Reflections from one year on
It’s now been over a year since that crazy day when people’s lives, and our city, got turned upside down. It was not an easy day, but one that was important to recognise, and it got me thinking.
As with most things in life, there is a flip side of the coin, and despite the tragedy, the disruption, and the continual shaking of our beloved city, out of all this madness, some good has also emerged, and it’s this good that I’d like to focus on today.
As I see it, the first real positive to come out of the earthquake was the way the people of Christchurch banded together. Community spirit came alive in a way it hasn’t been for years. Everyone did what they could – people volunteered with the Civil Defence, baked cakes and meals for those in need, and armies of students, farmers and anyone with a shovel cleaned up liquefaction. In today’s society, it’s the norm for people to no longer know their neighbours, and in the days following February 22, all the barriers we usually keep between ourselves and others simply disappeared, bringing us closer, and making us one.
The second thing to come about was a reevalution of what’s important to us. So many of us spend our lives focussing on moving up the career ladder, acquiring the latest gadget, and surrounding ourselves with nice things. An event like that of last year though, forces a reevaluation. Makes us look at what really matters – things like family, friends, laughter, conversations and fun.
The earthquake has also left us with an incredible resilience. We live in a time and place in history where life is relatively easy. Many people worry the current generations have it too easy, that they don’t know the value of hard work, and they fall down at any hurdle. The people of Christchurch though, are now far more equipped when it comes to looking after themselves, at overcoming hardship, and at taking a difficult situation, and making the best of it.
Lastly, the earthquake last year has presented Christchurch with the opportunity to completely reinvent itself, to extend our parklands, to redesign the way we live. Napier is always viewed as a really interesting place to go, unique in New Zealand, and that is a direct result of an earthquake there many decades ago. Christchurch now has that chance. And while I am sad to say goodbye to the Christchurch that was, I still love this city, love living here, and am excited about what is to come.