Tag: post-quake

Riding the rails . . . Christchurch tram tracks

Trams supporting our local rugby team ...The Crusaders
Trams support our rugby team – The Crusaders

 

I used to think my mother was so brave when, holding my hand, she stepped out into the middle of Colombo street to board the tram. I was excited and scared at the same time. A few years ago I took my mother on a tram trip – in the restaurant car: she was delighted with the silver service and delicious meal.

Baby of the fleet - 411 came from a Sydney, Australia, Tram Museum
Baby of the fleet – 411 came from a Sydney, Australia, Tram Museum

Seems my family history with trams goes back even further as I have a tattered photo of my maternal grandfather laying, or repairing, tram tracks in the mid-1930s: a photo that had appeared in the Christchurch Press. It’s only a few years ago that I always had an annual pass for the tram as, living in the inner-city I rode the tracks frequently – especially if it was raining or I was carrying my groceries and vegetables.

The KiwiTravelWriter becomes world-famous in the Tram Clippings newsletter

Trams removed were  from Christchurch’s streets in the mid-1950s, but returned in the mid-90s, mostly as a tourist attraction – back then, and during  my travels on this trip, even as a local I enjoyed hearing the history of places we passed. Unlike many places around the world,  taped commentary are played: here the drivers, or motormen as they are correctly called, speak freely about the city’s history and add their own personal touches. I hope this never changes as it makes these tours unique and personal. A travel writing friend of mine, Roy Sinclair, has been a tram driver here and provided historical context for the other drivers – he also tells me that the training is comprehensive.

It appears trams are simple vehicles, with a control to go, and a brake to stop, however, learning to drive them smoothly is not always easy, nevertheless it seems there are bonuses with the job. I recall one who used to recount his 15 minutes of fame when he co-starred with Kate Winslet in the 1990’s film Heavenly Creatures. As he said, ‘three days of work and I made it onto the film for about three and four seconds!

During an All Blacks game the flags fly
During an All Blacks game the flags fly

These motormen come from a range of backgrounds including; an economics professor, musicians, school principals, bank managers, and of course Roy Sinclair, an author.

On my most recent trip back to Christchurch (February 2016) I was a guest of Welcome Aboard with a combo ticket to travel on the tram, gondola, punting and the delightful, and informative Caterpillar Tour in the Botanic Gardens – all of which will appear in another blog. Now, let these photos tell the story of our trams.

For some history about Christchurch trams see this library website

NOTE: This is one of a series of posts about Christchurch. See this recent post about the 2010/11 quakes – an elephant in the room and one about Christchurch as it is.

 

Thank-you to Breakfree On Cashel for hosting me during part of my stay in the city – I will be writing a small blog about that soon

 

Christchurch as it is … not what’s missing.

My family emigrated to Christchurch between 1853 and 1872: thats all my family – both my maternal and paternal sides. That’s some pretty deep roots in the land, undiluted by any later migrants.

That being so; you could think I would be upset at the changes caused by the 2010/11 quakes and of course I was and am. But I’m more upset at the articles and blogs written by people who insist on writing about what the quakes destroyed and not about what the city has gained or what is still there.

So, tomorrow I’m off down to Christchurch to write about the city and have ten days exploring – blogs will follow but in the meantime follow me on Instagram and Facebook and see what I’m doing!

Here’s one of the great Christchurch sculptures – Kate Sheppard one of our local hero’s who helped all New Zealand women gain the vote in 1893.

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Annual celebrations in Christchurch 19th Sept

Eliza’s is one of Christchurch’s grand ladies

Apparently named ‘Eliza’s’ after Eliza Doolittle, played by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, this boutique B&B Hotel is a very grand lady – and like Audrey – elegant

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Like many buildings in the new settlement of 1800s Christchurch, it just grew.  The land was bought in 1856 and the building started in 1861, predating the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral by some twenty years. This ‘growing’ means it can’t be easily classified as Victorian or any other architectural style: Eliza’s personal style includes gables, bay windows, projecting dormers and door and window hoods.

On the morning of the September (2010) quake, while photographically documenting the quake damage, I had walked past this beautiful building, just a couple of streets away from my apartment. I was relieved to see it too had apparently survived the 7.1 shake. Of course inside it was a different story.

