So hard to take in what has happened over there. My heart goes out to all concerned. It was difficult at first to comprehend the devestation and magnitude of the event.
New Zealand has long held a special place in my heart. The South Island in particular. Back in the day (a long time ago, actually the early '80s) I spent twelve months on a working holiday there. Travelled around a little, but the two places I worked were Mt. Cook region and Bay of Islands. In that time frame I spent quite a bit of time in Christchurch city and will always remember how different it was from any other city I had been to at the time.
I loved the uniqueness of it - so quaint... so cold! I loved the Cathedral Square (with The Wizard preaching) the cute little coffee shops, the River Avon with the beautiful parks, the High Street with great shops, the closeness to the water at New Brighton, the closeness to the ski fields. The beautiful heritage buildings.
Christchurch just had a different feel to it - a bit boho, a bit old world. Coming from Brisbane it just seemed to have an fantastic sort of avant garde feel to it. I loved it. Still do.
Since that first trip to NZ, I have been back to the place (I think) six or seven times. I lived there about another 18mths and had several briefer visits there. ski-ing and holidaying. The last time was in 2009 when my little family spent 3 weeks travelling the South Island and visiting some of my old haunts.
So of course, we stayed in Christchurch. Flew in and out from there and spent an extra 2 nights. The memories of the place are still vivid. I loved it just as much that time, as I had all those years ago. When my husband and I are more grown up, we plan to spend an extended length of time there, maybe after our son has flown the coop.
It will be a long time in recovering, but it is such a major hub of the Canterbury region, it will surely bounce back. The people are resilient and strong. ... but oh it is just so sad to see what they are going through. Thinking of you Christchurch city (and surrounds) and its people.