The Devastation and Rebirth of Christchurch, New Zealand


Ruined stone church in the city center.

Unlike September, this was a huge disaster. Many people had been killed; many people were trapped. The death toll reached 185. More than half of the deaths occurred in the six-story Canterbury Television Building, which collapsed and caught fire. Many were overseas language students from Asia. Others were killed in the Pyne Gould Corporation building; others in some of the many old brick buildings; others still in a bus or their cars when buildings collapsed on top of them. On the Port Hills and the Port of Lyttelton, others were killed by falling rocks.


Emergency crews from around the world, including the United States, Australia, Britain, Japan, Singapore, and many more were dispatched to help with the rescue effort.

The east of the city was a mess. Cars fell into giant sink holes that appeared as roads liquefied beneath them. The evil silty sand burst into people’s homes, rendering them uninhabitable. A cliff on the Port Hills collapsed. Brand new multi-million dollar homes with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean tumbled over the edge.

Historic buildings that had survived the first quake succumbed to the second. Virtually all the city’s old, mostly two-story brick buildings collapsed.