The Devastation and Rebirth of Christchurch, New Zealand


Property investor Liz Harris: Determined to battle on, despite losing dozens of buildings.

However, the central city remains sealed off while buildings continue to come down. The only cranes on the skyline are pulling things down, not putting them up.


In addition, tens of thousands of homes await repair. A new “green-blue” zone was decreed for houses that had suffered extensive damage but could be rebuilt with new foundations. Many people have become disenchanted by the slow rate of progress, and much criticism has been directed at central and local government.

Restart: A temporary shopping precinct consisting of brightly colored shipping containers has opened in the city mall.

The Government appointed Gerry Brownlee earthquake recovery minister. The blunt and pragmatic former woodwork teacher quickly drew the ire of heritage supporters devastated at the loss of so much of the city’s cultural fabric by advocating the wholesale demolition of old buildings (“old dungers”). Only a few of the most significant buildings would be saved. Criticism continues that too many old buildings have been demolished too hastily, yet could have been strengthened and saved, such as the Anglican cathedral, which is earmarked for demolition.