So I’m originally from Christchurch – it’s a beautiful city in the South Island of New Zealand.
Three years ago today, I was attending a management conference along with a number of other people from around Australia and New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. As our morning break came to a close, someone mentioned briefly that there had been a strong earthquake in Christchurch. I didn’t think it was anything to worry about until I saw a photo of the famous Christchurch Cathedral spire lying on the ground, at which stage I also hurriedly left to try and call my family, who were all living in Christchurch at the time.
I can recall getting a call through to my brother as he walked down the street looking to help people, reaching my dad as he cried whilst telling me about a huge crack in the floor at his work, and finally getting a text from my mum saying she was ok. It’s hard to describe how powerless you feel at a moment like that, so far away from a major tragedy unfolding. I remember sitting at home with my wife that night watching the news coverage and recognising so many places. It was surreal.
We traveled to Christchurch eight weeks later and saw the effects of the powerful quake on the place we’d known so well. It’s strange seeing places that you’ve known so well suddenly missing or collapsed. As I walked past many places both familiar and unfamiliar I thought of how much everything had changed.
Three years on from the events of 2011, it’s inspiring to see people in Christchurch working hard to build a new future that’s bold, bright and forward thinking. There are many challenges but each one is met with a brightness of spirit and a willingness to give it a go.
So here’s to you, Christchurch. to a city that’s done what we should all do when we fall: pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get on with it.