This week saw the 6th anniversary of the February earthquake in which 185 people died. It also saw Bruce Springsteen come and play to 30,000 fans fulfilling a promise he made to the city after the earthquakes. He played on the eve of the anniversary. The New Zealand cricket team played a one day game against Sth Africa on the anniversary, and the opening of the wall was held during a memorial ceremony the same day.
So it was a couple of days of contrasts. The city is slowly moving on, more for some than others. Many described the Boss dedicating City of Ruins as healing. Some felt the cricket was insensitive (they had a minute’s silence before the game, rather than at 12.51pm, the time the earthquake struck).
However the memorial wall however seems to have universal agreement. Although the choice of trees was controversially changed to something more suitable to the climate and location, in the end, everyone seems to feel that this is a beautiful area of peace, memory and honour.
I went in today to have a look at the wall properly. The wreaths and flowers from Wednesday still lying there, and despite the drizzle a constant stream of people paying a visit.
My life has moved on from 2011. We still have aftershocks from time to time, but that’s part of living in the pacific rim. I have often stated I was one of the lucky ones, lucky to escape city mall without injury despite the chaos around me, and to be spared major damage at home. I live in a city that is rebuilding, slowly taking shape. For some however, their lives lost, their loved ones lost, Christchurch will never be the same. For those that came to our aid in our time of need, they won’t forget what they saw or dealt with. I think we got this memorial right. It’s a place to grieve, to remember, to honour, to thank and to hope.