The Christchurch earthquake – A great opportunity

8 Mar

The Christchurch earthquake has been dubbed New Zealand’s darkest day, but could this be the birth of a bright future?

I find all it all surreal. Christchurch is my birthplace, a city I spent my school holidays with Grandparents, going to Orana park zoo, watching magicians at the mall, visiting the Cathedral, going to QE2 pool, eating at Mcdonalds and watching TV3 (Nelson only had TV1 and TV2). Seeing the pictures on the web of all the rubble and bloodied, dusty people is still so surreal to me. I still haven’t got that connection, that realisation that it is Christchurch, I don’t know if fellow Kiwis feel the same way or if it is just me. But I can’t help but feel detached from the images I see on the web.

The reason I feel detached from it all is probably because I am detached from it all. I’m in Melbourne, I’ve just had a nice meal of sausages and took a crap in a toilet that flushed and I’m sitting in a lounge with a light that works. I haven’t lost family or friends, I haven’t lost my house, I haven’t lost any belongings.

Maybe it is because of my disconnectedness that I am able to see a lot of positives that have come from the earthquake. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can’t even imagine the death and destruction that has shaken the Garden city and the devastating impact that has had on peoples’ lives. In saying that, I want to share a quote by some person who probably did some amazing feat in the face of grave circumstances:

The pessimist looks at opportunities and sees difficulties; the optimist looks at difficulties and sees opportunities.

With the earthquake, some remarkable stories have come out and some incredible things have happened. Although it is a shaky foundation from which to start, something amazing can be built from it.

Camaraderie, everyday heroes and neighbours

Without this earthquake happening, I would say a lot of people would still not know their neighbours. I’m sure everybody waves to their neighbour down the road, but did they ever go and knock on their door and ask them to borrow something? Did they ever hug and cry together?

From friends that were there, I hear the most amazing stories of people going down the road with a shovel asking who needs a hand to dig away the mud, armies of volunteers up for lending a hand.

Imagine going and checking on the elderly man who lives by himself down the road who you never knew. Not only do you meet him, but you realise that the man living behind the conservative brick walled house with drab curtains fought for New Zealand’s freedom in World War II and lost his long loving wife to breast cancer only two years ago. He cries and hugs you when you knock on his door to see if he is OK, as you are the first person he has been in contact with since his quiet tranquil read the morning paper reality was shaken.

Putting life in perspective

I’m sure there are hundreds of thousands of people that have been devastated by the destruction of their family homes and businesses, but I’m also sure that there are hundreds of thousands of people that are even happier their loved ones are safe and healthy.

Putting the earthquake in perspective

Christchurch is lucky

Now, death and destruction of any magnitude is terrible, but when considering some of Mother Nature’s tantrums of late, I can only think that Christchurch is lucky. The last proposed death toll I heard of for Christchurch was roughly 240. Now let’s put that in perspective, the Haiti earthquake, 230,000 lives were taken –that’s over half the Christchurch population-, and the Pakistan floods over 6 million people were left homeless and 17 million affected in someway.

Could this be what dreams are made of?

People that have been a slave to society’s dreams, the whole 9-5, have a great career, get a pretty house in a nice suburb and a fancy car. Now that everything is in rubble, they are free to sail around the world like they have always wanted? Maybe this earthquake was the shake they needed? Maybe they realise what is more important in life: a healthy family and not all the material things that clutter our lives.

The BEST city in the world!

Could this not be a great OPPORTUNITY, an opportunity to build the world’s GREATEST CITY. The first eco-friendly city, have the CBD run on solar power, integrate cycle paths into the new city plan, a new user friendly public transport infrastructure, earthquake proof buildings, funky architecture. Build a dream city. A great chance to right all the wrongs.

Yes the cathedral is buggered, but what an OPPORTUNITY it is to produce a Guggenheim. Shit, every building that is built could make the Guggenheim look ordinary.

Christchurch, this is your time to shine!

OK, just a thought.


2 Responses to “The Christchurch earthquake – A great opportunity”

  1. sis at 6:52 pm #

    hey bro,

    interesting thoughts…I like you watch the news and although I see the devestation that has hit chch I struggle to connect with it (even though we spent a lot of time there…I can’t remember not having TV3…but anyway..)
    The more personal accounts I hear from chch the more the reality sets in. Yes, I know that in comparison the lost of lives in chch is less that india, but it is all relative we are a small country and those that lost thier lives are someones friends and family…most people in NZ will have a story of someone they know effected by the earthquake.
    You make a good point – as we are detatched from the situation we have the space to see the potential positives….someone that is still living in a make shift welfare centre and not able to reutrn to what was their home will be less likely to see the glass half full and will not be as likley to agree with you that ‘chch is lucky’, at least in the forseeable future…

  2. Tom Allen at 1:08 pm #

    What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger:

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