Pleased they had no guests to evacuate at 4:30am, they quickly got to work demolishing the damaged chimneys and multiple fireplaces – involving some 60 tonnes of bricks – then repairing the destruction they had produced.  On the day of the quake they had Russian guests arrive and a week later they were hosting a wedding. Just like the movie, the show must go on!

Nearly six months later it was a different story and during the February 6.3 quake, with all the rooms occupied, nature ripped walls apart, cracked skirting boards, buckled window frames and toppled wardrobes. Luckily the chimneys had gone; there were no injuries to staff or guests; and the foundations and structure were sound. Add another eight months, 1.5 million dollars, heaps of hard work and Eliza’s doors were open once again.

Making jewellery for Christmas
Making jewellery for Christmas

When I arrived Harold and Ann were hosting their staff Christmas party and everyone was busy making jewellery under the guidance of Beadz Unlimited. (Christchurch’s first bead shop and now in historic New Regent Street after being quake-shaken out of the wonderful Gothic Art’s Centre)

When the front door opens, I’m immediately impressed with the ornate staircase that’s in front of me –it was built in Scotland with New Zealand’s native kauri. Over the years many distinct groups of people have climbed these stairs.  As well as guests from around the world Eliza’s previous inhabitants have included mothers and nurses during its maternity home persona; it’s also been a private home, accommodation for ‘genteel ladies’ and a boarding house for St. Margaret’s Girls High.

Ann and Harold bought the building in 2004, and all the rooms have local heritage names – I’m in The Masters which has wonderful leadlight and stained glass windows. (With a hotel of this standing of course the bed, bathroom, fittings, and linen, were all wonderful and spotless – so take that as read!)

Along with the history of the building in each room, they also have a guest-book: I like this as it gives us guests’ time to write a considered response to our stay. From Spain to Switzerland, UK to the USA, France to Australia (and of course us Kiwi), it seems the world has not only stayed here but loved to too! I read many comments on the great hospitality, the friendly hosts, the homemade ANZAC biscuits, and the fabulous breakfasts. Seems Ann is a great believer in the old adage of eating breakfast like a king: it certainly provides enough tasty fuel for the day.

I notice, alongside other framed accolades, a certificate showing they won a 2013 community garden award; the garden is very colourful with wisteria and white daphne providing fragrance alongside the 130 plus roses.

The World Travel Guide says this of Eliza’s – ‘With beautiful period features, Eliza’s history spans three centuries. This grade II historic, wooden house was built during 1861 by one of the city’s founding fathers, was restored in 1981 and has been turned into wonderful accommodation ever since. It’s within easy walking distance of the gardens, museum, and New Regent Street while just around the corner is Victoria Street which has many tasty restaurants and bars. The hotel’s delicious cooked breakfast sets you up for your day of exploring the city.’

I have a vehicle from my favourite rental car company to explore the region, and my first task when I arrived was to feed the lions at Orana Wildlife Park – and, with all the walking I did there I should have had an Eliza’s breakfast first!

I can well recommend Eliza’s Boutique Hotel for a wonderful few nights in Christchurch; New Zealand’s 2nd largest city. With so few buildings of this age, Eliza’s is a real asset in the city – tell them I sent you 🙂

 

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Christchurch Heritage: in both name & history!

Heritage reopens!

A pre-quake photo I took on a day I was having a day spa here!

 

Passing this info on: wonderful news as yet more of Christchurch resumes!

 

"Heritage Christchurch opened its Old Government Building (OGB) doors on 1 August with a ‘soft opening,’ as the century old iconic building sparked to life again.

Heading the  opening team is Vicki Bretherton:

"I am absolutely delighted to be back in Christchurch in Cathedral Square, the heart of Canterbury. Like many of the team here, I feel very privileged to welcome guests to such an elegant building of great historic significance and be part of the rebuild and future of this great city,” says Vicki Bretherton.

Almost all the hotel staff are Cantabrians, including Sarah McIvor, front office duty manager who having left for Australia after the February 2011 earthquake, returned when she heard the Christchurch CBD was reopening.

“The reason I returned to Christchurch was to be part of the rebuild. When I heard the CBD was opening I dropped everything and got on the first plane back from Australia. Becoming part of the team reopening this amazing hotel is magic,” says Sarah McIvor.

