Good day, good morn or good night to you, depending on which timezone you are in the world! I’m fortunate to have people in every continent following my project :o)
I haven’t blogged in quite a while. It’s been quite hectic in Sydney, Melbourne and Christchurch these past weeks but don’t worry I have lots of images to post, portraits of wonderful people I’ve met along the way, each with their own individual life story and a fair few posts from SE Asia that I will add in retrospect also. Today was another day full of wonder on my journey however, I vowed that I wouldn’t sleep until I had downloaded, selected, edited and blogged my documentary of 22.2 through my eyes and those of the people I met today in Christchurch.
I had originally intended to spend around four nights with my older brother Al and his wife Shelly on the dairy farm he manages and lives on out in the Canterbury Plains just north of Christchurch. Afterwards my intention was to travel north slowly with the destination of Auckland on the 1st of March when I fly back to Sydney to document the Mardi Gras..which I am told is one of the biggest parties in the whole world..and I do like to party!
Two things changed that plan. No.1 I decided to prioritise spending time with my brother and his wife and you will get to see the photo documentary I have made of their lives and the beautiful world they live. No.2 I became fascinated by the story of Christchurch…a city ripped apart by three major earthquakes in the last 18 months. I wanted to explore this city and the people within it’s boundaries to see how they have been affected and how they are coping with nature’s great force tearing their city and their communities apart.
I learned a lot in the two weeks I have been here, staying in the Canterbury Plains, the Banks Peninsula and Cashmere Hills. I will be posting more about the people I stayed but for now I’m going to concentrate on today’s events and the people I met. I wasn’t sure whether or not to go to the Christchurch Earthquake Civic Memorial service in Hagley Park today. I wanted to pay my respects, document it and share it with those around the world reading my blog. And yet, I was apprehensive.
My day started outside Coffee Worx in Northlands Shopping Centre where I was taking advantage of the free wi fi and happened to sit beside the two gentlemen in the portrait above. Lindsay and Clayton had been working since 6.30am cleaning windows in the shopping centre for Window Cleaning Services Christchurch Ltd. I was intrigued to chat to them about the economy here and how things are so much brighter financially in Australia. High living costs and low salaries have become a theme in a lot of conversations I’ve had in NZ. That said, they went about their daily work with a grace and fervent nature that has to be admired. Lindsay and Clayton, if you read this..it was great to meet you and share perspectives on life, the universe and everything. It’s hard working folk like yourselves that keep an economy going…respect!
The following is a collection of images from my day in Christchurch a year on from 22.2. I decided to go to the memorial service and I was deeply moved and got to meet some of the inspirational people who are re-building this city step by step. Tens of thousands attended to mark the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake which struck Christchurch at 12.51pm on 22 February, 2011.
185 people lost their lives.
For more comprehensive information see file.stuff.co.nz/stuff/12-51/