Designed to make me smile

Our city is in the process of a major rebuilding programme.  Travelling around the city requires great patience and perseverance  because of the rebuild.

At the weekend, we went to look for a new shopping development and, although we found the complex, in the process of the search, we also became hopelessly entangled in detours and blocked roads and had to venture into areas that we hadn’t visited in a very long time.

That is why we happened upon this delightful spot on the Heathcote River, on its way to the sea. (This is the view down river.)Christchurch Quay

In the very beginning, when Christchurch, the city, was more a plan on a piece of paper than a reality, this spot was known as Christchurch Quay or Radley Wharf. In the beginning

The new settlers from England, after months in cramped quarters at sea, arrived in the port of Lyttelton. The next part of the journey involved climbing  over the Port Hills via the Bridle Path, crossing the Heathcote River, at a place called Ferrymead, and proceeding to town along a muddy pot holed road. Their belongings, the ones they couldn’t carry, came the long way round, by sea from Lyttelton to Sumner and thence to Christchurch Quay.  From here their goods were taken by horse ,or dray, to Christchurch. Travelling to, and through, the city was a difficult and arduous process.

My great great grandparents, James and Amelia,  arrived in Lyttelton on 16 August 1855 aboard the Caroline Agnes.  They came with their three small children; Caroline, George and Fanny.  My great-grandmother, Fanny, was a year old. It is possible that where I stood, to take my photos of the old Christchurch Quay, was the very place where my forbears once stood. Perhaps it was here they paused, took a deep, weary and determined breath, and negotiated their way to a new and different life.  Not in Christchurch, as it turned out, because by 1856 the family was settled further north in the small settlement of Kaiapoi.

This is the view, up river, following the towpath. The Port Hills can be seen in the distance.

The towpath to the city

As I reflected on days past, Heathcote River Reflectionsthe path we are on today seemed not so hard; our ancestors trod it once before.  We can take courage from their successes and failures.  They travel with us as our companion  guides and let us know that we can tackle  present and future roads. That’s enough to make me smile.

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36 thoughts on “Designed to make me smile

  1. Virginia Duran

    Just watched the video! It is indeed an ambitious plan. Big scale architecture can change cities and could change people’s lives. I like the “green belt” as a concept although people would have to get used to it. You have to stay positive because this City Planning project can turn out to be quite interesting. So… no complaining about closed roads or detours 🙂

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Your video about the Miami Beach development reminded me of this post of mine. In the case of Christchurch, part of the idea behind the video was to communicate, via technology, a hopefulness about the future of our city. Thanks for watching.

      Reply
  2. Mrs. P

    What a great video and city plan. I had no idea that the city had incurred so many losses to it’s infrastructure. When the video talked about 70% of the downtown area being torn down, I finally got how huge this Earthquake was and was able to compare it’s impact on a more realistic scale. That’s just a little less than half of major cities like San Francisco or San Jose. If all of your plans go through it will be wonderful for Christchurch!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Our city is small in world terms but if you could imagine, say Manhattan ,with 70% of its landmarks and buildings gone or about to be demolished then that is about how it is here. Gone. We are living through an incredible time and are so hoping to see a strong new city evolve over the years to come. I am glad you enjoyed the video.

      Reply
  3. IRENA

    I still fell so sorry about that horrible earthquake two years ago… glad you are recovering so well! Wish you all the best! That river is like a symbol of CC isn’t it?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your concern. Our rivers are a very important part of the city. The new city plans will make them a very obvious feature of the landscape.

      Reply
  4. utesmile

    Amazing project, so many new buidings, they must have lots of money to finish it. I am sure it will be fantastic, once it is finished. I love your pictures by hte river, and such a lovely sunny day!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for loving my pictures. It was a lovely sunny day and very warm for Autumn. The amount of money required for the rebuild creeps up and up to amounts that stagger my mind.

      Reply
  5. Clanmother

    I can only imagine the hardships that my ancestors faced coming to a new country. I have read the stories of the women who crossed the prairies in the 1800’s Their courage and determination is the stuff of legends. Even my parents, who lived through the Great Depression have stories that food was scarce and that there was always a threat that they would lose their homes and land.

    I have very little to complain about!

    Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Indeed they have. I am glad you love the video. It is supposed to inspire us and keep us positive. The reality is a little less attractive 🙂

  6. Annie's Place

    It is nice to know that you have lovely rivers and paths. I am sure that your ancestors were also inspired by the river view. It does take a long time to rebuild a city. I don’t think most people think of it.

    Reply
  7. coulda woulda shoulda

    Gosh, one does forget that rebuilding takes a while. I suppose in the news the rest of the world moves on to the next issue but in reality – people have to keep working around this. But you have a lovely attitude towards it.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for your kind words. The rebuild is an enormous task. Of course, to some extent, a city is always being rebuilt and is never finished. However, you can see the magnitude of the issues we face when we are told that some buildings, like one of our Cathedrals, may take more than a decade to rebuild. On a personal scale there are still people living in damaged houses, or in garages because they can’t afford to live anywhere else. Housing is in short supply.

      Reply
  8. leapingtracks

    How funny that we should be looking at each other’s blog at exactly the same time. I was watching your YouTube clip when your comment on my post arrived! I found the backing track to that clip very uplifting and inspiring – did you too? And yes, while every generation has its different struggles, each one will find a way to overcome them. The different parts of the city which you show us, whether still broken, or intact, all have their stories to tell and are beautiful in their own right.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How well coordinated we are 🙂 Yes, the music was uplifting but I have no idea what it is or who wrote it. In another video clip about the city rebuild, the narrator refers to the city in terms of a palimpsest which I found very close to my way of viewing the environment around me. That video was 16 minutes long though. What do you think of this palimpsest music? It may be more of a reality sometimes than the uplifting soundtrack! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Bpw4k05Tj8

      Reply
      1. leapingtracks

        I have played the clip a couple of times. I quite like the idea of different parts of the orchestra ‘being aggressive’ towards each other – this is not a new technique of course. But I do also like there to be some links also – it was difficult to find those from this – it left me with a feeling of disturbance, rather than resolution. Perhaps that was Benjamin’s intention. And is that how you are feeling about the city at the moment? Perhaps ideas about a living space can never be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction because each person will have a different perspective?

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Yes, sometimes that disturbance, and impossibility of resolution, is overwhelming which is why it is so helpful to find oneself, by chance, at a calm spot by the river reflecting on the dissonance and struggles my ancestors may have felt. And to know time does resolve many issues.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am delighted to know that. My great aunts and my grandmother lived nearby for a while but the area is unfamiliar to me. Driving through the neighbourhood these days, I see lots of lovely walkways and parks.

      Reply

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