City’s rebuild attracts international visitors
THERE is no shortage of things to do in a city that was razed by an earthquake six years ago. As the Christchurch rebuild continues in earnest, the city has also started to attract visitors from across the world.
The Christchurch Airport will service close to 6.4 million passengers this year (up from 5.9 million last year). The Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism website stated that was the most passengers the airport had ever handled in a single year.
A constant thrum of building machinery, punctuated by high-pitched metal grinding, has replaced a more traditional shopping soundtrack at the city’s Re: Start Mall on Cashel St.
The mall is made of shipping containers that house retail outlets, cafes and bars, and mobile food vendors corral the mall’s visitors in an open-air food court. Whether shopping for souvenirs or seeking a cheap feed, the mall is a must-see during a visit to the central business district.
The Christchurch trams are also up and running, and the drivers and conductors give great insight into a city in transition. They are able to talk about what once existed on sites, and also the construction work.
Another important memorial is the temporary art installation of 185 Empty Chairs, opposite the CTV building site. The six-storey building on Madras St rapidly collapsed in the 2011 earthquake. Of the 185 people who died, 115 were in the CTV building.
The installation is 185 chairs, painted white, in tribute to the earthquake victims. Each chair is different to mark the uniqueness of all those who died.
The Christchurch Re:Start Mall, in the central business district.