Gary Jarvis the general manager of Heritage Christchurch for the past six years, which included two years of overseeing the extensive refurbishment of the grand Old Government Building, has been promoted to group operations manager for Heritage Hotel Management.

“Heritage Christchurch’s restoration has been a labour of love and I am personally delighted it has worn the test of time and seismic events to remain a vital part of Christchurch’s priceless heritage,” says Gary Jarvis.

The 100 year old OGB building, designed by Joseph Clarkson Maddison, is registered as a category one building on the Historic Places Trust register and has been described as of ‘monumental significance’ by architectural heritage experts.

The building was awarded the Christchurch Heritage Trust Built Heritage Award in 2010 and the New Zealand Seismic Award 2012 in the Canterbury Heritage awards.

The Heritage Christchurch, first opened in 1996 as a luxury hotel, was relatively unscathed in the 22 February 2011 earthquake, but remained inside the imposed red zone cordon for over two years whilst renovation plans were finalised.

The Heritage Christchurch’s Old Government Building will be formally reopened on Friday 20 September by His Excellency, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand.

Good to see Christchurch reviving .. more and more open

Pre quake New regent Street
Pre quake New Regent Street

It’s great to see Christchurch, New Zealand,  reviving with more and more of the post-quake city open.

1932 was a big year in Christchurch – Captain Cook’s statue was unveiled; there was a bitter train strike; the McDougal Art Gallery was opened; and New Regent Street opened – a double row of Spanish Mission style shops that were a huge change from the usual Gothic Revival and Queen Anne styles that most of the earlier inner city buildings had been built in.

Now, post quakes,(2010/11) Captain Cook’s statue is still standing in Victoria Square, the McDougal is still open in the Botanic Gardens, there are no strikes , and fabulously, New Regent Street has re-opened.

As New Zealand’s only street built at one time, in one style, it was considered a theatrical oddity among the staid buildings that surrounded it. Now, those buildings are mostly gone but this colourful street is once again open and although not all shops are open, yet, this is once again a tourist, and locals, destination hotspot.

One shop that opens this Saturday (27th April) is also a quake survivor – BEADZ UNLIMITED – formerly at the Arts Centre which is closed for quake strengthening and  repairs and, appropriately, one of their many products are the commemorative series which includes the original, the “broken cathedral,” and now also features the Basilica, the Arts Centre and other Christchurch favourites.

Rowena Watson started Beadz many years ago and it has grown from a market stall to being New Zealand’s first bead shop. A talented designer, she also designs many of her original beads and creates beautiful jewellery. So whether you want to make your own souvenir of Christchurch, New Zealand, or buy a gift, tourists and locals will always find something here.

BEADZ upstairs windows are original 1931
BEADZ upstairs windows are original 1931

See here for other shops open (or opening) in colourful New Regent Street and use this map to find out what’s open  in Christchurch.

Paver repairs nearly completed early April
Paver repairs nearly completed early April
Rendezvous Hotel at the md of New Regent Street open too.
Rendezvous Hotel at the end of New Regent Street opens too.
Captain Cook shares Victoria Square with Queen Vic ... of course:  2 min's walk from New Regent St
Captain Cook shares Victoria Square with Queen Vic … of course. Only  2 min’s walk from New Regent St
Site of Beadz in the Arts Centre
Site of the old Beadz in Christchurch’s  Arts Centre
Meet you for a coffee?
Meet you for a coffee?

Christchurch has lots to offer

On one of my regular trips to Christchurch last week – using my preferred rental car company New Zealand Rent a Car – it was good to see even more progress in the city.

Every time I’m there I’m happy to see the cordon has been reduced and the the city full of people.

One of the exciting new developments is to see New Regent Street is on the verge of re-opening. This pleases me as this historic will be the first shopping precinct to RE-OPEN in the city centre.

Existing Businesses Reopening ( So, welcome home to you all)

Moko Cafe

Young’s Jewellers

Cafe Stir

Coffee Lovers

Hot Damn! Lingerie

NEW Businesses to the Street ( Welcome to the city centre)

Beadz Unlimited (relocating from the quake damaged Arts Centre)

The Last Word

Prestige Fudge

MC for Nails

Polished Diamonds

Mrs Higgins Cookies

Caffeine Laboratory

Hairdresser (not yet named)  

My next blog will be about New Regent Street in detail but wanted to give all locals and travellers a "heads up" about this exciting news. This is me checking out the progress!

