects, it's still available On Demand.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    Thanks for continuing to post about Chch, Russell. And good to see that Piko continues to be outstanding.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Jeanette King,

    Non-stop Nonsense

    The Margaret Mahy playground was such an inspired Council investment.

    The Crown built that, not the Council, insisted on it (and coming in around $20 million you’d hope it might be okay) – it’s one of the few things they’ve completed, aside from the unholy monstrosity that looks like Mega City One aka the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct- also the only thing that technically deserves the name Precinct.

    The Council owned City Care did get the contract to install the playground though and are turning a reasonable profit – but the council (because of the Government’s bullying) is selling some or all of City Care any minute now, so that in future we’ll pay through the nose to some (probably out of of town if not off shore) company for every bin that ‘s emptied and park that’s mowed, not to mention we do have a few repairs needed about the place – that money will now leave Chchch and its economy – that’s helpful, too.
    All so we can pay ’our part’ of stuff we don’t want, like oversized Convention Centres that delusional Gerry and the Placemakers still hasn’t made a business case for or even quantified in any meaningful way – ditto for the stadium dead zone they want to put between the ‘Innovation Precinct’ and the now not as green ‘East Frame’ residential barrio….

    …the farcical nonsense that is the Innovation Precinct is an unenforceable piece of aspirational PR bullshit that now all the old Canterbury money has banded together to try and stop any ‘extra retail’ occurring in – what a bunch of sad tossers.
    (they say they are doing it to test the validity/efficacy/legality of the ‘Blueprint’ – I think the real reason is they are scared of competition and realise their model is out of date) – what do they think is going to happen on the ground floor of all these buildings – I’m hoping they have innovative shops that are open when people finish work!

    I think I should stop now, it all makes me very, very irate…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The Margaret Mahy playground was such an inspired Council investment.

    The Crown built that, not the Council, insisted on it (and coming in around $20 million you’d hope it might be okay) – it’s one of the few things they’ve completed, aside from the unholy monstrosity that looks like Mega City One aka the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct- also the only thing that technically deserves the name Precinct.

    Fiona Farrell managed to get that one right just on a year ago, when the place had yet to open.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Fiona Farrell managed to get that one right just on a year ago, when the place had yet to open.

    Wasn’t that a stunning book??

    I was lucky enough to attend a fantastic conference People in Disasters back in February, and Fiona Farrell did a poetry reading during the closing ceremony. Poets at a scientific/medical conference, oh yeah.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 822 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Wasn’t that a stunning book??

    I'm somewhat amazed that it's generated so little discussion. The chapters on the parallel post-quake experience of the Italian city of L'Aquila alone are a revelation. Fiona Farrell on the then yet-to-open Margaret Mahy Playground:

    The playground was announced by CERA in December 2012. It will not be like other playgrounds, those little patches set aside for children in the suburbs of the city with their slides and swings and a bouncy horse on a spring. As the CEO of CERA explained, ‘We want to draw people back into the city centre with an outrageous playground.’ It will be part of a riverside park, but this park will not be like other parks. This park will be ‘grunty’. It will be like the waterfront spaces in Melbourne or Brisbane...
    It doesn’t sound like the place for the quiet child, swinging dreamily to and fro, finding the pivot point and the awakenings of the inner life. It sounds big. It sounds whizz bang. It sounds like the fitting setting for the little citizens of a new world order. A pleasure dome fit for the children of Brownleegrad, in this, the province of Rugbistan.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald,

    I like Emma’s theory on the mix of people in venues. I’m looking forward to trying more places – our office is moving into the CBD next week, so I’m hoping to meet up with friends in the central city cafes & bars more often (ETA: the building behind the trees in the shot of the punt - that's my new office!)

    And yes, the mysterious disappearing cycle lanes are a standard Christchurch feature. They’re pretty common on the long straight roads through the suburbs, like Riccarton, Innes & Cranford. Thankfully they usually reappear at intersections, but it would be nice to have them all the way along the block.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    I think I should stop now, it all makes me very, very irate…

    Ah, an irate payer...

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.