Christchurch has always been an inspired city.
A vibrant arts scene, beautiful garden surroundings, creative hospitality joints and a relaxed, easy-going way of life have long been mainstays of mainland New Zealand’s largest centre.
In 2011, the city was shaken in more ways than one by a devastating earthquake, which destroyed much of the CBD and left the entire region in limbo – a shock which the city will take many years to fully recover from.
The two years since have been dominated amongst other things by demolitions, political & administrative disputes, lost heritage buildings and a population on the whole confused, frustrated and exhausted.
This is a city that has been through real chaos.
This summer however, something feels different. The iconic city trams have returned, shoppers and tourists have flocked in droves to the container-mall in the CBD and the city has come alive with vibrant art installations, including a city-wide street art exhibition.
Throughout the city centre and across the suburbs, creativity, bravery and initiative have brought the city back to life.
There are still acres of empty, gravel-filled sections, a disjointed skyline and battered roads.
But two key things have returned – people, and art.
And that’s what matters most.