I have to say I was shocked.
The city centre doesn't exist. So many empty lots. Lots of buildings still boarded up and waiting to come down. And lots of shipping containers everywhere - holding up the facades of buildings where the rest of it has come down, protecting sites in case buildings collapse, and of course the amazing container mall - fitted out for the shops.
A wall of containers holding up the facade of the theatre as the rest of it is rebuilt after it collapsed in the February 22nd 2011 earthquake
Some poor shop owner trying to keep his business alive without a building...
The "container mall" - very colourful and fun with lots of energy
Container cafes and bars for people to hang out
The old, destroyed, cathedral in the centre of the city
The new "cardboard" cathedral a few blocks away
Inside the "cardboard" cathedral - held up by cardboard cylinders (just like the inside of your toilet roll)
While they are waiting for the re-build there are some fun projects that have been developed to "Fill the Gap", including a urban mini gold course around the city, a sound garden where you can pretent you are part of "Stomp", and an open air cinema where you have to power it by pedalling bikes, and lots of art work has popped up to fill the spaces.
The urban mini golf
Sam Johnson pretending he is part of the cast of "Stomp" and sounding pretty tuneful
There is definitely a positive vibe in the city as it starts to rebuild. I'm sure that Christchurch will once again be a great, modern, city - it just might take a decade or so to get there.
It certainly shows how a large earthquake can destroy a city. I just hope it doesn't happen to Wellington any time soon - I wouldn't want to live through what the Cantabrians have had to over the last few years and New Zealand just can't afford to rebuild 2 cities right now.