As a frequent visitor to Christchurch, New Zealand, (last time only days ago) it’s good to see Lonely Planet’s new edition New Zealand Travel Guide, released today, pays tribute to the strength of New Zealand’s people in the wake of a series of challenges. It particularly gives a thumbs up to the city and its people.
“There’s no denying it,” the guidebook says, “New Zealand has had it tough over the last few years.” (p.638)
Reflecting on the past two years in which the country has endured the vagaries of the global economy, the Pike River coalmine explosion, the Rena oil spill, and two Christchurch earthquakes, the guide says “in the midst of all this … New Zealanders have soldiered on stoically, with the people of Christchurch proving remarkably resilient.” (p.639)
The new edition hails the energy and creativity on display in Christchurch, saying “nowhere in New Zealand is changing and developing as fast as post-earthquake Christchurch, and visiting the country’s second-largest city as it’s being rebuilt and reborn is both interesting and inspiring.” (p.480)
New Zealanders’ welcoming nature and eagerness for travellers to enjoy their visit is unchanged, and the guidebook says, “you might be surprised by the extent to which the average Kiwi will genuinely want you to have a really, really good time during your stay.” (p.639)
I note Lonely Planet also reports “that in December 2011, the influential United States magazine Foreign Policy nominated Christchurch one of the urban centres of the 21st century,opining that the ‘massive rebuilding effort is a unique opportunity to rethink urban form’. Draft plans for the city’s rebuilding over 20 years include a compact, low-rise city centre, neighbourhood green spaces, and parks and cycleways along the Avon River. Coupled with the endurance and energy of the people of Christchurch, the city’s future promises to be both interesting and innovative”.
Christchurch-born and educated (& now living in NZ’s capital) each time I return I’m both saddened and encouraged and I know visitors will be amazed at the regrowth already. I saw in the paper last week that the City Council has granted about 80 permits for new buildings, 17 within the “four Avenues’ which mark the centre of the city and where lived at the time of the September 2010 quake – see this blog for photos I took within hours of it, and many blogs written since.
If you are coming to NZ, make sure Christchurch is on your list, do a quake tour, tuck this latest guide-book under your arm, and note all the new things that will have popped up since the book was published (things are happening fast here) and, make sure you let LP know too for their next edition!
NOTE: New Zealand (16th edition) is the first of four new guidebooks to NZ that Lonely Planet is publishing in 2012. New Zealand’s North Island (2nd edition) and New Zealand’s South Island (3rd edition) will be available in October, with Discover New Zealand (2nd edition) following in November.