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The owner of Beadz Unlimited discusses the signs for her double width shop

While  in Christchurch I recommend you use this online map  – What’s Open provides the most comprehensive guide to What’s Open in Christchurch, NZ. Very handy!

Has it reopened, relocated, been renovated, or reduced-to-rubble?

???????????????????????????????Returning to the city of my birth, Christchurch, New Zealand, is rather like returning to school as three R’s rule. Not the old reading, writing and ’rithmetic but a new set of R’s dominate my thoughts.

Searching for favourite places I have to ask if it has been reopened, renovated, relocated or reduced-torubble. Unfortunately, with something like 80% of the inner-city, my old stomping ground, demolished because of quake damage, most have been reduced to rubble or relocated.

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Punting beside the 1880s Queen Anne building, the city’s first council office.

Of course there are many of my favourites which have another R – remained-open over the past two years, or have reopened after minor damage was repaired.  Some places and activities had to close temporarily while neighbouring buildings were ‘deconstructed’ – for instance punting in the city centre and Victoria Square are now accessible.

A few of my special city-centre places in the ‘remained open’ (or closed briefly) category are, The Classic Villa; Canterbury Museum; Botanic Gardens; Coffee House; Tiffany’s;  The Antigua Boat Sheds. Check them out!

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Up to C1 cafe’s rooftop
360 degree views of the rubble and emerging new city from C1
360 degree views of the rubble and emerging new city from C1

Two places that have been reduced to rubble and relocated are Strawberry Fare, (Bealey Ave) and C1 Café. Interestingly, Sam has just moved his café right across from his original High Street spot – into what was my Post Office when I was a child and living in the Central Fire Station. On the corner of High and Tuam, as well as the cafe he now has a roof-top garden (complete with grapes and bees!) with the best views of the city and its rebuild. Get a coffee, go up in the ancient lift, climb the circular stairway then out through the little doorway then spend time up there checking out the changed, and changing, view.

This old Post Office, built in 1932 in the Classical style, had in recent years morphed into Alice in Videoland and which is now an art-house theatre too – a valuable asset to the inner city. The Christchurch Art Gallery also has a temporary Art Gallery there, and now The Physics Room (project art space & residency) has return to its home in this building!

One of my favourites that are relocated from the city centre is the Dux de Lux – it’s sort of split into two a live music venue in Addington (Dux Live) and a restaurant on Riccarton Road (Dux Dine). Loved by locals and visitors, ‘the dux’, on the Arts Centre block, was famous for its vegetarian and seafood meals, live music, boutique beers, and casual dining.

I ate at Dux Dine a few weeks ago and can assure all this ‘new’ dux, offers the same excellent food and service. Although out of my beloved city centre, I have history here too! It’s in the old Riccarton railway station masters house where I have partied many years ago – and where the Ratana  Apotoro Rehita (minister) who officiated at my wedding, lived! (Seems the world has 6 degrees of separation but in NZ it’s about 1½)

It was good to go punting through Victoria Square then through part of the ‘red zone’. Yet again it’s sad (Seeing history demolished) while encouraging. (Seeing history being created). Enjoy these glimpses of Christchurch and come back later to see more in the reopened, renovated, relocated or reduced-torubble story of this city.???????????????????????????????

Trinty Church ( now restaurant) is to be restored
Trinity Presbyterian Church, near square, (now a restaurant bar) is to be restored
Punt through Victoria Square (used to be Market Square)
Punt through Victoria Square (used to be Market Square)
Edmonds Rotunda has had the done taken off .. anyone know what's happening to it?
Edmonds Rotunda has had the done taken off .. anyone know what’s happening to it?
Strawberry Fare has produced great food for years!
Strawberry Fare has produced great food for years!

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Photographic trip around part of post-quake Christchurch

Here are some things that caught my eye as I travelled around Christchurch recently  – they are in order of being taken and even if you can’t see it they show Christchurch rising and are presented here with love to the city of my birth and where I lived for most of my life!

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Christchurch is buzzing again!

Christchurch is buzzing again!

Visited my old home town (Christchurch) a few days ago and it was buzzing! Cool the first day then 27c the next – fabulous  🙂

Here are  few photos for you – more to follow after I’ve had my road trip in Northland

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