In February 2011, Christchurch was rattled by a series of earthquakes that leveled over 60% of the entire city. Many people were displace or living without water or electricity for months. It was a dark and devastating time for the city and country. They have never really recovered since.
Over the 2015 Christmas holidays I made a last minute decision to travel with a friend to New Zealand without any real plan. The basis of our trip came from a cheap $5/day rental relocation we booked from Queenstown to Christchurch, along with cheap return flights out of Christchurch to Brisbane on New Years Eve. The majority of our trip was to be spent in Christchurch based on how the rental and flights panned out.
Since Christchurch is in the process of being rebuilt, there is a undertone felling of hope and opportunity for growth. But Christchurch is not the same and will never be the same place is used to be. You don't need to know what it looked like to get that vibe. Even with new artistic appeal and re-development of the city, the old abandoned building remains still stand as a constant reminder of what happened in 2011.
I took the extra days in Christchurch to explore the old city remains - abandoned houses, art galleries, restaurants, and office buildings. Some places were a haven for graffiti artists, vandals, and expressionists to let go and other places were left abandoned from the day it all started. The inside of one building was as if I'd stumbled into the human psyche, a novel of thoughts and conversations pertaining to love, pain, happiness, suffering, and emotion - scattered on the walls like a canvas subconscious thoughts.
The whole experience was eye opening. The state of some of the places I saw were left exactly as they were from the moment it all happened. It only takes a second to change everything because there's nothing more powerful than mother nature. 4 years after the massive natural disaster and the city is still struggling to recover, yet the thing most prevalent is art - the most human expression.