I find it strange here in Christchurch as a newcomer, at this point in time. Everywhere I look, I can’t help but have the effects of the earthquake in my face. Four years on.
Looking around me I want to understand, but hesitate to bring my observations into conversation with people; “don’t mention the war”. They must be so sick of that, it’s been talked, and lived, to death, I’m sure. Even so, it does. Almost every time. I wonder if there are two levels of conversation here – that exists with the newcomers, tourists, and the parallel universe that occupies normality for those that have tried to continue through. In conversation I notice what locals see is underwritten by what was, and their own experiences over time. Each view is rich with history and their own narrative.
I don’t have that. I’ve started to try and look past the earthquake and find the Christchurch that is. That is, to me. A newcomer, with no prior knowledge or experience to flesh out the story. A new narrative.
The playground. City space. “Good healthy fun” they said. “Let’s get them outdoors” they said.